Ballet Goals

All levels build from concepts learned in previous levels and work on the following:

  • The importance of proper ballet attire for each class
  • Correct ballet technique
  • Correct placement and alignment of spine and port de bra
  • Finding and maintaining center of balance
  • Musicality– listening and dancing to the music not through the music
  • Ballet terminology

The Cleveland City Dance children’s ballet program for ages 3-21 promotes discipline and creativity while encouraging each child to work toward their individual best. Classes focus on building a solid ballet foundation, emphasizing proper placement and safe progressions of movement, while remaining sensitive to the developmental needs of younger dancers.

All students interested in enrolling in Levels I-V (ages 9-21) with previous dance experience must participate in one of the Children’s Division open auditions. Students will be placed by the faculty into the appropriate level of the program upon acceptance to the program.

Students will be evaluated twice a school year, at which time they are evaluated for the next semester and school year. Typically many students need to stay at the same level for as many as two to three years in order to achieve the proficiency needed to thrive in the next level. Additionally, students may be moved to a higher or lower level at the discretion of the faculty at any point during the year.

Please keep in mind that the age range is given as a guideline. Students will be placed by the Cleveland City Dance artistic director and faculty in the appropriate level based on technique demonstrated at the open audition for all students ages 9 and up who have previous dance experience.

The next open auditions are as follows:
  • Saturday, June 11
    • 12:00 pm-1:00 pm for ages 9-11
    • 1:30 pm-3:00 pm for ages 12 and up
  • Saturday, August 13
    • 9:00 am-10:00 am for ages 9-11
    • 11:00 am-12:30 pm for ages 12 and up

For the auditions all students should arrive 30 minutes prior to the audition with a $20 audition fee. The $20 will be applied toward tuition for the upcoming school year. See Audition information and registration form.

  • All female dancers should wear a solid color leotard, pink tights and pink ballet shoes. Hair should be in a neat ballet bun. Dancers on pointe should wear pointe shoes for center.
  • All male dancers should wear a white solid color t-shirt, black tights or black leggings and black shoes.
  • (CCD does have a limited variety of leotards and ballet shoes on consignment.)

Children’s Lower Class Levels

Preschool Ballet (Ages 3-4½)

Children learn the structure and discipline of a ballet class setting while improving listening skills, coordination, balance, flexibility, strength and spatial awareness. Props are used as aids in learning classroom etiquette and respect for others, music awareness and expression, and spatial awareness along with basic ballet terminology.

Pre-Ballet (Ages 4½-6)

Children explore both the creative and physical dimensions of ballet while gaining greater awareness of music, rhythm, and movement. Activities are designed to develop strength, coordination, creative thinking, and expression. Children refine motor skills and listening skills through classroom activities. They further develop an understanding of the structure and discipline of a ballet class setting while building better focus and poise.

Beginning Ballet (Ages 6-8)

Young dancers are introduced to increased structure and discipline, music awareness, greater focus, more ballet terminology and steps, and stage direction. Students will begin to use the ballet barre. This is the first year the young dancers will be performing on a professional stage during the Spring Concert and possibly the Uniquely Cleveland Nutcracker. Audition is required for the City Ballet of Cleveland Uniquely Cleveland Nutcracker.

Children’s Upper Class Levels

Ballet I (Ages 8-12) & Boys’ Beginning Ballet

To instill knowledge and use of the basic ballet vocabulary while gaining awareness of correct posture and proper turn-out. Work on increased balance and weight transference. Build upper body strength for future partnering.

Ballet II (Ages 10-15) & Boys’ Ballet

To continue building knowledge and ballet vocabulary while gaining awareness of correct posture. As strength and body awareness increases, more complex application for technique and added coordination of port de bra and épaulement will be added along with striving to show more performance quality and artistry. Saturday conditioning class is added to build strength for a dancer’s core, turn-out, alignment, and feet to reduce chance of injuries as well as to prepare young ladies for pointe work. This is the level when dancers may audition to become apprentices with the City Ballet of Cleveland.

Ballet III (Ages 11-16)

Continuing to improve alignment and posture; increase range of turn out and more extensive use of port de bra and épaulement. Increase better application of known steps. Add more strenuous and longer combinations as well as working more with en avant and en arrière. This is also when female dancers are invited to pre-pointe leading to beginning pointe. Saturday conditioning class continues to build strength for a dancer’s core, turn-out, alignment, and feet to reduce chance of injuries as well as to prepare for what is necessary for pointe work. Saturday conditioning class is to build strength for a dancer’s core, turn-out, alignment, and feet to reduce chance of injuries as well as to prepare for what is necessary for pointe work. This is the level when dancers may audition to become junior company members with the City Ballet of Cleveland.

Ballet IV & V (Ages 12-21)

Add more strenuous and longer combinations, as well as more difficult steps in all their varieties. Ladies will often be taking technique class on pointe during the week. Saturday conditioning class is to build strength for a dancer’s core, turn-out, alignment, and feet to reduce chance of injuries as well as to prepare for what is necessary for pointe work. This is the level when dancers may audition to become senior company members with the City Ballet of Cleveland and for the E. John Busser Scholarship.

Q: How is the school year organized for Cleveland City Dance?

A: The school year has both a fall semester and a winter/spring semester. The fall semester begins in September the day after Labor Day and ends in December for winter recess. The winter/spring semester runs from January after New Years to the first week of June. Students must enroll for the entire year (September-June); students may not register for only one semester. Please note the summer semester camps begin in June and summer classes begin in July.

Q: Can students still register once the school year begins?

A: Yes, only through the first month of the semester if space is available. For students with previous experience they will be required to take a placement class. Registration fort the academic school year (September-June) for new students will begin in May based on a placement class evaluation. Given space availability in the program, parents are encouraged to enroll their dancer during the summer registration period.

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