2020-Classes/Courses We Offer
In addition to the extensive list below, we will also offer from 2020 a morning Beginner Ballet Drop-in Class. This will be suitable for Complete Beginners and Beginner Follow-On clients. It will be a lovely class to try on its own, helpful as a second class if you are taking our Saturday Beginner Courses, or a great chance if you just wish to refresh your ballet basics on occasion. If in doubt, please ask a member of The Ballet4LifeTeam or plan a visit to watch or try one!
For studio guidelines, protocols, and general info for our classes please see our
Beginner Ballet Course- 1st level
Suitable for All- class is one hour long
Age and ability are not concerns here! We teach the Beginner Ballet basics in a caring and careful way and have done so since 2004. This includes posture and alignment, musicality, basic positions of the arms and feet, series of exercises at the ballet barre such as plié, tendu, glissés, rond de jambe,développé, grand battements. We then progress to short movement sequences standing without the barre in the centre of the dance studio. Lovely musical accompaniment is used throughout. The teacher and the assistant are there to ensure you are working safely and to assist at every moment. By the end of the course, you will have a good grasp of the classical ballet basics that make up a beginner ballet class. You will hopefully feel stronger, more flexible, more graceful, and generally speaking, have a better sense of your body and of the joy of movement. You will have the choice to enrol again or to progress to Beginner Follow-On drop-in classes, but we are on hand to discuss this and to answer your queries at the end of each course.
Beginner Follow On- 2nd level
Some experience required, ideal to try after our beginner courses- class is one hour or fifty-five minutes long
These Beginner Follow-On drop-in classes take what has been established in Ballet4Life’s Beginner Ballet Courses and the clients' past training and slightly increase in their levels of difficulty by having longer barre exercises and more centre movement sequences to memorise, more strengthening exercises, more pirouettes and quicker allegro. There is also the fun of one or two big sequences on the diagonal which incorporates waltzes, turns, and or jumps. These are excellent classes for 50+ clients, for those returning to ballet after a long break, and for a perfect complement to any other dance or fitness class. Remember ballet compliments other dance and exercise training and is a sound base from which to try any movement, physical training, or fitness regimens.
Beginner Improvers- 3rd level
Some previous dance training required, ideal to join after our Beginner Follow-On- class is seventy-five minutes long
These Beginner Improvers drop-in classes take what has been established in Ballet4Life’s Beginner Follow-On classes as well as the clients' past training, and increases further in the levels of challenge, by having longer barre exercises and more centre movement sequences to memorise more strengthening exercises, additional pirouette exercises and quicker and longer adagio and allegro sequences. There are still one or two big movement sequences on the diagonal which incorporate waltzes, turns, and or jumps. These are excellent classes for 50+ clients, for those returning to ballet after a long break, and for a perfect complement to any other dance or fitness class. The extra fifteen minutes also allows for more exercises and practise. Remember ballet compliments other dance and exercise training and is a sound base from which to try any movement, physical training, or fitness regimens.
50+ Ballet #Silverswans
General- 4th level
Intermediate / Advanced Classes- 5th level
Three years of minimum dance training required-class is ninety minutes long
The Intermediate/Advanced classes are for those clients who are ready to progress from the Beginner Improvers and General levels as well as for those wishing to keep strengthening and honing their ballet technique. Many take this class along with another one during the week. The more advanced clients use it as a way to work on technique and all can enjoy building up their strength, confidence, and knowledge of ballet vocabulary and movements. The exercises will be greater in length, have changes of direction and placement of one’s centre, and have more complex musicality with changes of rhythm and timings. The ninety-minute length of the class also allows for more development, stamina, and challenge.
Some dance experience required-class is seventy-five minutes long
Our General classes at Ballet4life have been created to offer all of our clients, except our Complete Ballet Beginners, an additional class to try. It is for a mix of levels and is geared accordingly. It is set up so that the dancers can learn from watching each other and perhaps to get a chance to try some new steps or enchainements . There is a rota of teachers and they rotate so this also allows the clients to learn from different teachers and perhaps pick up different tips along the way. The extra fifteen minutes also allows for more exercises and practise. It is a lovely and inspiring class. We often have a series of Repertory classes following this class in which the dancers learn classical ballet variations from different famous ballets. Please keep an eye on the timetables for these seasonal offers.
