Any dancer age 4 to young adult may join the Youth Program through San Jose Dance Theatre.
Please contact the Artistic Director at [email protected] to schedule a Placement Class.
Youth Program Class Descriptions
see also Dress and Behavioral Codes
All Youth Classes Pre-Ballet through Levels 1-6 receive weekly classes in Ballet Technique.
Ballet technique is the foundational principles of body movement and form used in ballet. Classes in ballet technique are important because ballet puts great emphasis on the method and execution of movement.
The techniques found in classical ballet are a framework for many other styles of dance, including modern dance, jazz, contemporary, and lyrical.
Ballet technique is based on two fundaments: proper alignment (keeping the head, shoulders, and hips vertically aligned) and turnout (completing movements with legs rotated outward from the hips to the toes). Proper ballet training stresses pulling up (using strong muscles of the stomach, back and bottom to pull the body up and off of the legs, allowing the dancer to move with strength and grace.
San Jose Dance Theatre’s curriculum is based on the Vaganova Russian style and in the higher levels also honor the influences of the quick, light,and intricate styles of the Balanchine American style and the Bournonville Danish style.
Students will also be given the opportunity to train for examinations through the Cecchetti Council of America. Our faculty member, Miss Sarah serves as Vice Chairman of the West Coast Committee of the Cecchitti Council of America.
Select students will also be given the opportunity for extra training for the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP).
Pointe technique is the part of ballet technique concerned with dancing on the tips of fully extended feet with special shoes. Pointe work is undertaken when the student has learned basic technique and when herlegs and feet are sufficiently developed, usually after a minimum of threeyears in ballet technique classes. Students are promoted to pointe only when the Artistic Director and the student’s ballet teacher deem it safe and appropriate. It is an exciting promotion for all female ballet dancers!
Levels 5 and 6 receive weekly Pointe and Repertory classes.
Students will learn and be coached in solo variations and corps de ballet (group work) from the famous classical ballets and learn original choreography from the Artistic Director, Linda Hurkmans and SJDT faculty. Students will be chosen to perform these pieces of choreography in San Jose Dance Theatre performances.
Master Classes and Summer Intensive instructors have taught variations from the classical ballet repertory, such as from Paquita, Don Quioxote, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Flames of Paris, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, La Bayadere, Flower Festival, and Carmina Burana.
Level 3 and 4 also receive Repertory in the Summer Intensive.
All youth classes, pre-ballet through Level 6, receive Conditioning class once a week.
This class includes stretching of all muscles and core conditioning to ensure the stomach, back, and gluteal muscles are strong. It incorporates elements from yoga and pilates. Both the stretching and conditioning exercises are vital to the success of the dancer, but also helpful for sports and gymnastics, injury prevention, and stress release.
San Jose Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director, Linda Hurkmans, has been fully certified in Pilates since 2000 by Turning Pointe Studios and The Physical Mind Institute. She has taught athletes, dancers, and the general public for 14 years and helped found the Pilates program at Santa Clara University. Miss Linda has specially designed conditioning classes for the ballet dancer. The mat and foam rollers will be used for core strength exercises, stretching, and massage and Myo-fascial release. Myo-fascial release is crucial in injury prevention.
Jazz (during Summer Intensive)
Jazz training compliments ballet training and introduces students to a different form of dance. In the past, we were honored to have Ehud Krauss, Master Teacher of the Luigi Jazz technique and Artistic Director of Zohar School of Dance teach for San Jose Dance Theatre.
Ballet Education (during Summer Intensive)
Dancers Pre-Ballet through Level 6 will receive weekly classes in Ballet Education in which they will learn the choreographer, composer, main characters, and story lines of the classical ballets. Students will also learn to read and spell ballet vocabulary that is in the French language.
Levels 4, 5, and 6 Contemporary class
Contemporary training complements ballet training and introduces students to a different form of dance. Contemporary dance is a wonderful complement to the technical ballet vocabulary and will make the dancer more versatile and more competitive in today’s professional dance industry.
San Jose Dance Theatre’s Contemporary teacher is Sian Ferguson, a dance teacher, notator and ballet director from Ealing, London with an M.A. in Dance Research and Reconstruction.
