Frequently Asked Questions
What's NEW for the 2023-24 School Year?
- We are welcoming TWO new teachers! More info, and their pictures and bios will be upated soon here.
- Pointe Class for Foundations I and II! Once a week dancers will receive instruction specific to their work en pointe for 30 minutes after their 1.5 hr technique class.
- Repertoire/Rehearsal time added to all our Foundations classes. This means we can use all of class time to ensure dancers are building their technique AND increase the quality of their performance experience with focused rehearsals to prepare them for their performance roles!
- We are lengthening our Semesters. Thank you for your feedback on our end-of-year questionnaire. More closely following school-year start and stop dates will not only help our program to remain financially more secure, AND will be less downtime for dancers to digress, but it also seems it will simplify schedules for families, and so this change will be a win for everyone!
- New Private Lesson Policy. Ballet Aligned instructors ARE the best Cache Valley has to offer! And with the addition of our "Once Upon a Storytime" Performance Series, we believe our dancers are receiving every necessary tool to achieve their dance goals. Contrary to unique, local dance culture, serial private lessons are NOT the best way to build better ballet dancers, and CAN be a net negative by 1) removing dancers from an environment where they can learn from, be challenged by, and set examples for peers, 2) diminishing the dancer's capacity to build muscle memory as he/she navigates conflicting messages from too many teachers, and 3) disincentivising schools to build robust programs that meet all the dancers' needs and employ the most qualified teachers. Beginning in the coming school year, Ballet Aligned teachers will only offer private lessons to Ballet Aligned students (full or partially enrolled) who are NOT enrolled in other ballet schools.
- New Software! As our program has grown, we need to simplify billing, scheduling, communication, invoicing, payroll, and so much more. Thank you for your patience as we learn the ropes of a new system and work out any kinks there.
- Decreased Performance Participation fees - $25/show! We are hoping the Night Before Christmas can become a local tradition performed every year! Additionally, we anticipate repeating Hansel and Gretel the coming spring, which means we can add to and beautify these productions as the budget allows and don't need to BUILD them. (A more costly endeavor.) To keep fees low, the video pre-purchase is expected to be separate and the production cost (around $600) can be shared among those who wish to have a digital copy of their performance to share with family and chronicle their dancer's progress. Additionally, we will aim to keep performance leo requirements stable, so you may already have (and use!) the leo you need, OR you may buy/sell from other students as the need arises.
- The Spring Productions will be by Invite Only. More details on that will be announced as the year progresses.
- Rates for classes ARE increasing. (We will keep former pricing for repertoire/rehearsal class segments for our Foundations levels.) As you know, the cost of everything has gone up, and our class costs need to rise to keep up. However, our aim is not be become a financial strain on families. We hope diminishing performance fees, and changing registration fee structures (see below) will help! Classes will still be purchased in months, session, or semesters, but will roughly cost as follows: $7 for 30 min classes; $10 for 45 min classes; $12 for 1 hr classes; $15 for 1.25 hr classes; $17 for 1.5 hr classes; and $22 for 2 hr classes.
- Registration fee of $30 can be applied to a full-year registration! Activities and communication surrounding getting your dancer integrated into our classes requires a lot of time, and I'm looking forward to out-sourcing this responsibility. However, families that are able to make a full-year commitment will not be charged a registration fee for their second semester. We hope to add payment options to break down money due into smaller chunks. Details will be added to the registration process as we integrate our new software.
- A strengthened partnership with Utah Festival Opera and the Utah Festival Conservatory. We have been pleased and delighted with our partnership and hope to use it to make our dancers better actors and performers, and their participants better dancers! Look for mutual discounts to one another's programming in the coming months, and potentially a shared workshop that should help develop our dancers into compelling, story-telling performers!
- More class options for our Mini Sessions, and Beginning and Basics I levels. As we shuffle our schedule, we are continually striving to offer classes when it is most convenient for dancers and their families. We will ALSO try another round of Teen/Adult classes and be offering a Contemporary class as interest allows.
- Formation of a Ballet Aligned Parent Guild. We are excited to have our program expand and need to share the work required to continue bringing you amazing opportunities to train, perform, create community, and engage in this beautiful artform. If you would like to be a part of creating something wonderful with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We need you!
