Greenwich Ballet Academy
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION/ NON-DISCRIMINATION
The Greenwich Ballet Academy (GBA) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. GBA admits students of any race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, and does not discriminate on the basis of such in administering its policies and educational programs.
The Greenwich Ballet Academy is a ballet school that nurtures talented young students toward careers in professional ballet, if they so choose. The Academy takes great care in directing each of its students on an individual path toward achieving excellence. Small classes, taught by renowned professionals using a progressive interpretation of the Vaganova system as taught by the Vaganova and the Bolshoi Academies, ensure that each student is given the personal attention and instruction needed to reach her/his ultimate potential. Our goal is to make classical ballet and contemporary dance accessible to any talented child with a dream of being a professional dancer, and to give each student an opportunity to acquire the needed skills and stage experience crucial to her/his future in dance.
CLASS ATTENDANCE POLICY
To reach full potential in ballet, a student must attend class on a consistent basis. We expect regular attendance from all our students. GBA’s class schedule is demanding, but this amount of training per week is typical for academies that seek to provide rigorous instruction and thorough preparation for professional careers in dance. GBA’s intent is to offer the highest possible level of classical ballet training to all its students.
Students who do not attend class regularly may find that they are inadequately prepared to participate in performances and/or may not be ready for promotion to the next level because they have not kept pace with the requirements of the program. Poor class attendance (missing more than three (3) days per month in Levels 2-8; more than two (2) days per month in Pre-Academy and Level 1) may result in a student not being able to participate in the performances and/or negatively impact the student’s promotion to the next level, at the sole discretion of the Artistic Director.
We hope that students will do their best to attend all classes. We understand, however, that some absences will be unavoidable. If a student must miss class (for any reason) please notify the Program Coordinator via email. The Program Coordinator will notify the faculty of any absences.
Students must attend all the production week rehearsals and dress rehearsals in order to participate in performances.
Please make sure your dancer arrives early, leaving them plenty of time to dress and stretch before class begins.
GAC: The student must ask the teacher for permission to enter the studio.
Port Chester Studios: Parents should notify the Program Coordinator by email or phone (no voice messages please), that the student will be late. The dancer must wait until the end of a combination and ask the teacher for permission to enter the studio.
Each level has a specified uniform which is mandatory – uniform requirements are strictly enforced. Please see the uniform requirements online at Required Dance Attire. Many of our uniform items can be purchased at Beam and Barre.
GBA warm-ups or plain black close-fitting jazz pants or sweaters/jackets of a similar style are the only warm-up clothing permitted, in the teacher’s sole discretion, and only for the first few minutes of class.
Hair is to be worn in a neat bun for all ballet classes including Character and Contemporary. No jewelry is permitted in class, and nail polish is not allowed.
Please put your name on all articles of clothing and shoes. GBA is not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
All dancers should be on time for all classes. Students should plan to arrive so they are dressed and have ample time to stretch before classes begin. Dancers must be respectful of their classmates and their instructors. Teachers reserve the right to dismiss a student from class for continued disruptive or disrespectful behavior. If any problems persist, the student may be removed from class and a parent/instructor conference will be scheduled.
All dancers are expected to follow these guidelines:
- Do not bring gum, food, or drinks (except water) into the studios
- Dispose of any trash that may be left behind (food, food or beverage receptacles, band aids, toe tape, etc.)
- No food should be stored in lockers or cubbies
- Remain quiet in the waiting room until your class begins. Do not roughhouse or do gymnastics in the waiting rooms or the hallways of the studio
- Be respectful of yourself, your classmates, and your instructors. Negative and disrespectful comments made to other classmates, instructors, staff or volunteers will not be tolerated
- No cell phones are permitted in the studios – leave cell phones in the dressing room turned off
- There should be no talking during classes or rehearsals, unless you have a question, in which case you should raise your hand and wait for the teacher to call on you
- Do not sit down during class or rehearsal unless authorized by your instructor; if you are not dancing during a sequence, you should be watching the other students and/or marking the steps so that you will be prepared to dance when your turn comes
- Tell your instructor before class or rehearsal if you are ill or have an injury
- Students may not enter another level class when in session unless specifically called upon to do so by the teacher
- Stretching before class must be done outside of studios
General Discipline and Related
From time to time serious discipline issues may arise in dancer and/or parent behavior. In such cases the Program Coordinator, Artistic Director and/or Chairman will discuss the issues with the student and/or parents. If the issue recurs, it may result in further disciplinary action, which may include a formal warning or dismissal.
