American Academy of Ballet


Celebrating Our 53rd Year of Dance!

The American Academy of Ballet, under the direction of Maris Battaglia, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. More than 147 students have gone on to achieve prominent careers across the States, Canada and Europe in dance companies, television and the Broadway stage. We are proud to continue that tradition throughout the many years to come! The Academy's success and continued philosophy over the years is that "love and discipline can work together in a warm and caring atmosphere to provide positive experiences that will last a lifetime."

Princess Camp

Important Dates:

"About" tab (above) and click on "Important Dates"

Class Descriptions

For children and teens, we offer a range of enthralling classes in ballet, pointe, acro, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, Broadway dance, jazz and tap. For adults and teens new to dance, we offer adult ballet classes.

Read the descriptions below and then check our class schedule. Please don't hesitate to contact the studio for help deciding which classes are right for you.


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Ballet originated in the 1500s in France and continues to one of the world's most popular dance styles. Characterized by formal and elegant movements, ballet is considered to be the most graceful and strict dance form known to the world. The solid technique of ballet considers makes it the basis of all other forms of dance, similar to the trunk of a tree. Students trained in ballet are seen as physically and emotionally stronger than those who are not. Early ballet dancers were not as highly skilled as they now, as ballet dance has become a highly technical form of dance with its very own French vocabulary. It is typically performed to classical music. Ballet classes at the Academy are based on the Russian syllabus with Balanchine influence.

At the American Academy of Ballet, ballet classes are offered from Fairytale Dance (age 3) to Adult.
- Fairytale Dance (3 year olds)
- Pre-Ballet I (4 year olds)
- Pre-Ballet II (5 year olds)
- Ballet I (6-9 year olds)
- Ballet II - VI or Ballet A-F (depending on age and skill level)
- Intermediate I
- Intermediate II
- Advanced
- Pre-Professional (this class is by invitation only and consists of the most advanced of ballet dancers at the Academy)
- Adult

Fairytale Dance and Pre-Ballet Classes

At the American Academy of Ballet, we feel it is important to group children by their age as the development and coordination of a 3 year old differs greatly from a 4 year old and a 4 year old from a 5 year old. Keeping them in class with children of the same age promotes a feeling of pride and accomplishment and eliminates feelings of frustration.

Fairytale Dance
In these classes, children become familiar with different rhythms and begin to learn basic movements (galloping, skipping, etc.) to familiar songs and develop coordination through the use of wands and parachutes. Various themes are used throughout the year. Children must be 3 by October and toilet trained.

Pre-Ballet I
A short segment at the ballet barre is introduced where students begin to learn the very basic rudiments of ballet. Story telling and improvisation continues to be a large part of the class and they are introduced to their first French terms. The theory for all these classes is to turn young children on to the joys of movement in a non-competitive fun atmosphere and to explore and encourage their own creativity.

Pre-Ballet II
As their bodies develop and get stronger, we are able to add more actual ballet steps to this class. Children spend time at the barre and in the center learning formal steps. They spend the rest of their class time developing improvisational skills. Children act out little ballets, participate in "free" dancing and expand stretching skills.

The benefits of these classes are building self confidence, developing coordination, learning how to be a part of a structured environment, building strong bodies and bringing out their own creativity.

All classes are 45 minutes long.

The children in Fairytale Dance do not participate at the UB Performance. Instead, they have their own special in-studio performance and reception for their family and friends in mid-June. This allows them the opportunity to perform in a familar place and eliminates the pressure of being on a big stage. Children in Pre-Ballet classes do participate in the studio's annual May Performance at UB Center for the Arts.


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Ballerinas who dance en pointe further expand their classical ballet training. It requires years of training and practice to develop the strength and technique needed to perform pointe work. It is performed while wearing pointe shoes, a type of dance shoe designed for the dancer to perform on their toes. Pointe work is rigorous but highly rewarding when accomplished.

