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The CDA Program of Study mirrors the authoritative six-year program developed by Vera Kostrovitskaya. Material presented in each course facilitates a command of information covering that class level within the syllabus. Course offerings must be taken in sequence, regardless of prior experience. Following is a brief summary of each of the class levels in the Teacher Certification Program to give some idea of the progression of work from elementary to advanced. 


FIRST YEAR Elementary Work Begins
In the critical first three days, basic principles and preliminary exercises are introduced for the student to adapt to training at the Barre and in the Center. The basic stance, positions of the feet, arms and head are learned. Gradually and methodically, the elementary habits of movement coordination are established in the first half of the year (including Allegro and Pointe Work). In the second half, more repetitions are given at a faster tempo. By the end of the year, to strengthen feet and legs, movements advance from whole foot to demi-pointe, and elementary combinations are taught.


SECOND YEAR Elementary Work Concludes
Tempos get somewhat faster. The Barre now extends to about 35 minutes. Exercises on demi-pointe begun in the First Class Barre continue with more repetition. Battement tendus jeté, ronds de jambe par terre, battements frappés, and petits battements are practiced in both 1/4 and 1/8 in the second half of the year. Exercises on demi-pointe begin in the Center and are practiced entirely on demi-pointe by the end of the first part of the year. The easiest movements en tournant begin in the Center. Adagios are constructed using poses already 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.


THIRD YEAR Intermediate Work Begins
Emphasis is 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 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 torso. Slow turns from one big pose to another involving movements of the torso and turns in the big poses are introduced. From different preparations, the technique of beats and turns begins to be mastered. Elevation is developed in big jumps.


FOURTH YEAR Intermediate Work Concludes
Exercises of the preceding year are combined with two tours from V and II positions followed by a degagé and then, e.g., 7 ronds de jambe en l'air in 1/8. Fic-flac is practiced from one big pose to another. Combinations at the Barre become more difficult and complex. Center Exercises are executed en tournant. Fouetté movements such as Grand fouetté effacé forward and backward (en dehors and en dedans) are introduced. 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 complex 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.


FIFTH YEAR Advanced Work Begins
Focus is on refinement and advancement of all movements studied in previous classes. Rond de jambe en l'air is now be practiced at 90⁰ in the Barre Exercise. The Big Adagio in the Center can be concluded in a number of interesting ways, including an uncomplicated jump. Fouetté at 45⁰ for ladies and for men Grand Pirouette with relevé, eight tours. Renversé from a pose croisée, en dehors and en dedans. Beats including 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.


SIXTH YEAR Advanced Work Concludes
Further mastery of movements is gained with emphasis on finishing the dancer for the stage. Dancier combinations of adagio, allegro, and pointe are presented. Teachers endeavor to elicit virtuoso execution and artistry from each dancer. Different movements may be 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.


Adjunct Courses
CDA has offered teacher's courses in Historical Dance and Character Dance, and produced music CDs for teachers to support classroom work. CDA collaborated with Nina Kolesnikova and Vladimir Kolesnikov, Kirov Ballet specialists who gave instruction, and Marina Gendel, the pianist who with the Kolesnikovs created the music CDs in collaboration with CDA. CDA was the first domestic nonprofit to produce such courses for teachers in the United States. They were held at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. CDA is currently working on Pedagogy of Partnering Courses and will be teaching this with appropriate classical dance courses.  

First Year
Second Year
Third Year
Fourth Year
Fifth Year
Sixth Year
Adjunct Courses


CDA Ballet Music CDs


CDA-produced CDs offer hard-to-find accompaniment for Historical and Character Dance classwork. Conceived for training purposes and performed with true virtuosity, these quality recordings make a coveted addition to any dance music library .

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