- Food and drink (except water) are not permitted in the studios. Food should not be stored in cubbies or lockers and should not be left behind in the dressing room.
- Pointe shoe bags should be stored neatly against the wall near the door of the studio. They should not be stored in front of the mirrors or under the barres. Warm up clothing should not be hung on the barres or left on the floor. Place your warm up clothing neatly near the pointe shoe bag area near the door.
- Absolutely NO street shoes are permitted on the dance floors. Dirt, dust and debris from street shoes are a hazard to the special dance floors and may lead to falls and injuries and will destroy our state-of-the-art floors.
- Students are not to lean on or touch studio mirrors.
- The dance barres are for educational purposes only. Students are not to hang or swing from barres; nor should clothes or towels be hung from the barres.
- All teaching tools, props, visual aids, and sound equipment are the property of GBA and should not be used without permission of the instructor.
- The Costume Room is for the Costume Mistress and Staff only.
The waiting areas at the Port Chester Studios and the Greenwich Arts Council (GAC) are for the convenience of our students and parents/guardians. An adult must supervise all children at all times.
- Running, gymnastics and misbehavior in the hallways is not allowed.
- Please be respectful of others and the classes in session. Quiet conversation is welcome, but hallway chatter (especially at the GAC) must be kept to a minimum.
- Waiting areas should be kept clean and orderly. Trash should be placed in proper receptacles. All waiting room accessories (chairs, books, magazines, etc.) should be returned to their proper places after use.
- Personal belongings should be neatly stored in a cubby or against the wall.
- GAC – Teach your child to place their shoes neatly against the wall next to their bag and fold their warm ups and coat and place on top of their bag. Clothing and bags should not be left on the benches. They should be stored neatly under the benches or against the wall to reserve room for seating.
- Port Chester Studios – All bags, coats and shoes should be stored in the lockers, or hung on hooks on the wall. Please be respectful of others by keeping your personal belongings neat and out of the way of others.
- GBA is not responsible for items that are lost or stolen.
If your dancer brings a snack to the Port Chester Studios, please refrain from sending anything containing nuts. GBA has several students with extremely severe peanut and tree nut allergies.
Please note that food is not permitted in the GAC, and GBA will be fined if food and/or used food containers are found in the hallways or in the trash bins.
We ask parents to remind dancers, especially young dancers, to use the restroom prior to class time and to please wash their hands after using the restroom. If an emergency visit to the restroom is necessary during class time, dancers need only ask permission from their teacher.
GBA will try to schedule specific parent observation weeks. If needed and on specific cases, parents may request permission from the teacher to observe classes/rehearsals, with the exception of audition classes. Please turn off all cell phones and pagers while you are in the studio. Parents and visitors should refrain from opening a closed studio door to observe class and should never enter a studio to observe class without prior scheduled approval from the teacher.
Parent Pick-up/Drop Off
- Students under the age of 10 should not be dropped at the door to walk upstairs alone.
- Children under the age of 10 must be supervised until classes begin.
- Please pick up your child from the studio punctually at class dismissal. Students should not be left for long periods of time unsupervised in the hallways at the GAC. Teachers should not be asked to watch a child until the parent or sitter arrives.
Port Chester Studios:
- We encourage dancers to arrive early to stretch before class. Feel free to drop off your dancer 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to class to stretch.
- The studios close after the last class. Please be prompt when picking up your dancer.
