CDA Teacher's Course Curriculum
Teacher's Course Manuals
CDA shares information through material presented to participants which is basic, useful, and measurable. Material contained in each course manual is used to facilitate the learning of information presented. CDA materials are copyrighted and unique to this organization. They are clearly written and provide ballet vocabulary used, when and in what form steps are taught including music. Later, manuals become a reference to help plan daily lessons and know what to work on next.
The following is a brief incomplete overview of the Six Class Program to give a general idea of the progression of work from Elementary to Advanced. It is not meant to be comprehensive or inclusive. Courses must be taken in sequence.
The First Year of the Six Year Program for the Study of Classical Ballet
including the "First Three Days" of the Elementary Work
In 1969, Vera Kostrovitskaya was personally asked to work out a syllabus for a six-year course of study (so-called “experimental class”) starting at twelve, rather than at ten years of age. This syllabus is worked out so that the entire eight-year course is accelerated and passed in six years (Kostrovitskaya, 1995. p.17). In the First Year, the first three days differ from the end of September’s work. Basic principles are first introduced followed by the first exercises for a person to adapt to classical dance training at the Barre and in the Center Exercise. The basic stance, positions of the feet, arms and head are taught. Gradually and methodically the elementary habits of movement coordination are introduced and begin to be established in October, November, and December’s work (including Allegro and Pointe Work). By the second half of the year, the exercises already established in the program increase in quantity and are taught at a faster tempo. By the end of the year, to develop strong feet and legs, movements alternate first on the whole foot then on demi-pointe and elementary combinations of movements are taught.
The Second Year of the Six Year Program for the Study of Classical Ballet
Completion of the Elementary Work
In the Second Year, tempos are somewhat faster. The length of the Barre Exercise should now take approximately 35 minutes. The exercises on demi-pointe (begun in the Barre Exercise in the First Class) continue with more repetition. Battement tendus jeté, ronds de jambe par terre, battements frappés and petits battements are practiced in both 1/4 and in 1/8 (alternating 1/4 and 1/8 notes) in the second half of the year. The exercises on demi- pointe (begun in the First Class at the Barre) begin to be studied in the Center Exercise, until they are practiced entirely on demi-pointe, by the end of the first part of the year. The easiest movements, en tournant, begin to be taught in the Center Exercise. Adagios are constructed using the poses that have already been covered. New Allegro and Pointe vocabulary is introduced. Tours and batterie begin to be studied. Tour en l’air, for the boy’s class, is studied in the second half of the year.
The Third Year of the Six Year Program for the Study of Classical Ballet
First Half of the Intermediate Working
In the Third Year emphasis is placed on stability (aplomb) through control of the weight of the body in coordination with the head, arms and legs in various turns and in exercises on demi-pointe and on pointe. “The basis of stability lies in the preservation of the vertical axis, which passes through the middle of the head and body to the ball of the supporting foot when one is standing on demi-pointe and in front of the heels when one is standing on the whole foot” (Kostrovitskaya, 1995, p.62). Plasticity is developed in the arms and in the torso and when moving from one pose to another pose. (For example, slow turns from one big pose to another involving movements of the torso.) Turns in the big poses are introduced. From different preparations, the technique of beats and turns begins to be mastered. Elevation begins to be developed in big jumps.
The Fourth Year of the Six Year Program for the Study of Classical Ballet
Completion of the Intermediate Work
In the Fourth Year exercises of the preceding year are combined with two tours from V and II positions followed by a degagé and then, for example, 7 ronds de jambe en l'air in 1/8. Fic-flac takes place from one big pose to another big pose. Combinations at the Barre become more difficult and complex. Center Exercises are executed en tournant. Different kinds of fouetté movements are introduced such as Grand fouetté effacé forward and backward (en dehors and en dedans). Emphasis is placed on all kinds of preparatory movements such as coupé, step-coupé, glissade, sissonne tombée which are practiced before big jumps such as Grande Jeté, Grande Assemblé en tournant and Saut de Basque etc. Pointe work includes beats, various pas de bourrée on pointe are placed into more complicated combinations. Included in Pointe Work are Grand Jeté and Grande Sissonne Ouverte with plié relevé en pointe. Grand Cabriole is taught in the Men's Class at the end of the year.
The Fifth Year of the Six Year Program for the Study of Classical Ballet
First Part of Advanced Level
Working to continue improving all basic movements already learned and to finish learning all classical dance movements that were studied in the previous classes. Rond de jambe en l'air can now be practiced at 90⁰ in the Barre Exercise. The Big Adagio in the Center Exercise can be concluded in a number of interesting ways including an uncomplicated jump. Fouetté at 45⁰ and for the men's class, Grand pirouette with relevé, eight tours. Renversé from a pose croisée, en dehors and en dedans. Beats include Entrechat-Six are now practiced. Big jumps including Grande cabriole in all of the poses and other big jumps are practiced such as Grand Assemblé Entrechat-Six de Volé. Pointe exercises include Tours Chaîné and Tours from V position en dehors, traveling forward en diagonale etc.
The Sixth Year of the Six Year Program for Classical Ballet
Last Year - Advanced Level
There is further perfection of classical dance movements and emphasis is placed on finishing the dancer for the stage. More dancy combinations of adagio, allegro and pointe are created. Teachers are trying to develop the virtuoso execution and artistry of each dancer. Different movements are taught according to the different abilities of each student. A movement such as Grande Sissonne en tournant with two tours, finishing in a Big Pose might be taught to a talented student.
Kostrovitskaya, V., & Pisarev, A. & Barker, J (Trans.). (1979). School of classical dance. Moscow: Progress Publishers.