Suitable for All- class is one hour and ten minutes long
50+ Ballet was created, codified and devised by Founder & Director Donna Schoenherr over ten years ago. This class is structured for a more mature body. It is a pioneering, wonderful, popular class in which you can dance to lovely music and work on strength, flexibility, balance and core, memory, coordination, and mental acuity. You will learn and try very enjoyable and stimulating classical ballet exercises at the ballet barre. Then the class progresses to sequences across the dance studio. These provide more challenge to both the mind and the body and are perfect for self-expression, sense of freedom in movement, and for proprioception. We also have fun and laughs along the way and the group is very welcoming to newcomers! By Donna's creation of this unique concept, a door opened to thousands to have the chance to study ballet over fifty years old! #silverswans #goldenswans
50+ Dance & Movement
Suitable for All- class is fifty-five minutes long
This unique 50+ Dance & Movement class is designed for the mature moving body. It is a low impact class, focusing on grounding, sense of space and expansion. It is aimed at anyone interested in moving in an organic way, without requiring previous dance knowledge. The music accompanying varies from classical to contemporary, from 60’s retro to opera, reflecting the vast spectrum of movement possibilities, setting the atmosphere, tone, phrasing and emotional approach of each exercise. Inspiration is drawn from elements of ballet, jazz, modern, urban but incorporated in a way that is free of any specific stylistic form. Sequences include reaches, transfers of weight and body isolations, which are encouraged to be performed in a way that is natural to each body. Short sequences give the brain enough challenge for memory but are repeated so that one can enjoy the physical benefits. Individuality is very much welcomed and celebrated and bodies of all abilities, both men and women, will find this class highly enjoyable, with a chance to engage body, mind and soul.
Beginner and Intermediate Levels- pointe exercise is fifteen minutes, pointe class is thirty minutes long
The Ballet4Life Team will make sure you are ready to try Beginner Pointe and we can advise you on Pointe shoes and accessories. The pointe work is given at the barre holding on with two hands and with one hand. Exercises developed for ankle strengthening are done in parallel and rotated ( turned out ) positions of the feet and legs. It is a slow, simple, and careful series of exercises which develop more strength, confidence, and awareness of how to stand with the weight of the body placed properly over the base of the toes. Exercises that move along the barre and which change from one to the other are also practised. The Intermediate Level Pointe builds on this and the exercises are longer and more demanding. A few centre exercises are also used and practised to gain strength, balance, and confidence. Again in the Intermediate class, more centre work is done and pirouettes and travelling combinations are practised. No client is asked to execute steps for which they are not yet ready. All beginners must have the approval to join in from Ballet4life in order to teach this skill carefully and safely.
Some experience required- one hour long
Using fluid and rhythmic energy, the Saturday Contemporary dance class is built around exciting combinations and coordination with an emphasis on timing, strength, dynamics and enjoyment. The style introduced draws inspiration mainly from two contemporary dance techniques: Limon and Release. The class starts with a warm-up which consists of set exercises: simple torso bends, gentle pliés, and swings in the upper and lower body parts. As the class progresses, it focuses on core strength and precision through more technical footwork, leg swings, and jumps. This fun class then progresses on to travelling sequences across the large studio space. The dancers play with movement dynamics and spatial awareness. A short dance sequence is also developed at the end of the sessions and the participants have the chance to focus on their performance skills and build upon the material on a weekly basis.
The modern and contemporary dance aspects of the Wednesday pm class focus on the fluidity of full-body movement, breathing and freedom of expression, working well alongside the jazz dance style class structure, focussing on the more technical side of the class emphasising rhythmical accuracy, isolation and style. Class always begins with a warm-up that focuses on building strength, flexibility and control. Dancers will then work on different elements of movement in the centre, across the floor and in combinations and learn a variety of choreographic styles from more traditional Broadway pieces to lyrical contemporary variations.
The classes are subtle and dynamic at the same time with an emphasis on flow and transition – essentially connecting the musical interpretation to expressive movement. The significance is on fun and self-expression whilst dancing for better fitness and improvement of technique, and the experience of learning longer sequences to work on and to develop throughout the term. Some previous dance training is required as this is not geared for Complete Beginners.
Suitable for All- fifty-five minutes long
Character Dance is based on folk dances originating from different countries and regions, mostly Europe. It is highly stylised and usually can be part of classical ballets, whilst preserving its national character and uniqueness. Character Dance is often included in the syllabus of many ballet schools along with classical ballet, historical dance and contemporary dance. The structure of character dance classes is made up of barre and centre; similar to classical ballet. As a graduate of the Vaganova Ballet School, Alina's extensive experience in character dance and her specialisation in this specific dance form allows her to have great insight into this style. A group from this class have already performed at The Bedford Park festival, Belmont Primary School, Ballet4life's Annual Dance Showcase, and the fundraising Loyal Variety Performance. Each term Alina's introduces new dances with different musical attributes, flavours, traits, and personalities, and you will learn something new as well as having loads of fun.
Suitable for all - thirty minutes long
This new stretch class is tailored to those students who would have already attended one of our ballet classes on Saturday mornings at Arts Ed, as the body will need to be warm for your health and safety. The session is aimed at elongating and extending specific body parts and muscles after a full dance session. It is suited for enabling a deeper stretch to improve flexibility and mobility. The class will involve some upright barre stretching and floor exercises. It is also a valuable tool for injury prevention and general wellbeing.
