Classes are held in Classical Ballet, based on the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus and in Modern/Jazz dance, based on the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) syllabus. Full examination training is given in both subjects. Children are accepted into the school from the age of three upwards. If starting at three years old, they commence in a Nursery Class which is a general movement and music class especially geared to the needs of pre-school children. On reaching full-time school age, pupils usually move to a Pre-Primary Ballet Class. This class is designed to help children begin more structured dance movements. Although under the auspices of the RAD Ballet syllabus, this class provides a good foundation for Classical Ballet or Modern/Jazz dance and is suitable for all young beginners. The first exam experience is offered on completion of this course with the option of participating in the RAD Pre-Primary Award. Following consultation between the teacher and parents, the pupils then have the opportunity to study Classical Ballet, Modern/Jazz dance or both. Pupils wishing to enter for Ballet or Modern exams are required to attend exam coaching, in addition to their regular weekly class, in the period leading up to the exam.
The ballet work taught is based on the Graded Examination Syllabi of the RAD (an international teacher education and awarding body for classical ballet). For further information about the RAD click on the RAD logo on the welcome page for a direct link to the website. Correctly taught, the work provides a safe but fun and challenging dance education for boys and girls, with some separate exercises geared to their different physiques. The Graded Examination Syllabus is aimed at children dancing once or twice a week. As well as the traditional study of Classical Ballet, the syllabus contains elements of Free Movement (an opportunity to develop a natural sense of movement outside the confines of Classical Ballet technique) and Character Dance (the theatrical presentation of national dance in the Hungarian, Polish and Russian styles – selected because of their importance in many traditional full-length Classical Ballets). There are nine grades of classes with the options of examinations, numbered progressively in order of complexity, from Pre-Primary to Grade 8. Candidates who have been successful in Grades 6, 7 & 8 are eligible to apply to become Affiliate Student Members of the RAD. The RAD is an awarding body approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (OfQual). This provides a framework to place achievement in dance examinations within the context of other qualifications such as NVQs GCSEs and GCE A/AS levels. See the OfQual website www.ofqual.gov.uk
The Modern/Jazz work taught is based on the Graded Examination syllabus of the ISTD, an international organisation which has been responsible for the development of Modern Dance worldwide. As with the Ballet syllabus, the Modern work is suitable for girls and boys, each having exercises geared to their different physiques. The ISTD is also an awarding body approved by the QCA with similar examination syllabus structures offered to the RAD ballet students see www.ofqual.gov.uk Modern work is very lively with a strong emphasis on rhythm and dynamics. Taught correctly, it is good for developing both strength and suppleness with exercises and routines which use a variety of styles of music (pop, jazz, blues, disco, street, world music etc.). The Jazz Medal Syllabi, Bronze, Silver, and Gold (which are taught interspersed with the Graded Examination work), are aimed at developing a strong jazz technique, as seen in Musical Thetare productions.
Body Focus - Adult Fitness Class
This class takes place on Friday mornings at the Mount Pleasant Centre Bradford on Avon, 9.45-10.45am. It is a gentle fitness class based on dance, physiotherapy and pilates exercises. The class provides a fairly comprehensive workout of the normal range of movement for all the joints and muscle groups. The exercises should help maintain flexibility, co-odination and strength but are not aerobic and are taken at a fairly easy pace. Class members have a good sense of fun, many have been attending the class for 10-20 years and are generally in a good state of health and fitness (ages range from 50s-70s).