The ballet world has a reputation for being fiercely competitive and unflinchingly rigid. Much of this has to do with the teaching style, and unfortunately, many times a dancer’s mental health is sacrificed in the name of developing technique. Different schools emphasize different aspects of ballet, but at Studio R Ballet, we push our dancers to improve their technique and strength while instilling in them a healthy mindset of confidence and accomplishment. Our mission is to create an elite environment that produces mentally healthy, physically advanced, and well-rounded dancers.
At SRB, instead of focusing only on flaws and mistakes, our instructors make a concerted effort to point out successes and improvements in each dancer. These compliments are carefully balanced with constructive criticism to ensure each student is instilled with confidence and a desire to improve. Our method of instruction also encourages our dancers to develop friendships with each other instead of feeling pitted against each other. This unique balance ultimately helps our students both inside and outside the studio—dancers are pushed to grow and improve, while building and maintaining confidence and healthy friendships with their fellow dancers. They learn that they can do hard things and become better dancers than they ever imagined they could be. It especially sets them up for future careers in ballet, should they choose to pursue that route.
Whether the goal is to become a professional ballet dancer, to study dance in college, or just to dance as a hobby, we place a great emphasis on building a strong technical foundation. This involves taking an approach of building strength and flexibility while learning ballet from the ground up—essentially, dancers are not taught new steps or put in pointe shoes until they’re ready. Many other dance studios will focus on teaching flashy tricks, but this approach does their students a disservice. The method used at SRB is much safer for our students’ bodies and overall better for their technique. Because they have a strong foundation to build on, the likelihood of forming bad habits or getting injured is much lower.
SRB also employs instructors with a variety of backgrounds and specialties, which is essential in a dancer’s education so that they can learn and become familiar with different styles of teaching. Ballet is the principal form of dance taught at our studio, but we also teach other forms of dance as well as yoga, pilates, and strength and flexibility classes. These are all meant to supplement our students’ ballet training and provide them with the best dance education possible.
In addition to teaching different dance forms, we also teach our students different methods of classical ballet. Our core ballet instruction focuses on the Vaganova and Cecchetti methods. The Vaganova method is widely recognized as the best method for building a strong foundation in ballet technique, and is wonderful for preparing dancers to learn other methods of ballet as well. The Cecchetti method emphasizes perfection in body movements, lines, and musicality, and teaches a thorough understanding of ballet vocabulary. By combining these two methods, the students at SRB are provided with a rigorous and extremely solid ballet education.
As students move up through the levels, they are gradually introduced to the Balanchine method. The Balanchine method is also known as the American style of ballet, and among other things, it involves creating the illusion of the dancer utilizing more space while performing steps faster than in other methods. Additionally, certain rules found in other methods are broken for aesthetic purposes. This requires the dancer to be very strong and flexible and to have a highly developed technical foundation. This is why we don’t introduce dancers to the Balanchine method until they’re ready.
Introducing our students to different styles of dance and different methods of classical ballet is not only necessary to make it in today’s dance world, but it gives dancers an opportunity to discover more of their talents and strengths and learn new ways to express and move their bodies. By providing our students with a carefully constructed ballet education, we ultimately aim to create a healthy, positive environment where ballet dancers can develop their confidence and technique in a variety of dance styles.