At the American Academy of Ballet, pointe classes are offered to anyone in ballet levels E /VI and up. A minimum of 2 ballet classes a week is required.
- Pointe I
- Pointe Intermediate I
- Pointe Intermediate II


Acro 2014

Acro is a style of dance that combines classical dance techniques with acrobatic elements. This style of dance takes tumbling to a new level as it blends choreography, acrobatics and dance elements together in a popular dance style.

At the American Academy of Ballet, acro classes are offered to anyone in ballet level I and up (ages 6+).
- Acro I
- Acro II
- Acro III


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Originating in the 1920s, modern has become one of the world's leading dance styles in the past few decades. Created by the likes of Martha Graham and Loie Fuller, it was created to be a freer dance form with the idea of keeping the structure of classical ballet but allowing a greater range of movements and styles. Contemporary dance has become more modern in the recent years, as seen throughout many dance companies and performances, rather than the rigid technique. At the Academy, we blend the old and new styles of contemporary dance to create a unique and rewarding experience for all dancers alike.

At the American Academy of Ballet, contemporary classes are offered to anyone in ballet levels A/II and up.
- Contemporary I
- Contemporary II
- Contemporary III
- Contemporary IV
- Contemporary V
- Contemporary Intermediate
- Contemporary Advanced


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Lyrical began as the combination of ballet and jazz technique but has evolved to become more contemporary over the past couple of decades. It is considered the most emotional and expressive form of dance, allowing dancers to interpret dances through a wide range of movements. These movements are characterized by fluidity and grace with the dancer flowing seamlessly from one move to the next. Music and styles consist of many genres of music and dance.

At the American Academy of Ballet, lyrical classes are offered for ballet levels A/II and up.
- Lyrical I
- Lyrical II
- Lyrical III
- Lyrical IV
- Lyrical V
- Lyrical Advanced

Hip Hop

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Hip hop is a newer style of dancing that has recently been popular in dance movies and media, such as Step Up. It contains a totally free athletic style of movement and doesn't require as much technique as the other forms of dance. However, it does have its roots in jazz and modern, showing structure and coordination. While it is closely associated with street dancing, a wide range of styles throughout the form of hip hop are performed during classes.

At the American Academy of Ballet, hip hop classes are offered to anyone in ballet level I and up.
- Hip Hop I
- Hip Hop Intermediate


Astaire Tap 2014

Jazz dance is the smoothest style of dance, mostly used on Broadway and other theater groups. It is upbeat, energetic and extremely popular due to the media promoting this style of dance. Jazz dance is a form of dance that showcases a dancer's individual style and originality. Jazz requires solid technique and structure, similar to modern or ballet, which allows the dancer to express themselves through their movements. Music and styles consist of many genres of music and dance.

At the American Academy of Ballet, jazz classes are offered for ballet level Pre-Ballet and up.
- Jazz/Tap A
- Jazz/Tap B
- Jazz/Tap C
- Jazz Advanced


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Born in the 19th century, tap dance was born in the United States but is now popular all around the world. The name originates from the noise that tap shoes make when connected with the hard floor. This tapping makes the performer not just a dancer but also a musician. While containing the structure and technique of the other forms of dance, tap is characterized by syncopation and improvisation. Music and styles consist of many genres of music and dance.

At the American Academy of Ballet, tap classes are offered for ballet level Pre-Ballet and up.
- Tap/Jazz A
- Tap/Jazz B
- Tap/Jazz C
- Tap Advanced

Broadway Dance

New this year! The Broadway Dance Class will focus on the choreography, music, and songs from favorite Broadway shows. Class will include guest instructors each month to work with students on their voice and acting.

- Broadway Dance I
- Broadway Dance II
- Broadway Dance III


Variations 2014

Variations class is by invitation only and consists of the most advanced of ballet dancers at the Academy. Performances and choreography performed by professional ballet companies and dancers are taught to these students to learn. This is performed en pointe.

American Academy of Ballet