Teaching with the System

Three steps to success:
The preparatory program > The basics of technique > Pathways to dance styles

The Preparatory Program

This program develops expressive movement and prepares the body instrument for dance through the exploration of the full range of natural movements, the enthusiasm and joy of instinctive movement, and the discovery of movement to rhythms.

Very young children experience joyous excitement in unrestrained movement, and it is important that this joy of moving should be retained, even as it is brought under conscious control and their energy is harnessed for specific purposes such as dance or sports.

The exploration and explanation of why movements are learned and used is integral to the system. Young bodies are allowed to move at natural speeds, and new movements are added by exploration and progression.

In the ten progressions of this program, the elements of dance are introduced, and younger children learn to control their movements within the capabilities of their age-groups and their own bodies. Student groups advance through the progressions at their own rate of development, and may be presented for assessment at any progression level at any time.

The fundamentals of Time and Music are combined with the application of Weight and Effort in order to facilitate movement. Together with the management of Space and Energy, these basics of dancing start the education of each future dancer’s Body Instrument.

This program lays a strong foundation for any dance style or form of physical activity, and the sound preparation of the body instrument facilitates the introduction of any required techniques.

The Basics of Technique

Raising the curtain on Classical Dance

At the Movement & Dance Education Centre we believe that classical ballet technique is not suitable for young bodies and minds not yet suitably prepared and at an appropriate stage of physical and cognitive development.

At the completion of the Preparatory Dance Program, students have a sound foundation for the introduction of the basics of classical dance technique. They have developed a wide range of movement skills and an ability to concentrate and coordinate the complex movements, rhythms and space patterns which will now be introduced.

Exploration of movement remains the focus of this program. Exercises are designed for this purpose and to combine the movements learned in interesting and challenging amalgamations. They are designed to help the dancer to dance better, with appropriate preparation and progressions to develop all basic classical technique requirements at an even pace.

Over the four degrees of this program, the body instrument is introduced to classical dance technique by the use of the divided exercise, which allows the mind time to think about new movements without omitting any of the elements which will be coordinated in the final form. The movements are learnt with pauses and as if in slow motion. Gradually the pauses are removed and the tempo is increased until the final form is reached. Then the purpose of movements learned is recognised in amalgamations.

At each stage, the student is considered as a complete dancer at their own level of ability and development, and all elements must progress hand-in-hand. From the System set out in the teaching manual ‘Help Them Dance’, the teacher creates pathways to suit their own student groups, introducing movements and creating exercises and amalgamations appropriate to particular needs.

Students may be presented for assessment at the completion of each Degree, or at any stage of progression in between.

Other Dance Styles: We are developing a range of Basic Dance Style Programs which will run along side the Basics of Classical Dance, including Contemporary Dance and Character Dance. Students will be able to study these programs concurrently.

Pathways to Dance Styles

Following the introduction to classical dance technique explored in the Basics of Classical Dance, the student will elect to follow the recreational or the vocational pathway.

Recreational Pathway

Students are encouraged to continue their training for the love of dance and the inherent life benefits.

A further program of two degrees is available for the many students who love this form of dance and will benefit from further training, but do not wish to commit to full time vocational training.

Vocational Pathway

A high level of commitment is required to complete Professional 1 and 2, and Excellence 1 and 2. Students are required to undertake the equivalent of full time study to gain the strength and stamina to accomplish many of the difficulties of this demanding technique. Students must achieve honours in Degree 4 to select this pathway.