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How Jazz, Lyrical & Contemporary Classes Work

At Clarion Center for the Arts, we believe that students should be free to work at their own pace. Even with the exact same instruction, some students will need more time to work on skills as they develop the necessary technique and strength. Like popcorn that all receives the same heat, students still "pop" at different times. For this reason, we encourage students (and parents!) not to compare themselves to other students or to worry about what classes they are placed in.

Students are always welcome and encouraged to speak to their teachers directly about what they can be working on, but they also need to be patient with their own bodies. Dance is a physical activity and sometimes our bodies have certain limitations that make it necessary to work even harder than others may have to.

Still, when you see other students moving into higher levels of classes it can be understandably discouraging. Dance isn't like school where everyone can just move on to the next grade together each year! Understanding how our classes work, though, can help you be more loving toward yourself and your own unique progress while also celebrating the achievements of your classmates.

A few classes worth explaining are Jazz, Lyrical and Contemporary. Because these classes are elective, fewer students take these classes than they do Ballet and Tap. The smaller class sizes makes it necessary for us to combine Ballet levels within these classes. This means that students don't progress through our Jazz, Lyrical and Contemporary levels all at the same time.

Take for example Ballet A, Ballet B, Ballet C and Ballet D...

  • One year Ballet A and Ballet B will share a Jazz class while Ballet C and Ballet D will share one.

  • The following year, Ballet B may join Ballet C for Jazz while Ballet D perhaps joins Ballet E and a pre-Ballet class joins Ballet A. You may see half of your class move into a different Jazz class, but that's because they are also at a higher level of Ballet.

Remember that YOU moved into someone's Jazz class before. Now they may be moving into someone else's Jazz class as new students are moving into your Jazz class.

We care very strongly about creating KIND dancers. Students should always welcome and encourage the dancers that are joining their Jazz, Lyrical or Contemporary class. Likewise, students should never brag about moving into someone else's class.

If a student ever wants to learn more about their own class placement, they are welcome to come and speak to their teachers directly. Taking responsibility for their own thoughts and desires and having personal conversations with adults are important life-skills for kids to learn. For this reason, we will happily discuss class placement directly with a student who approaches us. Please encourage your child to come and talk to us if they express any disappointment with their classes. It's a better learning experience for the student if we talk to them rather than to their parent! Isn't character building what we're all about anyway? ;-)


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