- Dancers should wait inside the studios until an adult has arrived to pick them up.
Many of our teachers commute by train or long distances, and it is a hardship if they must stay after class ends to supervise students because of a parent’s tardiness. Parents should notify the Program Coordinator or teacher if their child will leave with another adult other than their sitter.
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
Do not take photos or video during classes except for parent observation week.
Do not post any photos or video that includes other students or teachers without their permission.
Be respectful of your teachers and peers in any texts, social media comments, or videos, that appear online. Online bullying, harassment, or defamatory statements will not be tolerated and are grounds for dismissal from GBA.
Costume/performance fees are due at the beginning of each semester. New tights are required for each costume and slippers must be in new or near new condition for the performances. Parents are responsible for providing new tights and any necessary shoes. Other costumes remain GBA property.
While in costume during dress rehearsals and performances, NO eating, drinking (except water), or sitting is permitted. Students are responsible for hanging/storing their costumes and all related accessories exactly as they found them after each use.
All students in each level learn and perform in class pieces. Height usually influences placement on stage, with taller students upstage of shorter ones—this is to increase visibility for all. Very often, the availability of costumes and their sizes is a limiting factor in casting.
Casting of principal and solo roles is at the sole discretion of the Artistic Director. A dancer’s strength and readiness for the role is the main consideration. Casting may change due to illness and injury, up until each performance. All students in a class may learn a variation as part of the normal program of instruction but will not necessarily perform it. Casting of levels in Nutcracker may vary year to year due to the available student mix.
Graduating seniors are coached for the June Gala in an appropriate solo variation determined by the Artistic Director.
YAGP participation is exclusively by invitation from the Artistic Director. Competition variations are chosen for participating students exclusively by the Artistic Director.
GAC: Classes at the GAC are cancelled on snow days if the Greenwich Public Schools are closed. On Saturdays, please look for notice on our website and/or an email from GBA.
Port Chester Studios: Dance classes will not necessarily be cancelled at the Port Chester studios due to weather and might meet on school snow days. Please look for notice on our website and/or an email from GBA.
At GBA, ballet instruction based on the Vaganova method emphasizes building strength within progressive training in technique. It is the primary reason we schedule more classes per level than most other schools. In this way, we believe the risk of injury is minimized. However, as with any sport, injuries can occur.
If your child is injured, the injury must be immediately brought to the teachers’, the Artistic Director’s and/or Program Coordinator’s attention, as appropriate. If you have consulted a doctor, a letter from the doctor will be required for the student to resume training. In some cases, building strength in lower level classes is necessary in the recovery process. This is very normal in ballet and should not be viewed negatively by the student or family. In other cases, a complete break from dancing results in the most rapid healing. Keeping an open line of communication between faculty and families is essential in minimizing the disruption of training.
GBA will do everything possible to help an injured student return to training. However, an injury can sometimes result in the inability of the student to perform or be promoted. At present, GBA is unable to offer refunds of tuition or fees in case of an injury.
Our student’s health is a priority. A student exhibiting eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia may need to leave the program if the disorder is not resolved within a reasonable timeframe as determined by the student’s physician.
Private Ballet Lessons
GBA takes great pride in training its students to the highest standards of instruction available. Additional private lesson instruction is optional and is not required in any way for a dancer who attends regularly scheduled ballet classes to meet the requirements of the program. Private lessons are required for dancers cast in certain leading roles for GBA’s performances and for any dancers selected for competition. In accordance with GBA’s Policy for attending Non-GBA Dance Programs, students registered in our regular school-year program may not take private ballet lessons with non-GBA teachers without the express written permission of the Artistic Director. Failure to obtain the Artistic Director’s prior permission to take private ballet lessons with non-GBA teachers may result in disciplinary action including dismissal from GBA.
