The three preparatory classes are for children from 7 to 10 years of age who are admitted to the school after passing examinations for physical stature and musical aptitudes. Students are educated in aspects of music and rhythm, posture is corrected, co-ordination and dance improvisation are taught. Before progressing to the junior level, the anatomically correct placing of the child in the basic positions of classical ballet is emphasized. The lessons of class A and B are twice weekly and class C three times per week.
Junior an Intermediate Classes
Educating a professional dancer takes eight years. After progressing from class I to VI, the training is concluded with two years in the Theatre Classes VII and VIII.
The pupil receives intensive training with the main emphasis on classical ballet technique. During this period other subjects are added including folk dance, spanish and castanet technique, modern dance, classical and contemporary variation, pas de deux and dance composition.
The lessons take place six days per week. Small classes permit careful attention to the individual pupil. Progress made during the year is examined regularly by the staff. Near the end of each school year, an examination determines if the pupil will progress to the following class.
Pupils from the age of 10 years are taken into class I. It is possible for talented or more experienced pupils from outside the school to be
placed in a class of their level by means of audition.
Parallel to ballet instruction, emphasis is also placed on a good academic education and, for this reason, there is a close liaison with local schools. After their academic school children from Hamburg may come to the Ballettzentrum and have lunch.
Theater Classes (advanced)
Classes VII and VIII
The Theatre Class program, with its full-time training syllabus has the status of a "State Professional School of Ballet". Within two years, the ballet student should achieve the qualifications necessary to become a professional dancer. Studies end with a final examination and diploma. The aim of this daily training program is to develop a versatile dancer prepared for the technical and artistic demands required by contemporary ballet companies.
Students of the Theatre Classes frequently take part in the rehearsals and dance in performances of The Hamburg Ballet. Traditional repertoire (corps de ballet, solo-variations and pas de deux from classical ballets) as well as the contemporary repertoire of The Hamburg Ballet are taught.
The academic program includes: anatomy, theory of music, dance history, art and cultural history. Foreign students are given German language tuition. Young people with adequate preparatory training are accepted from the ages of 16 to 18 years (boys to 19).
Lessons in dance composition (choreography) are part of the Theatre Class program in which pupils are encouraged to use their own creativity. Using as a basis what they have learned of modern and classical dance forms, the students explore the rhythmic, dynamic and spacial challenges involved in choreography, as well as the possibilities of expression and movement invention. At first, particular themes and musical works are suggested. It is the aim of this instruction to give pupils a structural basis on which they can develop their own choreographic ideas and thus become a creative partner for any choreographer they may work with during their professional career.