The steps to success:
Early Steps > The Preparatory Program > The Senior Program
Early Steps Program
In the early years (indicative age 3, 4 years), very young dancers are introduced to activities which stimulate imagination and observation. They begin to develop musical awareness, explore a broad range of movements, and develop enjoyment in performing dance.
The Preparatory Program
In this program (indicative age 5-9 years), young students explore a comprehensive range of basic movement skills, and then learn progressive control and coordination of these movements, while the natural feelings for movement, dance, expression and musicality are fostered. Young dancers are prepare both physically and cognitively for more disciplined training to follow.
Retaining the enthusiasm and joy of instinctive movement is a crucial component of this program. Young bodies are allowed to move at natural speeds following innate movement patterns which are then gradually brought under conscious control across the ten Levels of the program.
New movements are added by exploration and gradual progressions. Student groups advance through the progressions at their own rate, and any level of progression may be presented for assessment.
This program lays a strong foundation for any dance style or form of physical activity. On completion, students have developed a wide range of movement skills and an ability to concentrate and to coordinate the complex movements, rhythms and spatial patterns now required. This sound preparation of the body instrument facilitates the introduction and training of any required technique. It should also establish helathy habits for life itself!
The Senior Program
Laurel strongly believed that children do not have the concentration and endurance required for classical ballet and other techniques until around the age of 9. On completion of the LMDS Preparatory Program, students have a sound foundation for the introduction of classical and other techniques in their basic form.
Specialised technique is now introducted using the principle of THE DIVIDED EXERCISE, and then progressively refined.
The final form of the technical movement movement is mastered in Part A of the Senior Program – ‘The Basics of Technique’, and the complexity of the work is increased to achieve pre-professional standard in Part B – ‘Refining Dance Style’.
Part A: The Basics of Technique
Exploration of movement remains the focus of this program. Exercises are designed firstly to meet this purpose, and then to combine those movements in interesting and challenging amalgamations.
Over the four Degrees of this program, the body instrument is introduced to classical dance (or other) technique through the use of the Divided Exercise. This approach allows the mind time to think about new movements while each exercise retains all the components which will be coordinated in the final form. New movements are learnt with pauses, using body parts in isolation. Gradually the pauses are removed, the body parts are coordinated, and the tempo is increased, until the final form is reached. Next, the new movements are incorporation in amalgamations and enchainements.
Exercises are always dance exercises, designed to help the student to dance better. Suitable preparations and finishes are integral to every exercise.
Importantly, throughout each progression, the student is regarded as a complete dancer at their own level of development and ability. All components of dance training must progress hand-in-hand, with none left to be added in later.
The dance teacher plans progressive pathways to suit their own students, creating exercises, amalgamations and enchainements appropriate to their particular needs.
Students may present for assessment for each of the four Degrees and for any progression in between.
Part B: Refining Dance Style
Students may elect to follow a recreational or vocational pathway
Recreational Pathway: Recreational students are encouraged to follow their love of dance with further dance training across two additional Degrees.
Progressions are tailored to provide challenges and ongoing development of skills and artistry although a career in dance performance is not the goal.
Full assessments are offered, and Presentation Assessments are also available to encourage these students to show their performance skills and receive feedback without undue stress or judgement.
Vocational Pathway: A high level of commitment is required to achieve an Honours result in the final Degrees and to complete Excellence.
Vocational students must undertake extended hours of training to gain the strength and stamina to accomplish the difficulties of this demanding level of technique and artistry.