Lake Orion, MI
OODA’s Ballet Program is under the Direction of Ms. Megan Okoniewski. Megan is from the Metro-Detroit area, and grew up training under Christina Tasco, Stephanie Pizzo, and Cornelia Sampson. She has been accepted into many summer programs including: Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Met, Burklyn Ballet, Blue Lake Fine Arts, The Rock School, Ballet Internationale, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. During her training she performed many principal roles in ballets including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, and Cinderella, as well as Symphony in C by George Balanchine.
Megan attended Grand Valley State University on scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in dance. She trained under Jefferson Baum, Calin Radulescu, Lisa Belrose, and Sean T Bible. During her time there she worked with Chieko Imada, Daniel Ulbrich, and Thang Dao. Megan was fortunate enough to perform in La Source, a ballet in the Balanchine Trust, set by Deborah Winger.
After graduating she danced for several years with Ballet Tucson in Arizona under the direction of Mary Beth Cabana. With the company she had many great opportunities including performing in: Graduation Ball, The Nutcracker, Carmen, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Bolero, and Cinderella. While with Ballet Tucson she danced in works by artists including John Gardner, Amanda McKerrow, Chieko Imada, Sam Watson, and Mark Schneider. She has also performed professionally with Grand Rapids Dance Project.
Megan is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. Her students have been accepted as dance majors at Grand Valley State University, Alma College, and Hope College.
This program is structured for our Competitive Company dancers, as well as dancers interested in the Pre-Professional program. Classes are designed to educate and train our students with proper ballet technique and provide them with the skills needed to accomplish their goals.
Whether you’re a dancer in our Competitive Company, or are the more serious ballerina with goals to attend the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) or have a desire become a professional dancer, our program can provide you with the skills needed reach your goals.
Dancers that are interested in a more structured ballet program, but are not quite committed to being part of the pre-professional ballet program, have the option to attend at least one 90-minute ballet technique classes per week within their appropriate level. Dancers are also invited to attend one 45-minute performance ballet class, which will give them the opportunity to perform a recital routine (see below).
BALLET FOR THE COMPETITVE DANCER*
Competitive dancers are required to attend at least two 90-minute ballet technique classes per week at their appropriate level.
Dancers on our Mini Team are only required to attend one 60-minute ballet technique class per week.
Dancers only competing in the Hip-Hop genre are not required to take any ballet technique classes.
Dancers on our Pink Company are only required to attend one 60-90-minute ballet technique class per week.
Dancers are also invited to attend one 45-minute performance ballet class, which will give them the opportunity to perform a recital routine (see below).
Students missing more than 4 ballet technique classes throughout the year are required to make up the missed classes prior to an upcoming competition in a class recommended by the instructor.
BALLET FOR THE PRE-PROFESSIONAL DANCER*
This program is designed for the more serious dancer with a desire to become stronger in ballet, is interested in attending the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), or has the drive to become a professional ballerina. Dancers in the program are required to attend a minimum of two 90-minute ballet technique classes per week within their appropriate level. Dancers are also invited to attend one 45-minute performance ballet class, which will give them the opportunity to perform a recital routine (see below).
YOUTH AMERICA GRAND PRIX (YAGP):
Those interested and invited to attend the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) are required to attend two 90-minute ballet technique classes, as well as one 90-minute YAGP class per week. Those participating are responsible for all additional cost associated in participating and attending YAGP.
Students missing more than 2 ballet technique classes throughout the year are required to make up the missed classes prior to attending the YAGP, in a class recommended by the instructor.
BALLET TECHNIQUE LEVELS*
Level 1 (60-minute class, offered once a week)
This is where the basic building blocks of ballet are introduced, and classes become more structured. Students start to learn the vocabulary of ballet and develop strength.
Level 2 (90-minute class, offered twice a week)
Building on what was learned in Ballet 1, the number of steps is increased, as well as developing proper placement of torso, hips, and legs without exceeding anatomical limitations. Turns are introduced, and steps are combined to form new ones, and when appropriate turn out is increased.
