Welcome to the inauguration of an exciting new venture in dance training, education and performance! Ballet des Amériques – the Ballet of the Americas – is ballet for all of us. It draws on rich traditions, while opening our minds to the future. It combines the rigors of classical ballet training with a broad education in the various facets of the performing arts. It calls for hard work and self-discipline, while maintaining an emphasis on the enjoyment of dance and the development of the whole individual. Your commitment to join us in this journey will be rewarded by witnessing the growth in your children’s confidence, in the skills they develop and in the breadth of their cultural awareness.
Dance training naturally requires hard work and a singular focus, yet such must occur in an atmosphere - not of competition - but of mutual respect, kindness and support. For the training is geared toward the performance of dance as a work of art in a collaborative enterprise, a universal expression on stage that transcends the particular individual. As performing artists and pedagogical experts, our teachers know what it takes for your child to get to that stage. In a custom-tailored program - continuously refined and adjusted to your child’s evolving needs - our teachers use the wealth of their experience and resources to bring each student to his or her full potential.
It is natural to ask what method or system of ballet training is followed at a particular school. And we might take comfort in being given a seemingly clear and recognizable response: Royal Ballet, Balanchine, Vaganova, Cecchetti, Bournonville, etc. Yet, a healthy skepticism is appropriate vis-à-vis such labels. Many of the purported substantial differences between various methods in fact reduce to nothing more than variations in style or terminology, which have nothing to do with the basic fundamentals or techniques of learning to dance. Moreover, to the extent that certain training systems purport to require very specific physical attributes - such as a 180-degree turnout for example - such systems, blindly applied, are not helpful and may even be detrimental to the health of those students who do not naturally possess these physical attributes.
Our mission at Ballet des Amériques, by contrast, is to use a physiologically informed approach that respects natural anatomical variation and tailors the training that each student receives so that all students can maximize their individual strengths and overcome their particular weaknesses. If one had to attach a label to this approach, it would be best described as one based in the European tradition with a French emphasis on repetition: proper technique and alignment are mastered first, which mastery then allows for the adoption of various styles.
For our youngest students, the immediate aim is of course to develop the universal characteristics of all successful dancers: flexibility, strength, balance, placement, grace and musicality. Yet, the challenge in working with young children is how to develop and maintain their concentration. Two things are required: discipline and imagination. One achieves the first by communicating to the child that one believes her capable of achieving a certain goal, of living up to an expectation. The other is to spur creativity, to understand that dance is the expression of emotion sans le verbe, as we say in French.
Our students will also learn about the historical context of dance, the physiology of how to perform the intended movements, and the interplay of other art forms with dance. Once that foundation is solidified, and the student can physically demonstrate those attributes, then the more experienced student is ready to learn various styles of both classical ballet and modern dance.
Dance training, education and performance: the rigors of training, the rewards of educating the whole person in dance, music and related subjects, and the sheer joy and exhilaration of participating in performances that may open perspectives and avenues to professional careers - these are the defining elements of our new School and Company.