Ask the Experts: Do All Your Ballet Teachers Have a Set Syllabus?

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Q: Do you require all of your ballet teachers to have a set syllabus? Why or why not?

A: For many years we did not have a set syllabus in our ballet program, which meant dancers were advanced by teacher recommendation. It was very subjective and, in turn, there was often class-placement drama and disagreement. Since then, we have established two ballet-track options, one that is more recreational and based on age, and the other that is intensive and based on level. In our intensive track, a set syllabus is taught, and exams are given with assessment from an outside panel of teachers. We have found that our dancers are most successful with this approach, and it has established consistency in our ballet program, which positively affects all other genres at our studio.

There are various options for ballet syllabi out there that you might look into, including these respected programs: Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), ABT's National Training Curriculum, Cecchetti Council of America and Vaganova.

Teaching Tips
Courtesy Jill Randall

Fall may be fast-approaching, but it's never too late to slip in a little summer reading—especially if it'll make you all the more prepared for the perhaps crazier-than-usual season ahead.

Here are six new releases to enrich your coming school year:

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Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

Studio owners who've been in the recital game for a while have likely seen thousands of dance costumes pass through their hands.

But with the hustle and bustle of recital time, we don't always stop to think about where exactly those costumes are coming from, or how they are made.

If we want our costumes to be of the same high quality as our dancing—and for our costume-buying process to be as seamless as possible—it helps to take the time to learn a bit more about those costumes and the companies making them.

We talked to the team at A Wish Come True—who makes all their costumes at their factory in Bristol, Pennsylvania—to get an inside look at what really goes into making a costume, from conception to stage.

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Studio Owners

Jana Belot's 31-year-old New Jersey–based Gotta Dance has six studios, 1,720 students and, usually, 13 recitals. In a normal year, Belot rents a 1,000-seat venue for up to 20 consecutive days and is known for her epic productions, featuring her studio classes and Gotta Dance's pre-professional dance team, Showstoppers. Until March, she was planning this year's jungle-themed recital in this same way.

When the pandemic hit, Belot soon decided to do a virtual recital instead. Due to the scale of the production—300 to 500 dancers performing in each of the 13 shows—postponing or moving to an outdoor venue wasn't practical. (Canceling, for her, was out of the question.)

Unsurprisingly, Belot's virtual recital was just as epic as her in-person shows—with 10,000 submitted videos, animation, musicians and more. Here's how it all came together, and what it cost her.

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