Class Information and dancewear
Younger and older Nursery classes
Girls and boys are accepted from the age of 3 ½ and ideally will remain in the nursery classes for 2 years. Through imaginative themes and stories such as visiting a princess or flying to the moon, the children in the Younger class develop their movement skills through music, singing and miming to nursery rhymes and enjoying using props. They learn to dance in circles and small groups, in pairs and alone, encouraging expression, spatial awareness and self confidence.
In the Older Nursery Class, we develop these themes and introduce some basic ballet positions and steps, all in a fun context but children develop their motor skills and musicality, and an enjoyment of movement and dance.
Pre-Primary in Dance and Primary in Dance
Pupils from Pre-Primary upwards (approx. age 5) will follow the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus as well as enjoying free-style ballet work in their classes, which encourages coordination, musicality and confidence. Pupils will have the opportunity to be entered for the RAD Graded exams or Class Awards. More details on the About us page.
Grade 1 - Grade 5
More technical ballet training starts in Grade 1, but still encouraging an enjoyment of dance and sense of performance. The RAD Grade 1 to 3 Syllabus inspires the children to want to dance with it's wonderful orchestrated music. By encouraging the feeling of the steps before learning the classical technique, pupils gain strength and fitness. Character dancing is also taught from Grade 1. This is a theatrical version of national dancing from Hungary, Russia and Poland and a more advanced level of this work can be seen in the ballet classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia and Swan Lake. The Grade 4 and 5 syllabii continue to inspire and challenge our dancers with exciting music and more complex exercises and dances, encouraging a feeling of movement while dancing and a sense of performance.
Each grade builds on the achievements of the previous one and by Grade 5 pupils should be technically competent, increasingly self confident and enjoying the freedom that a love of dance can bring.
Grade 6, Grade 7 and Grade 8 Award
The Higher Grades are wonderful, challenging grades for teenagers who love the feeling of dance and enjoy performing, even in the ballet class. Grade 7 is based on the Romantic style of the ballet "La Sylphide" and the Grade 8 Award is the culmination of many years of training. Students in Grade 8 perform solo dances in different styles in their exam; classical ballet, Free movement and Character dancing.
The skills learned through ballet training provide vital training for life, on or off the stage, and instill a lifelong love of dance, whether taking part or in an audience. Many pupils, past and present, have started in the Nursery class and worked their way up to Grade 8 over 15 years or so, becoming confident young people going out into the world. We are very proud of them all.
Vocational classes are for more committed students and keen pupils from approximately Grade 4 are invited to attend. Each level requires 18 months to 2 years of study before being entered for exams. These exams are the stepping stones to a possible career in dance. We currently have vocational classes at Intermediate level.
All exam entries are at the discretion of the teacher.
Adult Ballet Classes and RAD Silver Swans Classes
The Monday and Wednesday classes are suitable for adults who have considerable experience of ballet training. Encouraging good posture, strength, fitness, coordination and quick thinking, these
classes are always popular. The sense of achievement and boost to self confidence that a class can bring is enhanced by the wonderful feeling of moving to the music and dancing. The classes are also
great fun and ladies in the class are very welcoming to new students. The social aspect of the classes is extremely beneficial to everyone's wellbeing.
Ladies in the Monday class took their Grade 6 and Grade 7 Presentation Class in 2016 and 2019, which is a great achievement and are now working on the RAD Discovering Repertoire Syllabus.
With new research, it is now recognised that regular dancing significantly resists the onset of dementia by encouraging the creation of new pathways in the brain, so keeping it active. Dancing always leaves you with a sense of wellbeing and enjoyment, as well as social and emotional benefits.
Silver Swans Ballet Class for Beginners and Older Learners
We now have an established Silver Swans class especially for Beginners and Older Learners taught by Mary Robson, a Silver Swans Licencee with many years experience of teaching adults. Silver Swans is an initiative developed by the Royal Academy of Dance to encourage adults of all ages and abilities to take part in ballet classes. The Beginners class is on Thursday at 1.30pm and for adults with ballet experience on Wednesday at 7.15pm. Classes in the East Hall, behind Wormit Church on Riverside Road, DD6 8LJ.
Please see our timetable page for the 2022-23 timetable
Mary Robson and Assistant Catriona Matthew are Registered Teachers of the Royal Academy of Dance. Catriona Matthew teaches most younger classes from Nursery to Grade 2 and Mary Robson older classes and adult ballet. Pupils can be entered for Graded exams when their teachers feel they are ready.
OFFICIAL RAD BALLET UNIFORM
All items are available through the Ballet School.
Nursery – Pink lycra leotard with attached skirt, pink ballet socks and shoes. Boys – t-shirt, shorts, white socks and black ballet shoes.
Pre-Primary & Primary in Dance – Pale pink cotton lycra leotard, pink voile x-over skirt, pink ballet socks and shoes. Boys – white leotard, black shorts, white socks and white ballet shoes.
Grades 1 and 2 – Lavender leotard and belt, pink ballet socks and shoes, circular black character skirt with toning trim (see below), and character shoes.
Boys – white leotard, black shorts, white socks and white ballet shoes. Lace up character shoes or jazz shoes.
Grades 3, 4 and 5 – navy cotton lycra leotard with ruched front, pink ballet tights, ballet shoes with elastics. Character skirt and shoes.
Boys – white leotard and navy tights (worn over leotard), white socks and ballet shoes. Character shoes or jazz shoes.
Grades 6, 7 and 8 – Burgundy leotard with toning georgette skirt. Ballet shoes with elastics, character shoes & skirt with toning ribbons.
Vocational students – Black camisole leotard, pink ballet tights, soft pointe shoes with ribbons and pointe shoes.
Adult students - There is no specific uniform for ladies. Most wear a top and leggings or a floaty skirt. Ladies are required to wear ballet shoes.
N.B. Girls must be correctly measured for their character skirts before ordering them. The trimming, in either ric-rac or ribbons, should tone with the colour of the leotard.
Pointe shoes are only suggested when teachers feel that pupils are physically and emotionally ready for pointe work. Shoes must be professionally fitted at The Dance Shop, 50-54 South Clerk Street in Edinburgh or at Arabesque in Perth.