The Commonwealth Society of Teachers & Dancing
The Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing (CSTD)
Pre Ballet (age 5) / Primary (age 6)
These courses are for beginning students of ballet and form an introduction to basic technique and to different rhythms in music, which will later develop into musicality and enjoyment in their dancing. They learn coordination of the various body parts and how to mime, which promotes self-expression and confidence.
Grade 1 (age 7) / Grade 2 (age 8) / Grade 3 (age 9)
Here the teaching of true ballet technique commences, along with increased emphasis on correct posture, placement and line. Flexibility and strength building are also necessary components. A variety of steps are introduced and students learn both the vocabulary and how to join these together in different ways, and importantly to show enjoyment in what they are doing. Elevation, presentation and dance quality are developed throughout.
Grade 4 (age 10) / Grade 5 (age 11) / Grade 6 (age 11)
Movements become increasingly complex and varied and students learn to develop quick responses through the use of unrehearsed work. Turning steps, beaten steps and demi-pointe exercises are practiced and developed, so greater strength and control is required. An increased sense of performance, awareness of space and dynamics and development of choreography are emphasised. National dance is introduced from Grade 5 and the choice of style is flexible. Grade 6 lays the foundation for Major work which follows.
Dorothy Gladstone Award
An optional public performance at a transitional level, for candidates who have passed Grade 5 or 6 but not Sub Elementary.
Sub Elementary (age 12)
Students need a sound knowledge of vocabulary and an understanding of technique in order to commence Major work. Unset work is increased. Strength, flexibility and stamina are further built up for the demands of Elementary work and beyond. Pointe work is introduced at this stage. The course is completed with a performance-length dance which requires a range of interpretation and expression.
Elementary (age 13)
Students by now will have increased awareness of the use of the body in both stationary and travelling movements. Balances are sustained, requiring core stability and technical accuracy. Use of phrasing, dynamics and response to music are key components. The ability to project to an audience should be demonstrated, especially in the performance dance. This examination is the qualifying stage for preparation of the Teachers’ Certificate.
Intermediate (age 14)
This is an important level as it prepares students for advanced performance study or teacher training in specialist institutions, colleges, universities etc and may constitute one of the admissions required.