Classical Division

(c) Photo by Denis Gronostayskiy


Technique is based on the syllabus and training program of the Vaganova system taught at the Kirov and Bolshoi Academies of Russia.  Our method further incorporates elements of the French, Danish (Bournonville), American (Balanchine), and English (Royal Ballet) schools, in order to meet current demands for dancers trained to perform in an array of styles.  GBA’s unique system of teaching provides each dancer with the necessary tools to adapt to a variety of repertoire and styles.


When a female student demonstrates that she has successfully achieved overall body strength and mastered the classical technique at the minimum required level of “Class 3″ in the Academy’s preparatory school, she will be permitted to take on the increased physical demands of training “en pointe.”


Male technique is the synthesis of traditional classical technique with the addition of a special masculine bravado and athletic lexicon of movements that are usually attributed to leading male roles in the classical ballet repertoire. It requires a special syllabus; one more concentrated towards physical strength and the coordination needed to execute moves such as feats, leaps, or tricks, among others. Male dancer follow a different training path from female students due to the physical demands of the art form. Classes can start as early as class 5, or approximately at 10 years of age. The male technique taught at the Academy has been handed down from master to student through the legacies of teachers such as Alexander Pushkin, Assaf Messerer, and Vakhtang Chabukiani, which generated dancers like Vladimir Vasiliev, Rudolph Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.


Folk & Character Dance is a specific subdivision of classical dance based on national and folkloric traditions that have been stylized and included in classical ballets. The classical character repertoire includes national dances from Hungary (czardas), Poland (mazurka and polonaise), Russia (troika) and Spain (flamenco). Folk traditions have always been a part of ballet, but it was not until the legendary choreographer, Marius Petipa, and his assistant, Alexander Shirayev, that they became their own unique, codified art form as found in classical ballets such as the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.


When students enter pre-professional training in the upper school “Class 6,” they begin a three-year advanced program, which includes learning the art of “pas de deux.” The Academy’s pas de deux syllabus is based on teaching innovations by Igor Uksuznikov from the Kirov & Bolshoi Ballet, and Konstantin Damyanov of the Kirov Ballet & Royal Swedish Opera Ballet.


Repertoire is chosen from the full range of classical and contemporary choreographic works. Repertoire will be selected to best showcase the particular strengths and talents of our student body. Students are trained only by principal dancers and soloists who can draw upon their own performing experiences in the roles they are teaching.


Pilates for dancers is offered to improve flexibility, body control, coordination, and breathing.