What to Expect

We're new, or considering enrolling at IBA... Where do we start?

  • Take a Trial Class

    • IBA has open enrollment throughout the year, so if you're considering our academy, the best thing is to call the office and find out the best class ​for your student to take as a (free) trial class.  Our staff will ask a few questions about prior training (if any), age, etc. and recommend the appropriate level and class for your student to try.  

    • Trial classes are just that - an opportunity for ​the student to become familiar with our studio, class structure, meet peer students, and feel comfortable in a non-threatening environment.  

  • Teacher Assessment​

    • Trial classes are also the best way for our teachers to assess the student among their peers and make the best recommendation for their placement and growth based on our academy structure and expectations.  

    • Most of the time, students will be taking a trial class in the appropriate level, or perhaps a level below their ability - our instructors will be able to provide the best recommendation based on their performance in the class and will inform office staff or you as the parent after class.

  • Registration

    • Once the appropriate level for your student has been determined, you can register in person at our office or online through our parent portal.  We have an annual registration fee of $50, but be sure to take advantage of discounted registration ($35) at the end of the school year during the End of Year Demonstration and the month of June.​  (Discounts for multiple children also apply)

 

CLASS STRUCTURE & EXPECTATIONS

  • IBA bases its curriculum on the Vaganova (Russian) method of classical ballet, with adaptations for young students.  

  • Whether students are taking ballet as a recreational activity or will eventually pursue pre-professional training, classes are open to everyone, provided they have been appropriately placed in a level that matches ability and maturity.  

  • Students in the Lower Division follow a curriculum that includes mat-based conditioning exercises to develop coordination, musicality, strength, and a familiarity of structure for growth and retainment.  ​

  • Students in the Upper Division will begin to train under multiple instructors, each with their own personal teaching style and professional insight and perspective.  Student growth and maturity is developed and diversified through this approach, while still keeping to a strong technical foundation.  Upper Division students are expected to supplement their ballet technique with additional styles such as contemporary, as well as take advantage of pointe and variations to strengthen and improve. 

 

IBA STUDIO CULTURE

  • Family Friendly Environment​

    • At IBA, we consider everyone a part of our studio family, and take care to demonstrate a strong sense of community among dancers and their families.

    • We place high value on respect, self-discipline, personal responsibility, and peer support, and welcome honest and open communication.

    • We understand that each dancer and family is unique, and want to do the best that we can to support all of our students. If you or your student has an issue, we ask that you call or e-mail an appropriate staff member or our School Director to voice concerns or questions.  

    • We are happy to speak with you!  However, trying to catch us right before or after your student's class without notice is often not the best way for us to give you the time and attention that is necessary.  The best way to ensure that you will have our undivided attention is to call or e-mail and request a time to meet.  Additionally, our College & Career Guidance program director, Emily Paluszak, is happy to answer generic questions about the dance world if you are new to ballet or want to learn more about growth opportunities.

  • High Standards

    • ​Regardless of future goals, all students are held to the same high standard and encouraged to pursue their own personal best.  We believe this allows them to build strong personal responsibility and self-discipline, which takes them very far no matter what they choose to pursue beyond their time at IBA.

    • For those students who are considering professional or college-level performing opportunities, our dedicated faculty, pre-professional performing opportunities, and (when appropriate) classical ballet competition coaching have been recognized regionally and internationally as excellent training and preparation for future careers.

  • Well-Rounded Students

    • At IBA, students are encouraged to pursue excellence both in and out of the studio, and we love celebrating the successes and pursuits of our students.  Academics and Volunteerism are highly respected, and our College & Career Guidance program supports students who wish to join our NHSDA chapter (including a Junior chapter) to recognize their artistic and academic involvement.

  • Student Spotlight

    • Each month, the Career & College Guidance program recognizes a special student as representative of the positive culture of IBA.  The Student Spotlight dancer's photo is displayed in the studio lobby and interviewed on our blog to provide encouragement for their example as a great role model.  Read more about Student Spotlight here.

 

LEVELS & PROGRESSION

  • Progression at IBA is based on ability and maturity in addition to age.  Students can expect to spend 2-3 years in each level before progressing to the next level. 