Why do you have classes for older/advanced students starting before school let's out?
There are 3 main reasons our Performance Classes start so early in the afternoons.
The first is due to the class size. There are far fewer dancers training at an advanced level than there are at beginning and intermediate levels. This means advanced classes are often operated at a loss after paying the teacher. Offering them later would diminish the number of classes we are able to offer whose enrollment offsets the cost of the advanced classes. It's not financially feasible to offer these classes where classes with far more robust enrollment could take place.
Second, beginning classes earlier ensures we are able to work with these older dancers for a longer stretch, honing and refining their performance and technical capacities before their evening obligations, additional training programs, and homework dominates their schedules.
And third, in Junior High and High School, schedules can often be re-arranged to allow students to miss their physical ed requirements when placed at the end of the day. Not only is ballet a fantastic substitute, but dancers training at advanced levels often need to be more intentional and selective about their physical activities than is allowed by general curriculums for these classes. Replacing Phys Ed with ballet prevents sports and overuse injuries from occurring in dancers and/or ensures dance injuries can be properly and quickly recovered from.
If my child is outside of the recommended age range for a particular class, can he or she still participate?
Students who exceed the age range may participate as long as the parent acknowledges class content and pacing will not change significantly to accommodate more advanced levels of dance or comprehension. If the dancer turns the age minimum before half of the classes are over in each semester, he or she may participate without special permission. If you feel your dancer's experience or maturity level merit an exception, please email BalletAligned@gmail.com for approval. If not, please subscribe to BalletAligned.com to hear about classes opening for younger students.
My dancer's age aligns with multiple classes; which one should I register for?
Within the description for each class there is an indication of the experience level the dancer should have when registering. Base registration on the dancers age AND prior training. The only exception might be if the dancer is in the upper limits of the age range. If the class is not a good fit for your dancer, the teacher may recommend another class, or if one is not offered, refund your unused tuition. (As a rule of thumb, it is more ideal to move a dancer UP a level than down.)
Can parents stay and watch?
Ballet Aligned's Semester-long classes are targeted primarily to children in first grade and beyond. Classes for younger dancers are provided and can be taken 4 weeks at a time, so if your dancer is not ready to be autonomous, you can re-register him or her later in the same year when he or she is. Aside from the Mommy and Me Movement and Story Time class, it is expected that ALL students will be able to participate without present parental support. The small studio where most classes for younger dancers are held has a foyer with windows from which you can check in on your dancer from time to time. Each class WILL provide a parent watch week opportunity for students to showcase their progress. If your child needs more support, please email BalletAligned@gmail.com to work on a solution. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. (Parents are required to remain with their dancers for "Mommy and Me Movement and Storytime.")
Are there refunds offered? Can classes be pro-rated if we know there is one in the session my dancer will miss?
Classes will not be prorated for any reason. If you need to miss a class, please ask the teacher for instruction about the concepts covered in the class not attended or make-up options. Ballet Aligned WILL offer refunds if Ballet Aligned must cancel a class and is unable to offer a make-up. Refunds (full and partial) are NOT offered for Mini Sessions or Mommy and Me Movement and Story Time classes, as they represent brief 4 week commitments. If you are uncertain about the fit of a class for your child, please request a free trial class if you have missed the "Free Fall" Ballet Classes at the beginning of the year. After trying a class, you may request a partial refund (but Ballet Aligned does not guarantee one) or apply your unused tuition to another class.
What should my dancer wear?
- Class-specific dress codes that become part of the dancer's performance costume will be emailed to you after the first few weeks of class. These must be obtained in order to perform.
- Non-Performance dress code: dance attire (pink tights and black leotards without skirts for girls, shorts above the knees and white t-shirts for boys) helps dancers move, is non-restrictive, and ballet shoes are best suited for studio floors (not too slippery, while still allowing dancers to spin and turn). You may purchase our dress code here. First time buyers get a discount, and every dollar spent in our studio store offsets costume costs! (Mini Session Classes and Ballet Beginnings has no specific dress code, though dance attire as described and linked to above is encouraged. For Basics classes and beyond, the dance attire described above is required, and may be purchased locally or at the link above.)