Suitable for all except Complete Beginners- forty-five minutes long
In our seasonal series of Repertory classes, the focus will be on learning and practising a variation from a well-known classical ballet. If the variation is originally done en pointe, we adapt and teach it for demi-pointe Thus far the dancers have learned beautiful variations from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and La Bayadère, amongst others. The aim of these classes is to enrich the understanding of the ballet vocabulary and how steps practised in class can be used and developed in classical ballet choreography. It also helps to familiarise the dancers with patterns and famous steps and movements that they might see when they go to the Ballet. We emphasise the importance of understanding the ballet’s history and story (if there is one) and the performance aspect that is developed along with the technical aspect of executing the steps. It is also very beneficial for work on improvement of stamina, line, strength, spatial awareness, moving with a group, and musicality. Everyone has a really enjoyable experience and each series shows growth and development in the Ballet4life dancers! We might also extend the Repertory to include neo-classical works, and contemporary works too. Why not keep an eye for the next round so you are not disappointed?
Move into Wellbeing®
Unique Dance, Movement, Exercise Classes for people with Parkinson's or other mobility challenges- sixty minutes long
Ballroom and Latin Dance Classes
What they are: These lively and inspirational dance, movement, and exercise classes are specially created for people with compromised mobility including those with Parkinson's. The class material is devised and led by highly experienced dance teachers who have trained with David Leventhal and/or the Dance for PD® programme. The class consists of of a series of dance and movement exercises done whilst seated, to different styles of music. There is a break halfway through for hydration and conversation. The second half takes the dancers to an upright stance to carry on with more dance and movement exercises, using different body parts and stimulating the mind and the body. There is an adaptive version of all the material and if a dancer needs to remain seated or has very limited mobility we can accommodate this. History: Move into Wellbeing® was created and founded by Donna Schoenherr nearly five years ago, launching its exciting programme in January 2015. Move into Wellbeing® was directly inspired by the fact that Donna's father lived with Parkinson’s for thirty years and this had a direct impact on her life and extensive work in the field of dance. She had attended many dance, movement, and music classes with her father in the USA over the decades and was also aware of the brilliant Dance for PD® course created by David Leventhal and the Mark Morris Dance Company. Ballet4life also interacted with and gained insight at the start, from David Leventhal of Dance for PD®, the Dance for Parkinson's Programme at ENB, and AWE. Move into Wellbeing® is a Registered Charity, number 1172264, helping to ensure its long-term future and to continue to provide these vital classes for the community. Beatrice Ghezzi is our Lead Teacher at the Chiswick classes, whilst Chris Christodoulou leads the Brentford Programme. Please visit www.moveintowellbeing.org.uk and @Movein2Welbng. Move into Wellbeing® is financially and structurally independent from Ballet4life.
Beginner and Intermediate Levels - one hour long-not on offer presently
These Beginner and Intermediate Ballroom & Latin Dance classes aim to empower the participants by allowing them to understand, feel, and freely explore the dance movements and by providing constructive criticism and encouragement. The structure of the Ballroom and Latin Dance session is based on basic steps and also on information about musicality, rhythm and patterns. Classic dances to learn include Ballroom- slow waltz, some Latin- chachacha and more! We hope to bring back these popular classes in 2020!
Suitable for All- one hour long-not on offer presently
This is Ballet4Life’s own Barre Fitness class devised and led by Johanna Saarinen.
It is a very dynamic dance-based work out which will focus on strengthening, toning, balancing, and stretching using Jo’s expertise and the expansive dance studio and the ballet barres.
This is a fun, effective, and affordable way to tone, strengthen, lengthen out, get your heart rate up, work on balance and keep fit using dance and classical ballet barre techniques. Johanna Saarinen is a highly experienced former dancer and professional teacher with a wealth of industry knowledge and experience and is eager to share her knowledge and skills with you. Book in soon! You will not regret it. The class is suitable for all levels. All class material can be adapted by Jo for individual needs.
No experience required- fifty-five minutes long -not on offer presently
Yoga is a perfect complement to dance and can be a best friend for dancers from beginners to professionals as well for any active adult of any age. Yoga helps to increase flexibility, strength and balance both physically and mentally, awareness of the body, and fluidity in the spine. Our clients will learn a bit about how to use breath and to find softness in a challenging posture/situation. We will also work on trying to switch off one's mind and rest quickly by experiencing the deep relaxation through the practice. From Chihiro's personal experience as a beginner dancer with injuries, awareness of the body and working with (rather than against) gravity/opposite force, she has learned through yoga practice, have hugely helped her in ballet lessons. She is pleased to be able to share the power of gentle yoga with Ballet4life. The class will be include breathing exercise (pranayama), postures (asana), conscious relaxation and meditation, with step by step guidance. Chihiro can adapt her material for individual needs as required.