  • Levels are color-coded at IBA (see below).  Female students must wear a solid-colored leotard (any style, as long as there are no attached skirts) in the appropriate color, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, and hair secured neatly in a bun.  Male students must wear black tights or athletic pants, white t-shirt, white or black socks, and white or black ballet shoes.

  • Training at IBA is split between 5 general levels, and includes supplemental classes depending on the age and abilities of the students.​​

    • Lower Division​

      • Pre-Ballet (Light Pink)​: Students may begin ballet at this level, as long as they are age 3 and up. Students take once a week, and focus on learning musicality, coordination, class structure, basic positions, and ​​movements.

      • Ballet 1 (Light Blue): Students often progress to Ballet 1 after demonstrating proficiency and maturity in Pre-Ballet, often around the age of 7 and up.  Students take once a week.  Ballet 1 students are eligible for Beginning Jazz and Studio Performance Group.

      • Ballet 2 (Lavender/Orchid): Students progress to Ballet 2 when they demonstrate they can handle more challenging technical elements, an understanding of class structure, maturity, and coordination, often around age 9 and up.  Students take twice a week.  Ballet 2 students are eligible for Beginning Jazz and Studio Performance Group.

    • Upper Division

      • Ballet 3A (Royal Blue)​: Students at this level must demonstrate sufficient technical readiness, maturity, and strength to begin or continue pointe-work (or pre-pointe in some cases). Ballet 3A students commit to taking 2 times a week, but are encouraged to take 3 times a week for best improvement.  Ballet 3A students are eligible for Studio Performance Group.

      • Ballet 3B (Royal Blue): Students at this level have demonstrated strength and sufficient improvement, particularly in their pointe-work to progress to more challenging technical elements.  Ballet 3B students must take 2 times a week, and are encouraged to take 3 times a week.  Ballet 3B students are eligible for Pointe 3, Variations 3, Contemporary 3, and Studio Performance Group.

      • Ballet 4A (Garnet): Students at this level are considered Intermediate-Advanced and take 3 times a week or more.  Ballet 4A students are eligible for Pointe 4, Variations 4, and Contemporary 4.

      • Ballet 4B (Garnet): Students at this level are considered Intermediate-Advanced and take 3 times a week or more.  Ballet 4B students are eligible for Pointe 4, Variations 4, and Contemporary 4.

      • Ballet 5 (Black/Solid Color): Students at this level are considered Advanced and take 4 times a week or more.  Ballet 5 students are eligible for Pointe 5, Variations 5, and Contemporary 5.

 

POINTEWORK

  • Beginning pointe-work is a very individual progression based on many factors, including: ankle strength, growth/development, proper/appropriate technical skill, dancer maturity, and age.

  • IBA Instructors and School Director strongly believe in students progressing to pointe-work only when they are ready, and not based solely on age, peer progression, or time spent in a particular level.

  • Students in Ballet 2 and above will be assessed by their instructors for readiness to begin pointe-work, usually receiving word in January/February each year.  ​

  • Students who will be invited to progress to Ballet 3A in the upcoming academic year will be invited to audition for the IBA Summer Intensive, which is the recommended entry experience for beginning pointe students.  Some (older) students may receive approval to begin in the middle of the year, and will be given specific guidance by the inviting instructor in this case.

  • ​Once recommended to begin pointe-work, students will visit the Sock Basket for a pointe-shoe fitting, and must show pointe shoes to an appropriate IBA instructor for fit approval before sewing or keeping their shoes.​

 

OBSERVATION WEEK

  • IBA classes operate with a "closed door" policy, but this shouldn't seem alarming.  We believe that our students (especially young ones) are able to be less distracted and focus on the learning process, rather than feeling like they are "on display" or needing to perform as they learn new material, learn to work with their peers, and begin to follow the guidance of their instructors.

  • Family and friends are invited to watch classes twice each year - once in the Fall semester and once in the Spring semester.  This provides an opportunity for parents (and grandparents!) to see progress throughout the year, with students demonstrating what they have learned as well as what is still in progress.  Pictures are welcome during Observation Week and we love to hear your feedback and shared photos!

 

PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES

  • End of Year Demonstration

    • All students of IBA are eligible and encouraged to perform in the End of Year Demonstration.  Instructors for each class/level will choreograph a dance specific to your student's class, and it will be performed in this final concert at the end of the year.  

