At Killester School of Ballet and Modern Dance, children usually begin ballet classes at 3.5 to 5 years ( although older children are welcome ). At the youngest stage, classes are designed to be imaginative and appropriate to the developmental stage of this age group. “Young children love to move. Through movement children develop their bodies, their minds, their confidence and their ability to communicate and express. During these early years children are involved in developing fundamental movement skills that are necessary for future skill learning. Early exposure to developmentally appropriate movement activities in an instructional environment can help children to acquire skills and attitudes that are necessary for future participation in physical activity. Active children can develop into active and healthy adults, enjoying the physical and social benefits that participation in dance and sport can bring” ( RAD Dance to Your Own Tune).
In the ballet class, movement is the medium through which creativity, expression and musicality develop. The technique of classical ballet can be very demanding and it would be inappropriate to impose it on a very young body, rather the children develop their core stability, balance, eye – hand co – ordination, cross lateral co – ordination and begin to refine their motor control. Gradually as the children progress through the levels, classical ballet technique is introduced and at Primary in Dance level, the first examinations are offered. These examinations are not compulsory but for children with a good technical ability they can represent an achievable and rewarding goal for their hard work. The emphasis in the classes however should be on enjoyment and no child should feel pressurised to take examinations. It is very acceptable to work through the grades purely for enjoyment.
Contemporary dance, as it suggests, can encompass many individual styles and interpretations but is rooted mainly in the techniques of certain famous choreographers, notably Rudolf Laban in the 1920s to Martha Graham in the 1950s and Merce Cunningham from the 1960's onwards. This genre of dance is very relevant to students who intend taking their dance studies to vocational level as it is offered in most dance courses in third level institutions, both in Ireland and abroad. Generally in Ireland, on entering these colleges, students have little or no prior training in contemporary dance.
Contemporary dance complements classical ballet training in contributing to the establishment of core stability as well as confidence with moving in and out of the floor, being off balance as well as on and an awareness and use of the space outside ones own kinesphere. While the study of contemporary dance is of great benefit to the serious student, it is also of great advantage to any student who enjoys exploring movement. Although the classes are based on certain techniques the main emphasis is on the dancers finding their own individual ways of moving and creativity.
While contemporary dance is suitable for all age groups, it is offered in the school to existing students from grade 4 upward. Non members of the school are welcome to Contemporary classes from fourteen years upwards and their suitability would be assessed over a trial period of two to three classes.
Contemporary Dance classes have been available in Killester School of Ballet and Modern Dance since September 2010.
Our school show which is held usually every two years, ensures that every child gets to participate and demonstrate their achievements . As the children work through the graded syllabi of the RAD, they gain ,not just a knowledge of Classical ballet technique, but an appreciation of classical music, a knowledge of the national dance (Character) of countries such as Hungary, Poland and Russia and thus an appreciation of the great Ballets ie Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker etc. If students show excellence in Classical Technique, Musicality and Performance, they may progress to the Vocational Graded examinations – so - named as these examinations prepare students who may be interested in pursuing a career in dance. For students who wish to continue to study dance as a hobby and for the obvious physical and emotional benefits, the Graded examinations continue to Grade 8 level. Students taking the vocational route, usually continue to take the Higher Grade examinations simultaneously.
At the highest level, Killester School of Ballet offers support to Advanced students who wish to undertake the CBTS – the teacher training course of the RAD.
In our Modern Theatre classes the students learn a range of modern dance varying from Lyrical to Contemporary to Jazz to Pop to Hip Hop!
The Modern Theatre style is, in fact, an umbrella style which draws on careful technique but places it firmly in the 21st century with use of up-to-date music from the charts, musicals, film & up-and-coming bands.
Sarah regularly takes suggestions of music from the students of all ages. She feels that this encourages them to take ownership of their performance and indeed increases enjoyment and standard.
The students are prepared for both ISTD examinations and theatre performances which offer a wonderful chance for enjoyment and success.
We wish Sarah and all our Modern Theatre students all the best.
Break a leg!