The Academy, Montana Ballet Company’s official educational facility, provides the finest classical ballet instruction for students age 3 to pre-professional. With a humanistic approach, The Academy’s professional faculty introduces children and adults alike to the art, discipline, and beauty of classical ballet, enriching the minds and spirits of those who aspire to learn the art form and establish a profound and life-long relationship with dance.
Our preeminent training focuses on the attainment of technical ability and artistry, as well as teaching meaningful and important life skills.
We believe that dance is a holistic practice embodying not only classical ballet technique and discipline but also the many life lessons learned in the unique setting of the studio.
– Elizabeth DeFanti, MBC Artistic Director
Students from our Academy audition and are accepted to summer programs throughout the United States. Our students have attended American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet West, Harid Conservatory, and other prestigious schools. Their acceptance into these programs is a tribute to their dedication and the high quality training they receive at the Montana Ballet Company and Academy.
(Pre-Primary-Primary: Ages 3-8)
Our Pre-primary and Primary classes introduce children to the brilliant world of dance. The focus in this Division is capturing children’s innate joy of moving and instilling a love of dance. Students learn rudimentary ballet vocabulary in French, classroom etiquette, and how to work in a group setting. Goals are to foster creativity while students develop coordination, balance, and rhythm. Props are used to enhance creative movement, body awareness, and understanding of spatial relations. This class is suitable for children who are able to separate from their caregiver for roughly 45 minutes.
We have ongoing enrollment for our Lower Division, accepting students throughout the academic year.
(Level 1-5A: Ages 8 – 14)
In our Middle Division, we work to develop a strong and healthy classical ballet technique in a nurturing and supportive environment. The primary focus in this Division is to expand upon the young dancer’s love of dance and basic knowledge of ballet vocabulary. Work at the barre is introduced, followed by exercises in the center floor. Attention is placed on increasing the dancer’s ability to execute proper ballet technique – working on proper body alignment, core strength, balance, memorization, and the ability to sequence steps and move through space with agility and grace. Greater emphasis is placed on cultivating student’s creativity and teaching classical ballet terminology in French. Pre-Pointe is introduced in Level, 3 preparing students for pointe work in subsequent levels.
Each level builds upon the one prior to ensure proper progression and acquisition of ballet technique necessary for the Upper Division.
(Intermediate & Advanced: by Placement)
In our Upper Division, students further solidify and strengthen their classical ballet technique through hard work, discipline, and dedication to their practice. Attention is focused on increasing full-body flexibility, leg extensions, core strength, ability to execute multiple repetitions of steps, and overall ability to execute classical ballet in a proper, graceful, and self-assured manner. We continue to nurture artistic expression and creativity. Historical aspects of dance are included during class time, providing dancers with important contextual frameworks. Pointe and Variations classes are offered and carried through the Advanced Level. Classes in other disciplines, such as Contemporary/Modern, Conditioning, and Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) may be offered at the Intermediate and Advanced levels.
Students in our Upper Division are provided multiple rehearsal and performing opportunities throughout the year, bringing their studio learning to the stage, often dancing with live music. They benefit from our Master Class Series, where they have the privilege of studying with nationally and internationally renowned instructors, choreographers, and coaches. They also participate in our Whole Dancer Series, working closely with Physical Therapists, Nutritionists, and certified Pilates experts, among others.
Dancers in this Division frequently audition for and attend prestigious Summer Dance Intensives around the country and may also be seeking pre-professional ballet training that will lead to professional careers in dance.
*Age ranges serve as guidelines only. Each student is placed on an individual basis.
The Montana Ballet Company Academy is proud to include the AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE® National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough 9 level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development. The ABT® National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines to provide the highest quality ballet training to dance students of all ages and skill levels. Pre-Primary through Level 7 will be taught by ABT® Certified Teachers, Melissa Bowman, and Richard Bowman, who have successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.