- Additionally, long hair should be secured in pony tail for boys or a neat bun for girls - see tutorial here: Ballet Bun Tutorial - YouTube.
- Skirts should NOT be worn beginning in Ballet Basics II and are discouraged at all times because they inhibit the teacher from correcting proper pelvis and core placement.
- Teen/Adult and Modern classes encourage appropriate footwear (socks, ballet slippers, or jazz shoes) and clothing that allows for movement.
What peformance opportunities are offered through Ballet Aligned?
Ballet is a peformance art, and performing is skill crucial to the full expression of the artform. For that reason, we are pleased to provide a number of performance opportunities:
1) Ballet Aligned will be partnering with a number of non-profit humanitarian causes in the valley to create orignial ballets as benefits to these causes. Ballet Aligned students will receive parts in these performances as they commit to class attendance, rehearsals, and the performance dates. Dancers MAY opt out for any reason and will not be charged the costume and rehearsal fees if they select to not register for the performances. (Mommy and Me, Teen/Adult, and Modern/Contemporary classes do not perform.) There may be an optional, in-house recital at the end of the year for dancers who have not made a performance commitment.
2) Dancers in the Performance levels will learn classical choreography in small groups or as solo "variations" and will be encouraged to participate in the annual Youth American Grand Prix showcase in Salt Lake City (typically in Feb) where they will recieve feedback from famous current and former top professional dancers in the country. (More information on that below.)
3) Additionally, these pieces may be shared at Ballet Aligned events, story times, etc..
4) Because recital pieces and ballet roles are NOT a thorough representation of your dancer's individual growth IN CLASS (instead averaging what an entire class is able to master and memorize), Ballet Aligned offers opportunities for students in ALL levels to highlight their ALL their class work and progress with their parents during Parent Watch Classes.
What is YAGP and your policies regarding competitions?
YAGP, mentioned above under the question regarding performances, is the "Youth America Grand Prix" worldwide dance competition and the only competition Ballet Aligned students in the Performance levels are encouraged to participate in. While social media has led to a rise in dance competitions, which CAN provide benefits to the dancers, often participation is seen by schools as a markeing ploy to grow their business, and burned out or jaded dancers, exploited by the coach or the competition organization itself, can be the result. Because ballet is a classical art form, the primary way to succeed as a dancer is to participate in better, more elite, and more professional and challenging training, productions and roles; NOT to win awards or high scores at competitions. However, limited competition participation CAN give advancing dancers an opportunity to perform, AND take responsibility for the multiple facets of preparing a performance. They are also an opportunity to be seen by judges who are at the top of their fields, and who can give meaningful feedback on areas the dancer needs to improve. In other words, the process and the learning ARE the prize, not the placement or the score. (If your dancer has another competition he or she wishes to receive help from Ballet Aligned to prepare for, you may mention the details to your instructor, who will aprove supported participation based on whether or not the competition aligns with our goal to help you become a better ballet dancer and NOT based on its exposture potential for our school. Hint: if it's going to be an easy win for the dancer, it's not likely to be approved for Ballet Aligned coaching.)
Ballet Aligned has the following policies regarding partipation at YAGP (and all other potential competitions). In order to receive coaching from Ballet Aligned teachers:
1) Students may not register for more than 2 competition locations (and one is preferred).
2) Students MUST be fully registered for, and regularly attending all the classes for their respective Ballet Aligned levels.
3) Students may not represent other studios or teachers in their classical work, including additional variations.
4) Students must perform a variation chosen by the Ballet Aligned teacher or coach, with the student's input, and not the other way around.
As an additional note, Ballet Aligned recognizes that the talent of our dancers, and that they enjoy multiple opportunities to perform outside of Ballet Aligned programming. However, Ballet Aligned teachers will not rehearse or coach students in roles for other organizations. We hope our dancers' participation in all their chosen activities is a positive one and we endeavor to pursue policies that minimize conflict for the dancer and respective organizations.
How do I get answers to questions not answered here?
If you have a question not answered on this page, please email email@example.com and include your question in the subject line. Thanks!
How do I register for classes?
Registration links will be posted 2-4 weeks before each class begins. Registration is only complete when you have completed payment for the class. Registration closes when the class is full (number varies by class) or once the rehearsal for the performance is well underway - whichever comes first.