Scheduling Private Lessons
Weekly private lesson spots will be scheduled through the GBA Office for the upcoming year after your registration and deposit for the fall semester is received. Scheduling priority will be given to students who register early and who have been invited by the Artistic Director to compete. One weekly lesson may be scheduled prior to the registration deadline and extra weekly lessons may be scheduled after we have found time slots for all interested students. Home schooled students will be scheduled in lesson spots prior to 3 pm. We will make every effort to accommodate requests, however, we have limited studio space and a large student body, so please be patient with this process. Please be advised that if you wait until after the registration deadline to schedule your private lessons, it is likely that you will have limited spaces to choose from.
Scheduling private lessons is a two-step process requiring you to not only confirm availability with the teacher with respect to your desired time slot but also your contacting the GBA Office to reserve the desired studio rental time. Even if a teacher confirms their availability for a private lesson it is still the parent’s responsibility to reserve the studio with the GBA Office. A private lesson reservation is not confirmed until you have completed both of these steps. Once your private lesson is scheduled and the studio rental time is confirmed, you will be able to view the private lesson in Dance Studio Pro (DSP) and in the GBA app. If you do not see your private lesson in DSP, it has not been properly scheduled through the GBA Office.
The GBA Office is happy to assist parents and faculty to coordinate their private lessons, but details and in-between conversations and changes should be handled directly with your teacher. Please do not include our administrative team on any text exchanges with the teacher. All communication with the administrative staff regarding private lessons should be via email (not text) so that GBA has a proper paper trail.
All studio time must be reserved by contacting the Program Coordinator. Please do not assume that the teachers know the studio schedules. Simply organizing a lesson with a teacher does not guarantee that studio space will be available. Your private lesson reservation is not complete until studio rental time has been confirmed and on DSP.
Arrive for private lessons on time and be ready at the scheduled private lesson time. If a dancer is going to be late or absent for any reason, please contact the teacher directly. Please do not leave messages regarding last minute private changes for your teacher on the GBA voicemail, or via email. It is likely that these messages will not reach your teacher prior to the lesson.
Private lesson fees; cancellation policy
Payment is due to your teacher for each private lesson, in advance, or at the time of the lesson. Your teacher will accept cash or a check at lesson time. If you have weekly lessons, you may find it easier to pay in advance for a month at a time. Forgetting to pay for a lesson is not respectful to your teacher.
Once a lesson is scheduled the dancer is financially responsible for that private lesson fee. There is a 24 hour cancelation policy. To cancel a private lesson, please contact BOTH the teacher and the GBA Office 24 hours in advance. If notification of cancellation is not received 24 hours in advance, you will be responsible for both the teacher fee and the studio rental fee. Notifications to the GBA Office should be via email.
Studio fees at the Port Chester Studios are $30 an hour for our registered students. To reserve a weekly lesson spot, you will be required to pay the half of the semester fees in advance for studio rental ($300). You will be invoiced via DSP. Your studio rental usage will be tracked and studio rental fees will only be charged for studio times that were actually used.
GBA participates in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competition and the CT Classic ballet competition. These competitions offer dance students the unique opportunity to be seen, taught and professionally guided by the directors and faculty of the world’s foremost companies and schools. It is appropriate for students who are seriously considering a career in dance. Training for competition is a serious financial and time commitment on the part of the dancer and the entire family and should not be undertaken without serious thought.
The Artistic Director will select students for competition training based on their professional potential, commitment to their training, work ethic and readiness to compete. Invitations to participate in competition for the upcoming school year will be sent out via email after the June Gala Performance.
To be eligible to compete a student must:
- Have maintained a minimum attendance of 90% in all regular GBA classes
- Make a year-long commitment to GBA, committing to pay spring tuition on time and in full by January 15
- Pay to GBA the YAGP shared expenses and fees which covers the travel, food and lodging of the Artistic Director and other teachers, teacher hourly rates for training and supervision during the competition, as well as the music preparation fees
- Train at least 6 weeks in the summer prior to competing, 3 weeks of which must be at GBA
We maintain a zero tolerance policy toward any substance, legal or illegal, which could endanger our students and faculty, including cigarettes, drugs and alcohol and use of such will result in immediate expulsion from GBA.