Past guest instructors have included Raissa Simpson (Artistic Director of PUSH Dance Co. in San Francisco), Kristin Kusanovich, M.F.A. (a professor in Modern Dance from Santa Clara University and the President of The California’s Dance Educator Association), and Jazon Escultura. Please see faculty biographies for more details.
Pas de Deux
Advanced students will receive Pas de Deux classes. This is specialized training in how the male and female dancers work together in classical ballets. This training is specifically helpful for dancers who are pursuing professional careers as ballet dancers. For their safety, students must be deemed ready and invited to attend Pas de Deux classes by the Artistic Director.
Master Classes and Educational Lectures
Open to our students and the public.
Periodic guest teachers will be invited to give Master Classes. These Master Classes will expose students to different dance concepts and styles and continue San Jose Dance Theatre’s relationship to other schools and professional companies. Additional professional development lectures will be offered to provide education and injury prevention.
Progression of Levels at San Jose Dance Theatre
A clear progression of Levels 1-6 is linked to cognitive and physical development in each age group. A Placement Class is required for new students before beginning any of the Levels 1-6. Students already enrolled in San Jose Dance Theatre will receive notice of possible progression to the next level at the end of San Jose Dance Theatre’s academic semesters and summer intensive.
No prior experience is required. Trains 1x per week.
Classes include: Ballet and Conditioning.
NOTE: Pre-Ballet students have the option of attending class on either Tuesdays or Saturdays.
This class introduces children to the art of ballet by promoting the exploration of creativity and expression through movement. The class will help young children learn left from right and develop their motor skills, coordination, attention and listening skills expected in the classroom. It will also help develop their musicality. Basic ballet terms will be covered which provides a foundation for the continued study in San Jose Dance Theatre’s Levels 1-6.
Props will be used to enhance the learning experience. Class sizes are kept small to assure plenty of individual attention for our youngest dancers.
Level 1 (approximate age 6‐8)
Level 1 trains 1x per week.
Classes include: Ballet and Conditioning
NOTE: Level 1 students have the option of attending class on either Tuesdays or Saturdays.
Level 2 trains 2x per week.
Classes include: Ballet and Conditioning
Level 2 dancers must attend Tuesday and Saturday classes.
Level 3 (approximate age 8‐10, by discretion of the Artistic Director)
Level 3 trains 3x per week.
Classes include: Ballet, Pre-Pointe, Conditioning, and Contemporary
Level 4 (approximate age 9‐11, by discretion of the Artistic Director)
Level 4 trains 4x per week.
Classes include: Ballet, Pointe, Conditioning, and Contemporary
Pointe work is undertaken when the student has learned basic technique and when her legs and feet are sufficiently developed, usually after a minimum of three years in ballet technique classes. Students are promoted to pointe only when the Artistic Director and the student’s ballet teacher deem it safe and appropriate. It is an exciting promotion for all female ballet dancers!
Level 5 (approximate age 12 and up, company level by discretion of the Artistic Director)
Level 5 trains 5x per week.
Classes include: Ballet, Pointe, Repertory, Conditioning, Contemporary, and Pas de Deux
Company level 6 is a rigorous training program in which students train intensely 5x week.
It is the tradition of San Jose Dance Theatre to train boys for free, provided they attend classes regularly and perform in our performances. It is our goal to also return to a once a week a Men’s Class. Basic training is the same for beginning male and female students, but as students progress technically, there are differences between male and female dancing. At San Jose Dance Theatre, our Men’s Class is specially designed for the technical skills needed for male ballet dancer; strength, flexibility, turns, jumps, acting/pantomime on the stage, basic partnering of the female dancer. A minimum of three boys is required to run this class.
Approximate Age 11-19
Fast Track is designed for dancers who wish to catch up to their age group in ballet and possibly perform for San Jose Dance Theatre. Private or small group private lessons would be scheduled to quickly and safely improve the dancer’s technique, knowledge of ballet terms, as well as making the dancer feel more comfortable with the expectations at auditions, the classroom, rehearsals and performance. The Artistic Director will monitor the progress of the Fast Track student and then assist the student in joining the correct level in the San Jose Dance Theatre Youth Program.