Solihull Young Dancers

Ballet and Tap taught to a high standard to students across the borough of Solihull for over 35 years

Ballet

This is the core of what Solihull Young Dancers do.

Ballet is a fun, yet challenging activity that has endless benefits for children. Being one of the most physically demanding of all dance styles, it is a wonderful way for children to gain strength, improve flexibility and stay fit. It teaches them how to stand correctly and walk with grace and poise - qualities that will be of benefit to them for years to come, even if they choose to explore other activities.

At Solihull Young Dancers (SYD) we follow the International Dance Teachers Association Syllabus IDTA. They are one of the world’s largest examination boards, covering the full spectrum of dance styles on a global scale, with over 7,000 members in 55 countries. The IDTA is keen to promote a high teaching standard and the technique of Ballet alongside capturing the dance quality and musicality of the Art.

The age ranges are a guide line which we are given and are based around the maturity a child needs to undertake the demands of the Grade.

Alongside the technique of the Ballet Grades we also undertake the Ballet Medals to ensure that dance and performance is developed and enjoyed – details below.

Ballet Classes

Lower School

Nursery Class (Ages 2 ½ to 4)

Nursery class aims to capture and nurture a child’s inherent joy of movement and expression. It is designed to enable children to have fun whilst learning the basics of ballet.

Pre-Preparatory Class (Ages 4-5)

This class offers those who are keen to learn the next steps of ballet in a relaxed and fun teaching environment and gives them the opportunity, if they wish, to take their first Rosette examination.

Preparatory Grade (Ages 5-6)

Preparatory class introduces the children to the more structured ballet class, whilst letting them use their imagination and have fun. This is where they can take their first formal exam.

Primary Grade (Age 6-7), Grade 1 ( Age 7-8) and Grade 2 ( Age 8-9)

Pupils will progressively develop their technique through each of these grades by learning and repeating a series of set exercises that increase in difficulty by grade. They learn short ballet variations/dances which enhance their performance skills as they are encouraged to engage with their audience. Free expressive movement is an important part of the syllabus that nurtures each child’s individual creativity and understanding of musicality. Students are also gently introduced the French vocabulary of ballet.

Middle School

Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5

These grades are more technical and full ballet terminology is used. Free expressive movement is still undertaken at this level to continue to develop creativity, musicality and self-expression. On completion of these grades, pupils will have achieved a high standard of ballet.

Senior School

Intermediate & Advanced

These professional grades will demonstrate the high technical and performance ability of the candidates, and include an introduction to pointe work.

Rosettes, Ballet Medals and Team Awards

Slightly less technical than the grade work, these exams focus more on performance and presentation, giving all students a chance to shine.

Rosettes

These are for the under 8's and we start these as soon as they are in the Pre- Preparatory group. They go into the exam in groups of 8 and they also have the reassurance of having their teacher in front of them, demonstrating. It is an informal exam and therefore an ideal way to introduce young children to exam settings.

Ballet Medals

A more formal assessment that captures Classical Ballet, Character and Mime. The younger pupils enjoy performing dances based on nursery rhymes. For the older students we have a repertoire of national dances (including Irish Jig, Highland Fling, Russian Dance, Bretton Dance) to broaden their knowledge of traditional dances from around the world. The mime develops their acting skills – an integral part of a ballet performance.

Team Awards

When the students reach the senior school they will be involved in Team Award exams. Up to 16 pupils perform a choreographed group dance where they are assessed on their team performance. The effort and attention to detail that goes into rehearsing for these awards results in all members supporting and encouraging each other to reach their full potential as a group rather than individuals. By the end of it they have all learned the importance of being a team player.