Level 3 (90-minute class, offered twice a week)
Proper placement is refined, and big jumps are introduced. The coordination of arms and head are developed with a concentration on smooth transitions throughout the exercises.
Level 4A & 4B (90-minute class, offered twice a week)
A more mature sense of musicality and quality of movement is emphasized. Students develop strength and stability in the demonstration of the pirouettes and grand allegro. Suppleness and smooth graceful movements are developed in these levels along with the increased coordination of head, arms, legs, and body.
Level 5 (90-minute class, offered twice a week)
Students who have progressed to pre-professional level now have an extensive ballet vocabulary. At this level, articulate footwork and secure use of legs is crucial. Class work continues to improve the dancer’s spatial awareness and orientation of the body. Dancers continue to work on coordination of the whole body with the addition of fluidity of movement. Added steps include multiple pirouettes and beating jumps. At this level an emphasis is placed on detail and artistry, therefore, increasing stamina, concentration and discipline are required.
Level 6 (90-minute class, offered twice a week)
Students at this level have a vast knowledge of classical ballet vocabulary and will have passed the above levels. Pirouettes in open positions and batterie are now included in class work. Dancers will learn to communicate expression and feeling in their movement. Refining technique continues to challenge as students are now expected to perform at a professional level.
Students interested in the Performance Ballet class will be required to attend at least one 90-minute ballet technique class per week. Dancers will perform a dance in our annual recital at the end of the season.
Students interested in taking a Pointe class will be carefully evaluated prior to be invited. Having developed strong posture and at the discretion of the teachers, students can now begin to train en pointe. Those dancers participating in a Pointe classes will be required to attend two 90-minute ballet technique classes per week. Dancers will perform in our annual recital at the end of the season.
Level 1 (one 60-minute class per week)
Students will learn how to properly sew ribbons and elastics, in addition to learning how to correctly tie and care for their shoes. Dancers will work on strengthening the entire foot and ankle as well perfecting the proper body placement, which is essential for going en pointe. Dancer must be enrolled in Level 3.
Level 2 & 3 (one 60-minute class per week)
Dancers have a clear understanding of body alignment and proper technique. Center and across the floor pointe work will be explored.
* Students will carefully be evaluated prior to be placed in one of our Ballet Technique, Pointe, and YAGP classes. Please call the studio to schedule an evaluation.
LEVEL ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION:
Parent and students should not anticipate annual level advancements. Ballet classes do not progress at the same pace as traditional academic grades. It is common for students to repeat levels of study. Because the range of the criteria for promotion is so diverse, it may be two or more years before a student is ready for advancement to the next level of study.
Advancement through the ballet program is based on many factors including a student’s strength, commitment, attendance, maturity, mastery of syllabus at grade level and artistic development as assessed by the teachers. A student’s ability to execute the required material is considered above all else, including age.
Ballet Level 1:
Black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet slippers, hair pulled back off the face and firmly secured, black ballet skirts are permitted at this level
Ballet Level 2-6:
Black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, hair pulled back off the face and firmly secured in a bun. Skirts/shorts/street clothes are not permitted.
Black leotard, pink tights, pointe shoes, hair pulled back securely in a bun, ballet skirts are permitted in the practice of pointe work
Students' hair must be worn in a traditional ballet bun at the crown of the head. No bangs allowed. If a female student has short hair, all hair including bangs must be clipped away from the face. The goal is to have the hair off the neckline to create an elegant line in a style that cannot move around.
Warm-up clothing will be allowed before class and at the teacher's discretion during class in the cold weather. Only fitted "dance" sweaters and fitted leg warmers are allowed. No loose or baggy clothes (including T-shirts) permitted under any circumstances.
No Jewelry (except small stud earrings). Dangling earrings/hoops, necklaces, and bracelets are strictly forbidden due to safety reasons.
Regular undergarments are not allowed under tights and leotards beyond Level 1. Tights are dancers' underpants and it is beneficial for all dancers to become familiar with this aspect of a dancer's education as early as possible.