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.
Read more about our Youth Class See Dress and Behavioral Codes.
List of Dance Classes
Tumbling Tots is a 45 minute class designed for 3-5 year olds.
It is an introduction to movement that forms the basis for later study in dance, gymnastics, or any sport. The class is designed to give each child physical confidence, to learn to follow movement instructions, and to increase their balance and coordination. I work individually with each child, and tailor the work to each child’s ability. There is no pressure for any child to perform or compete; each child progresses at their own pace, achieving their own milestones.
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 trains dancers in these fundamentals from the beginning to the advanced levels and reinforces good technique as the dancers grow technically and artistically.
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.
Select students will also be given the opportunity for extra training for the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP).
Levels 4, 5, and 6 receive weekly Pointe classes.
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.
Pas de Deux
Weekly Pas de Deux classes are offered year round to level 6 students.
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.
Chinese Tumbling is offered during regular season to all levels of dancers
A combination of acrobatics and floor gymnastics for dancers. Class focuses on basic tumbling inverted skills, core strength, flexibility, control and balance. Students are teached by a former professional chinese dancer. Chinese tumbling offers many advantages, including greater versatility and skill.
Progressing Ballet Technique
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Progressing Ballet Technique, or PBT Class, is a revolutionary program designed to enhance ballet technique by specializing in muscle memory, enhancing flexibility, and using dance medicine and exercises to prevent injury.
This class is taught to our upper level dancers to encourage familiarity with other dance forms, and a breadth of exposure to non-balletic technique.
Nowadays, ballet companies require a dancer to be versatile in styles ranging from classical and modern ballet to modern dance. This class prepares dancers not only for greater depth, expressivity and confidence in their performance, but also familiarizes them with the techniques they will experience in most college dance programs.
SJDT is lucky to have technique-driven modern dance: Cunningham-based technique for Level 4 and Graham-based technique for Level 5. This gives students a deep understanding of modern dance techniques, including use of the back to initiate motion, the center of gravity in fall and recovery, unconventional music genres, exploration of dynamics, and use of visualization and imagery to motivate expressivity.
Of all the modern dance choreographers, Paul Taylor is the one whose dances appear most frequently in the repertory of national and regional dance companies. I worked closely with Taylor for several years as his dance notator, and have a deep understanding of his style. Having also taught at several New York area colleges, I bring a deep understanding of dance history and culture to the students. I provide a link to the highest pedigree of modern dance in New York and London, having experience working at the Juilliard and Alvin Ailey schools, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and other world-class institutions.
Lately, I’ve been addressing the self-critical nature of dancers, who are intensely body-focused. Dance is an art form where it is hard to hide, and a student brings their whole self to the class. Dancers frequently fall into habits of self-blame and shame, and for many teenagers this creates a great deal of stress. SJDT works hard to address this by being family-friendly and respectful to all students. I bring an awareness of these issues into my class and remind dancers to find the positive in themselves, in how they move, in their dedication and perseverance. I aim to help them accept themselves as they are, in order to give them more space to explore creatively what they are able to bring to their movement. I also attempt to be inclusive so that students are able to support one another and avoid competitiveness among them, which is rife in other schools. By working as a unit, we create a community of students who are content to spend many hours each week practicing what they love.
This class is fun to teach and allows me to build a rapport with the dancers. They learn that ballet is not the only technique, and they love the ability to stretch their experience and do things (such as rolling on the floor) that would never be sanctioned in a ballet class!
Master Classes and Educational Lectures Open to our students and the public.
Periodic high-level 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. There will be an extra fee of $35 for non-SJDT students, $30 for SJDT students, and a $5 observation fee.