The “Graded” syllabus provides a broad practical dance education, encouraging the development of an appropriate and sound technique relevant for the ballet world of today. Musically inspired exercises and dances promote joy in movement, creative interpretation and performance. Students can begin to study around the age of five. The preparatory levels of Pre-Primary and Primary precede Grades 1 – 5, with Grades 6 – 8 following on. Grades 1 – 8 include the study of character, which is the theatrical presentation of national dance using original ethnic dance and music which has been freely adapted for the theatre.
The “Vocational” syllabus provides an in-depth study of ballet. It challenges and inspires students technically, artistically, musically and creatively with exercises that encourage critical thinking and physical fitness while also developing a sense of theatre, movement dynamics and musical interpretation. Vocational students need the maturity and technical aptitude to enable them to respond to demanding study. The levels commence with Intermediate Foundation, followed by Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1, and Advanced 2. Students who pass the Advanced 2 exam with Distinction are eligible to attempt the Solo Seal Award as well as enter the prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition (provided certain age and other criteria are met).
At Studio West
R.A.D. exams are offered at Studio West at both Graded and Vocational levels. There are no upper age limits, and both male and female students can enter. Exams provide a goal to work towards, tangible recognition of achievement, and for some levels the opportunity to receive B.C. high school credits. Females do a portion of each Vocational exam en pointe.
Pointe work involves supporting the body’s weight over the very small area that is the tip of a pointe shoe. It therefore increases the load placed on the lower body, from the toes all the way up through the lumbar spine, which in turn increases the risk of injury. So for their own safety, a student must show sufficient strength, control, and maturity before starting en pointe at Studio West.