A successful relationship between faculty and students is based upon mutual trust, honesty, respect and an ongoing dialogue. GBA strives to maintain open communication with our parents regarding their dancer’s progress and GBA’s policies, procedures and programs. Parent meetings are held throughout the school year to share information, solicit input, and discuss volunteer opportunities.
GBA faculty is available to meet with students and their parents to discuss matters of mutual interests. We encourage anyone interested in scheduling an appointment with a GBA faculty member to contact the Program Coordinator.
We reserve the right to require the withdrawal of any student, for any reason.
Should a student wish to voluntarily withdraw from GBA, a written notice is required from the parent(s)/guardian. GBA policy is that tuition and fees are not reimbursed after the start of the first class in each semester.
GBA policy is that tuition and fees are non-refundable, and will not reimbursed for any reason.
PARENT CODE OF CONDUCT
- Please bring your dancer to all classes and rehearsals on time and in uniform.
- Help your dancer to be successful in GBA’s program by making sure they understand the expectations in the Student Handbook.
- Please observe good sportsmanship and teach your dancer how to approach ballet with a spirit of cooperation and support.
- Your dancer will progress in her/his own way and time. Everyone has his/her unique strengths and weaknesses. Please be patient and enjoy watching the journey. GBA’s faculty has nothing but the best interest and advancement of your child in mind.
- Accept casting and level placement graciously. GBA’s faculty has years of experience and know your dancers well. If you have a question about placement or casting please ask only about your dancer and what requirements there are for her/his class or role, and refrain from comparing your dancer to another. It is unethical for the teachers to discuss other dancers with you.
- If you have any questions or concerns, or if your dancer is having difficulties, please let us know.
- Please help cultivate respect for our teachers by speaking of them respectfully in all of your communication with your dancer.
- If you need to talk to a teacher about a concern, please schedule an appointment with the Program Coordinator. Arrangements will be made to speak to or meet with you at a convenient time. The beginning or end of your dancer’s class is not an appropriate time to talk at length to the teacher.
- Register, pay tuition and all fees on time. It is very difficult for GBA to plan ahead without knowledge of enrollment by level.
GBA is a volunteer-run organization. We encourage and welcome the involvement of all parents as volunteers. If you have an interest in a particular area, such as costume committee, YAGP logistics coordinator, or becoming a class parent, please make it known to the Program Coordinator.
GBA is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is dependent on the generosity of its families and supporters in the community.
Student Code of Conduct
- Adhere to the etiquette requirements specified in the Student Handbook while in the studios, waiting room. dressing room, and performance venues.
- Show your respect to your teachers and students by arriving on time to class, in proper uniform with neat hair.
- Observe good sportsmanship by accepting placement and casting graciously, not speaking ill of others and work with the other students in your class in a spirit of cooperation.
- Progress in ballet is very individual. Please do not judge others, or compare yourself to others. Everyone has his or her unique strengths and weaknesses. There will be times in your ballet career when you are a leader in your class, and other times when you will be challenged in your level. This is a normal part of the process and important lessons can be learned from both experiences.
- Regular attendance to class is imperative to your progress and shows respect to your teachers and fellow students. Please do the best you can to attend all classes and rehearsals.
- Our teachers want the best for you. They will be honest with you, and will often make necessary corrections. Look at their corrections and feedback as a sign of their investment in you. Respect their opinions and their many years of education and experience.
- Abide by our social medial policy by not taking photos or videos in class, not posting any photos or video that includes other students or teachers without their permission, and being respectful to your teachers and peers in all social media comments.
- Being healthy is crucial to dance. Educate yourself about the nutrition your body needs to grow and be strong. Learn how to prevent injuries and take care of your body before and after class.
- No one should ever feel unsupported by his or her peers or faculty. If you have concerns of any kind, please share them with the Program Coordinator.