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Class Descriptions

All classes are applicable for both Boys and Girls

Fairy Tale Ballet: Story Dance for Girls & Boys

Ages 3-4 (as of September 1)

Your child will dance their way through their favorite fairy tales and superhero stories. They will learn basic dance skills, short routines, and improve their gross motor skill development while dancing. Small props will be incorporated along with story telling to enhance this enchanting experience. 


Primary Ballet or Ballet/Tap

Ages 4-6 (as of September 1)

Ballet, Ballet/Tap, or Ballet/Jazz technique. There will be an emphasis on correct technique, grace, musicality, coordination and FUN!

Hippity Hop

Ages 4.5-6 (as of September 1)

Dancers will work on rhythm, musicality, and creative movement in this class incorporating the street styles of hip hop in active class environment.


Is one of the foundations of dance, having originated in the 1500's to entertain the Italian Renaissance court! It is based on formalized movements and positions of the arms, feet, and body that are designed to enable the dancer to move with the greatest possible agility, control, speed, lightness, and grace. Classical ballet technique is based on the turned-out position of the legs, which increases the range of movement through added mobility in the hip joint and creates a pleasing line through the body to the extended leg. 

 Pittsburgh Ballet Theater offers the following:

Ballet is an art form created by the movement of the human body.

It is theatrical – performed on a stage to an audience utilizing costumes, scenic design and lighting. It can tell a story or express a thought, concept or emotion. Ballet can be magical, exciting, provoking or disturbing.

Classical ballet is what people generally think of  first when it comes to “ballet.” Classical ballet reached its height in 19th- century Russia through the work of choreographers like Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. The following elements characterize this style:

  • graceful, flowing movements

  • classical form: turn-out of the legs and pointe work

  • balance and symmetry

  • ethereal quality

  • emphasis on story ballets and narrative

  • elaborate sets and costumes

Neo-classical ballet was introduced in the 20th century by choreographers like George Balanchine. It generally includes:

  • increased speed, energy and attack

  • manipulation of the classical form

  • asymmetry, an off-balance feel

  • non-narrative, often one-act ballets

  • pared-down aesthetic with simple sets and costumes

Contemporary ballet is influenced by modern dance. Renowned contemporary ballet choreographers include Twyla Tharp, Jiří Kylián, Paul Taylor, William Forsythe and Dwight Rhoden. In contemporary ballet, you may see:

  • floor work

  • turn-in of the legs

  • greater range of movement and body line

  • pointe shoes but also bare feet

Barelegged Ballet:   

This class  will focus on Contemporary Ballet technique - Contemporary Ballet incorporates elements of both classical ballet and modern dance. It takes its technique from classical ballet, but allows a greater range of movement of the upper body. Many of its concepts come from the ideas of modern dance, including floor choreography and turning in of the legs. Dancers will begin with a ballet barre that will add a contemporary port de bras (upper body) to the technical exercises. Center and across floor work will focus more on movement and style and involve more combination work.


Progressing Ballet Technique: 

This class is a great compliment to, and must be taken in combination with a leveled ballet class.

Using fit balls, bosu balls, and therabands, dancers will further develop/use their muscle memory to improve core stability, weight placement, and alignment.



An energetic style of dance, comprised of a variety of moves, steps, leaps and quick turns, with emphasis on strength, agility, flexibility and athleticism. Jazz dance incorporates many of the same elements as ballet. 

Jazz and Ballet technique classes are both important in mastering the strong and sharp stylized movements of Jazz, as well as developing skill in leaps and turns, where correct posture is essential for proper execution.

Jazz classes require moderate intensity stretching in order to warm up the muscles and help prevent injuries. The class warm-up period will include exercises that focus on elongating leg muscles and strengthening the core.



Incorporates shoes fitted with heel and toe metal "taps". Dancers create tap sounds by rhythmically striking the floor or any other hard surface. Elements of focus include precision, rhythm, musicality, and speed. Two major variations of tap dance are rhythm (jazz) tap and Broadway tap. Broadway tap focuses on dance; it is widely performed in musical theater.


Hip Hop

Refers to "street" dance style; primarily performed to hip hop music. Though Hip Hop has a relatively short history in comparison to other genes of dance, it includes a wide range of styles such as breaking, popping and locking.



Explores the total movement potential of the body. It is not bound by set standards or defined styles, but seeks to express a personalized vision through improvisation and collaboration. It derives its techniques from both ballet and modern dance, either updating or distorting them, resulting in a hybrid form derived from literature, architecture, visual arts, and other artistic disciplines.


Acro for Dancers

Acro for Dancers is a class that will focus on tumble skills, strength, balance and flexibility to enhance the dancer’s training. Skills will also include a focus on proper grace and technical execution. Tricks/Skills being taught will be based on the level of the student (Front/back rolls, Cartwheels, handstands, bridges, front/back walkovers, round-offs, front/back handsprings, aerials, etc)  This is a supplemental class for dancers.

What about boys?

All classes are designed for girls and boys alike. The focus on strength, agility, athleticism, energy and drive allows boys to feel that they are setting and accomplishing a goal in an artistic form. 

Why do I need to take Ballet?

Even if you are planning to focus on Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, or Tap, ballet training is essential to your dance training. It provides the technique you need to flourish in all other dance styles. Here are some reasons why it is important:

1) Ballet is foundational for many genres of dance. Whatever you learn in ballet, it translates to values that can be used to pursue other forms of dance. The alignment and musicality it requires are only some examples of important qualities in most dance styles.

2) The development of discipline and dedication. Ballet technique is very specific and requires practice to improve. In most cases, the qualities of discipline and dedication translate themselves to other areas of life like work and school.

3) Improving posture. Let's face it: everything in ballet requires good posture. In time, the posture utilized in the studio translates to every part of a dancer's life.

4) Improving balance and flexibility - two large parts of ballet technique which, consequently, diminish the likelihood of injury in ballet, sports, and other dance forms.

5) Increased agility. While often slow and graceful, ballet has its swift moments as well. Football players often attribute speed and agility to their experiences cross-training with ballet during the off season.

6) Aural, visual, and kinetic stimulus. In laymans' terms: You learn to connect verbal commands and musical cues with exercise demonstrations and perform them in our/your body. Different parts of the brain are problem solving to perform the movements in time to the music.

7) Confidence.  The artistry, musicality, and grace of ballet are great confidence boosters.

It’s important to add at least one ballet class to your weekly schedule to start. Then, add more as your time and budget permits. 

It can be extremely difficult to fix “bad habits” you create over the years by not learning proper dance technique. Ballet gives you the basic arm and leg movements also employed in jazz, modern, tap, and ballroom. It helps you find your center of balance, gain strength and agility and move gracefully.

While some of the traditional ballerinas you see may be a little “stiff” in Hip Hop, they tend to have more control over their bodies in modern, jazz, ballroom, and other, dance styles. And they are almost always better turners.

Today’s working dancers who are not specifically focused on being professional ballerinas still incorporate ballet into their regular, dance-training efforts... so whether you like it or not, ballet is an essential part of being a good, all-around dancer.

(Edited from

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