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Geeky Ballerina

artistry + technique

Ballet Foundations A curriculum preview 

5- and 6- year-olds

Key principle is ballet manners

Key vocabulary is gross locomotor movements

General guidelines:

  • Introduce gentle/“natural” turnout, 1st and 2nd feet positions only.

  • Increase awareness of front v. back (of body, in poses, as a pathway to travel, etc.).

  • Dancers should be able to:

    • stay in their own space rather than bump into someone else (both while dancing and while waiting for their turn.

    • finish combinations on the specified count.

  • Children’s social/emotional maturation happens at different rates so level placement should focus on where the child will be reasonably challenged (“reasonable” = it is easy to imagine them accomplishing the goal in the next 9 months) physically and behaviorally rather than rigid determinations by age. Ballet class should be a place where they feel successful.

  • Ideal class length for Foundations levels is 1 hour.


Floor exercises:

purpose is to build strength and flexibility


butterfly w/ port de bras

flex/point feet

rotation from hip

grand battement lying on ground

hug knees (contraction of abdominals/flexion of spine)

variations on V-sit (bent knees, option to place hands on ground, etc.)

scissor kick exercises

. . .


Center “barre” work:

purpose is to build core strength and introduce basic vocabulary

port de bras and hand movements—focus on building arm strength this year

foot stretches in parallel and 1st


press relevé

press rises (up and down w/o plié)

tendu (1st priority is pointed toe, then straight knee)


. . .


Adagio elements:

purpose is to build balance and stability

sways (forward & back, side to side), can progress to glissé or use balancé rhythm if ready

walking with a tall back while moving arms, progress to tip toe walks while moving arms if ready (challenges core strength)

développé to tendu


Allegro elements:

purpose is to develop gross locomotor coordination

30% (minimum) of class should be spent on allegro elements

spinning (begin by learning to pick up the designated foot, progress to picking up the correct foot and turning the correct


spotting exercises (sitting, bourrée turns in place, etc.)

grand battement en avant

tip toe walks

pas marché


couru (running in 1st position)



sauté échappé from 1st to 2nd


. . .


All children advance to next level unless there is a significant developmental delay

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