Training Philosophy

School Philosophy:

CALIFORNIA DANCEARTS 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.


Students should expect to gain a reasonable standard of skill and competence

Our curriculum is based on ABT’s National Curriculum for the development and training that embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French school, Cecchetti Italian School and Russian Vaganova training methods. A progressive program of ballet works to develop coordination, strength and balance, concentration, creativity, problem-solving, goal setting, discipline, self awareness, accountability and much more.

Advanced Training:
We are fortunate to be able to include instruction in keeping with those standards from the School of American Ballet, primary beginning this instruction at upper level 4.   Our upper students also enjoy a comprehensive program of Contemporary Ballet and Modern Dance methods that prepare students for careers with professional companies or college programs.

At CDA we maintain that self esteem comes from accomplishing actual achievements. We believe that student achievements should be at the heart of any professional school or academy teaching learned skills. While we are sensitive to the motivating factors that have brought each student to our school, we stand firm in our commitment to provide quality dance education of the highest caliber to each student, thereby making a profound effect on his or her life.

Our principals and philosophies as applied to our students are further distinguished by the unique training methods described below:

Hard working CDA Students

Hard working CDA Students

Our classes are small by design

At CDA, we firmly believe in limiting enrollment in each class, as this allows the instructor to devote more individualized attention on each participating student. Our small class sizes prevent students from developing poor habits, allows for greater understanding of the concepts and instructions and students have more fun!

Cross Training and Injury Prevention

Students dance for a number of reasons, either recreationally or for professional aspirations. When involved in any challenging physical activity, injury can occur. Our program offers high-quality artistic training combined with cutting edge knowledge of biomechanics, kinesiology and training for injury prevention. We provide the very best methods for helping students understand their physical bodies and limitations so that they can take control of their own physical health and prevent serious injury. We do this by implementing the following:

  • Cross training conducted by our instructor who is certified in cutting edge methods such as MPT-Placement Technique and Posture Alignment Specialist from Egoscue Motion Therapy and Progressing Ballet Technique. (Students at CORE level 2 and above are required to attend).
  • Building a foundation of ballet training that emphasize correct technique and proper body alignment.
  • Beginning each class with a warm up before increasing physical demands.
  • Offering a progressive program so that students are placed in classes that are appropriate to their age, development and abilities to meet physical demands and challenges.
  • Formal evaluations and preparation for Pointe work. We do not place children on Pointe until specific physical qualifications are met.

Ballet Terminology & Dance History

At CDA, we feel that a complete, well-rounded dance education should include instruction in, and a thorough understanding of, French ballet terminology (including the origin of ballet terms) and dance history. Since virtually ALL of ballet is taught, using French terminology, we would be remiss if we failed to engage our students in this study. By ensuring their full understanding of these ballet terms, we find that our students have a more thorough understanding of the steps being taught in class. Indeed, there are fewer occasions for confusion and a far greater chance of advancement and fun! Through games and creative means, the youngest of students have the capacity to learn a few of the basic French terms. By increasing our students’ all-around proficiency in their dance training, we are giving them the means to remain fully engaged in the program.

Student Exams

California DanceArts students who are placed in our Core Program (Designed for students who desire progressive training) receive the benefits of receiving syllabus evaluations and examinations. Periodic evaluations and examinations are the key to ensuring students progress through the curriculum at the rate that is consistent with their development. Students are rewarded for their increased knowledge and skill by graduation award and placed into the next highest level of training. CDA students truly earn their level placement and know it. Knowing that you have truly worked for your place in a program is a reward at its highest and develops confidence and pride!

CDA student performing dramatic interpretations

CDA student performing dramatic interpretations

Dance Artistry is Essential

Developed by our Artistic Director, Aerin HoltDance Essentials ™ is an innovative program that was achieved after many hours working with Hollywood dancers, actresses and musicians to help them achieve stage presence and performance skills in preparation of major events in their careers. The method is used to help performers of all kind. The method is particularly beneficial to the dancer. Dance Essentials™ is a tool box of skills required for gaining good Stage Presence, Dramatic Ability, Rhythm, Picking up Choreography, the Ability to improvise and more. Dance Essentials™ is fun and taught within a variety of drills, games and application of specific concepts. It’s fun and students enjoy learning. The program is delivered to anyone at any age and is still offered on a private basis to all performers. The program is exclusively delivered for dance only at California DanceArts during our Dance Essentials™ class and incorporated into our daily schedule of classes.

Supplementary Training

Additional classes supplement our Core Program, Elective Program and Adult Programs.  A comprehensive study and training in Modern Dance and Contemporary Ballet is one of the best complements to a serious study of dance or ballet training.  Vital in this new “Cirque” dominated arts world, we offer a unique Cirque Arts program, featuring Acrodance and Aerial Ballet. Additional classes include Broadway Jazz Dance and Tap classes.

Quality Performance Experiences

Our students often receive invitation from our affiliate company, California Contemporary Ballet, to perform in annual full-length original ballets such as their famous production of The Snow Queen or The Legend of Jack Frost during the winter season and Thumbelina in the spring. Additional performance opportunities may include in house concerts, community performances and dance festivals. Students are often given the opportunity to audition to become company members. We never use valuable class time for the rehearsals and the beautiful hand- made costumes never require purchase. In late spring, we offer families a view of student progress by showing classroom skills at our Spring Demonstrations.

What are the results?

California DanceArts has affiliations with ballet companies internationally. Students have successfully secured scholarship awards for dance and theater, gone onto television careers and Broadway style musicals as dancers, choreographers or directors. Students have entered performing arts schools and Universities to complete their credentials for careers in dance. California DanceArts ballet students have been accepted and have secured opportunities or positions internationally with: Cirque du Soleil, Universal Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Kaatsbaan, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, Salzburg International Ballet- Austria, Ostrava Ballet-Czech Republic, University of Southern California and more.