    • As the name implies, this is meant to showcase the skills that your student has learned that year, and will be less focused on elaborate costuming or fitting a "theme" than to serve as a demonstration of the abilities and progress of the students in the class.

    • Families can expect simple costuming ($55 performance fee includes rental of a skirt/headpiece worn with your student's class-color leotard), age-appropriate choreography, and a short (approximately 1 hour) concert consisting of all levels of the academy to demonstrate the scope and artistic standards of the academy, including a special performance by our Special Needs adult dance class each year.

    • Currently, IBA's End of Year Demonstration takes place at the Peace Center Gunter Theatre in downtown Greenville, and usually takes place the last Saturday in May, with a mandatory Dress Rehearsal the day before.  Students must commit to the performance by February in order to be included in the class dance.  

    • Performance fee is $55 per student and includes: costume/headpiece rental, performance DVD, and 2 tickets to the performance.  (Families are welcome to opt out of the DVD and subtract $20, especially if they have multiple students enrolled)

    • Ticketing is handled through the office and each family receives 2 tickets per student enrolled in the production as a part of their performance fee.  Additional tickets will be available for $10 each and must be reserved through the office beginning May 1.

  • Studio Performance Group (SPG)

    • SPG is a great way for students to develop performance ​skills and work together with peers form different levels.  This is a non-audition based class, where everyone enrolled is guaranteed a role (or multiple) each semester.

    • SPG is divided by semester, presenting a 30-40 minute mini-ballet for an in-studio performance in December and May of each year.  Students can enroll in Fall, Spring, or both.  Performances are in costume and use minimal sets/props.

    • Students learn the story, music, and choreography based on classical ballets.  Past performances have included: Swan Lake, Coppelia, Giselle, Cinderella, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, and Snow White.

  • International Ballet's "The Nutcracker" (Audition required)

    • Students ages 8 and up are eligible to audition for International Ballet's professional production of "The Nutcracker", performed each year at the Peace Center Concert Hall with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.​

    • Performing in "The Nutcracker" is a serious commitment of time as well as a minimum requirement of volunteer hours from a parent.  Approved absences are limited and may result in casting changes if necessary.  Rehearsals take place on Saturday afternoons from September to December.

    • Casting for this production is based on many factors, including ability, costume requirements, overall height requirements, and technical proficiency.  Dancers are sometimes cast in understudy roles, which should be taken seriously, as casting is always subject to change.

    • Find out more about International Ballet's "The Nutcracker" here.

  • International Ballet Pre-Professional Company (Audition required)

    • Students in Ballet 3 and up, who have had at least 2 years of pointe (or have been personally invited by IB Directors) are eligible to audition for International Ballet's Pre-Professional Company.  Open auditions usually take place on a Saturday, mid-June during ​IBA's Summer Intensive.

    • Acceptance into the company is selective, and all who audition will receive constructive feedback if they are not accepted.  Those who are selected will be held to a very high standard of time commitment, personal responsibility, and technical progress.

    • Dancers may be invited to three different levels of the company:

      • Senior Company - Senior members are guaranteed roles in each of International Ballet's mainstage performances and must meet specific training requirements (amount of classes per week, as well as pointe, variations, and contemporary).  Seniors sometimes perform roles in International Ballet's Storytime Ballet series presented at the Greenville County Library.

      • Junior Company - Junior members are guaranteed a role in The Nutcracker and usually perform in all of International Ballet's mainstage performances. Juniors meet specific training requirements (amount of classes per week, as well as pointe, variations, and contemporary).  Juniors often perform in International Ballet's Storytime Ballet series presented at the Greenville County Library 4 times each season.

      • Trainees - Trainees are invited as a first step into the company environment.  They are guaranteed a role in The Nutcracker, but often assigned as understudies in the more challenging roles of International Ballet's mainstage performances.  Trainees often hone their performance and rehearsal skills by performing in International Ballet's Storytime Ballet series presented at the Greenville County Library 4 times each season.

    • Company members are invited to take part in (optional) Mid-Year Evaluations with company directors (and one parent) each January.  Trainees are required to attend an evaluation to discuss and maintain a healthy understanding of their progress and appropriate future expectations.

    • Get to know our current company members here.

    • Learn more about International Ballet here.