Karen Blackburn Dance Academy


BALLET could be said to be one of the most beautiful art forms and is considered to be the foundation of almost all other dance styles. It places a lot of demands on the dancer’s body and is a highly technical and expressive dance form. Through the years ballet has developed and diversified. New works with modern choreography now requires that dancers today not only have the technical skill to master the demands of the classical repertoire, but that they have an understanding of a variety of other dance forms including neo-classical, contemporary and fusion styles.

Classical ballet training gives a dancer poise, strength, flexibility and a sense of artistry and appreciation for music.


Pre – school classes are part of our Mini Performers and Jewel Ballet Programme and we teach children from the age of  2 ½. In our beginner classes the focus is very much on creativity, developing co-ordination and stimulating children’s imagination through our carefully designed themed lessons based around children’s classic books. They learn about teamwork and self awareness, alongside building confidence and having fun. As the children progress through the programme (Emerald, Ruby and Diamond) they are introduced to basic ballet terms and dance steps, building up dance vocabulary and improving their balance, flexibility and musicality.


At KBDA we follow the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus where students work through the RAD grade exam system from Grade 1 through to Grade 8 and the Ballet Conservatoire Classical Ballet Programme (Aus)

Within the school year we aim to include between one or two terms of foundation technique to help support the work covered by the syllabus settings. However, the focus in these classes is on developing not only a secure technical foundation but also to nurture the ‘overall dancer’ with emphasis on self expression and musicality. In the two terms preceding the exam the focus then shifts to settings within the exam syllabus.

Exams are optional but many students chose to take exams to allow them to gain a sense of accomplishment and as a way to chart their progress. Students who pass their RAD Grade 6,7 & 8 exam are awarded UCAS points.  All grades include classical ballet and character work but from Grade 6 free movement is also included.


 (Intermediate foundation, Intermediate, Advanced foundation, Advanced I & Advanced II)

Vocational exams are offered to students who possess the physical facility to cope with the demands placed on the body during this intensive classical training, which includes pointe work. Vocational classes are an extension to graded work and are taught alongside regular syllabus classes to provide a fully rounded and comprehensive training system for the aspiring dancer.

Students must show a natural ability as well as dedication and commitment to their dance training. These professional vocational exams are designed as a preparation for a career in dance or performing arts.  In addition to the aims of the graded system the aims of vocational exams are:

  • To increase knowledge of repertoire, dance vocabulary and the ability to pick up unset combinations through free work
  • To prepare students for full time vocational training and careers in dance and performing arts
  • To strengthen feet and develop pointe work

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