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Ballet at Barriskill

The ballet program at BDTS is welcome to all students interested in a fresh and body-positive take on a traditionally Western classical form of dance. 

From Pre-Ballet classes for 3 year olds to pre-professional and conservatory level classes, instruction and curriculum are designed to educate dancers with efficient and safe alignment and technique. We provide individualized coaching on artistry and performance, and support acquisition of life skills such as diligence, focus, determination and peer collaboration.

The Barriskill ballet program consists of Pre-School, Studio, Teen, Conservatory, Pre-Professsional, and Adult divisions.


These classes introduce students to the world of music and movement while encouraging self-discipline and respect for others. Classes are grouped by age and previous experience is not necessary at any level. We also offer hybrid ballet classes so that preschoolers can pair ballet with tap or jazz to accompany ballet. Look out for classes labeled Pre-Ballet/Pre-Tap, Pre-Ballet/Pre-Jazz.


STUDIO DIVISION (ages 6 yo and up)

These classes progressively introduce ballet concepts and build strength, flexibility and muscle memory while continuing to encourage acquisition of social skills. All students in the studio division are invited to participate in spring recitals.

Primary Ballet (age 6) introduces alignment and strengthening exercises that typically begin at the ballet barre. Dancers will begin to learn the fundamentals of efficient ballet technique and performance.

Ballet 1 (7-10 year olds) for students with or without dance experience, this class continues to focus on healthy alignment and joy! Dancers will begin learning how their muscular and skeletal structures create their movement and will move through a classical structure of barre work, center exercises and moving through the room.

Ballet 2 students are expected to have completed at least 1 recent year of ballet (not including Pre-Ballet). This class will continue building technical strength and agility as well as artistry and social skills. Many students in this level participate in two ballet classes per week, but this is not a requirement.


Ballet 3 and 4 meet twice per week. Students will be placed into these levels by a Barriskill faculty member. These classes introduce challenging steps and rhythms to dancers already familiar with technical fundamentals. Ballet 3 classes are 1.25 hrs each and ballet 4 classes are 1.5 hrs each. Dancers should sign up for two classes in the same section.



BDTS is pleased to offer ballet classes for beginning teens who are newly interested in dance or have taken a few year’s off from dance classes. Classes meet for one hour each week and include an emphasis on efficient technique AND fun! In Spring, students will also gain performance skills as they prepare to participate in recital productions. Beginning teens are also welcome to take Adult Ballet classes at the appropriate level. Additionally, we have a teen ballet class for high schoolers only.


Conservatory Levels include 5, 6, 7, 8 

Students who choose to participate in the Conservatory division classes are making a commitment to a more serious course of study. These classes require excellent attendance, classroom etiquette and a clear demonstration of motivation and participation. Classes are 1.5 hours and require attendance three days per week. Participation in the school’s performance of the Nutcracker and the Spring concert is highly encouraged!



Students who are placed into the Pre-Professional Division demonstrate a commitment to excellence in participation, attendance, etiquette, and work ethic. This rigorous program requires a minimum of four classes per week. Participation in the school's performance of the Nutcracker and the Spring concert is expected.


Advancement in the studio and conservatory ballet programs is based primarily on the ability of the student to fully participate in the next level of instruction. Promotion from one level to the next is not automatic. There are many skills to practice, and as students advance and grow older, the majority of ballet students require more than one year in the same level. Advancement is based on several factors: acquisition of ballet skills and concepts, social and emotional maturity, and behavior in classes.



At BDTS we strive to make the best placement we can considering the multiple factors available to us at the time, aiming to support each student and their individual needs. Our teachers work together with the director to make sure that they have clear standards for each level, and work to keep the levels homogenous. Students learn best in a level that challenges them but doesn’t overwhelm them. Advancement is based on several factors: acquisition of skills and concepts, attitude and consistency, social and emotional maturity, and the ability to participate fully in the next level of instruction. This means a careful consideration of each student’s readiness. 


Teachers are also able to move students up mid-year or at the end of the summer, and will recommend promotion if they think a student is progressing faster than the class is moving. New students can take a trial class or request a private interview for assessment.


Dancing en pointe is considered to be a very advanced ballet skill and should only be done under informed supervision, as pointe work can be dangerous if attempted too early or with poor instruction. Most children do not have sufficient bone structure and development or muscular strength to allow a safe inclusion of pointe work until they are at least 11 years old. Many dancers strongly anticipate their desire to wear pointe shoes but it is imperative that they remain patient and diligent in their work if they want to eventually dance en pointe.


Dancers in ballet level 6 and up may dance en pointe at BDTS and have access to faculty guidance when purchasing and sewing their pointe shoes. This process involves specialize fittings! Please talk with a faculty member when the time comes for you or your student to begin pointe work.

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