Level 1 - 6, Pre-Professional Division,
Prospective students, age 8 and above, are required to attend an audition or take a placement class to determine acceptance and level. Level placement is based on the student’s skill and strength. Auditions are held in Portland, Oregon in early August for the following Annual Session. SOBT Summer Intensive auditions occur simultaneously with OBT auditions, January through March, during our international tour (Chicago, Houston, Japan, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver BC). Please see the website for audition locations, dates, times, and details.
Admission into the Pre-Professional Division Program and the Apprentice Program is by invitation only, at the discretion of the School Director and OBT Artistic Director, Kevin Irving. Preference is given to students enrolled in SOBT for a period of one year or longer. It is recommended that students in both programs have completed high school.
SOBT does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, color, or national/ethnic origin in administration of its admission criteria, education policies, scholarship programs, or any other school-administered programs or activities.
Pre-Ballet offers an introduction to music and dance. Students are taught to connect imagery with movement and begin to develop coordination, listening skills, and musicality. Pre-ballet classes introduce basic ballet vocabulary and class etiquette, beginning the nurturing process for a love of dance. Pre-Ballet students must be age 3 for Annual Session admittance; there are no exceptions.
As part of our Pre-Ballet program, First Steps serves as a bridge between Pre-Ballet and Level 1. Most students in this level are between the ages of 6 and 7. First Steps students are introduced to the most fundamental elements of ballet. Some students will skip this level and move straight into Level 1. Placement and admission into First Steps are at the School Director's discretion.
Level 1 provides the basis and foundation upon which all future classes are built. The curriculum taught at this level is extremely important and cannot be overemphasized. Students learn correct placement of the body and positions of the arms, legs, and head. In addition, students are encouraged to develop their musicality and artistry during class.
Material taught in Level 1 is repeated and developed in Level 2. Tempos and numbers of steps increase. Students add strength and speed to their basic technique. This class begins to concentrate on coordination between the upper and lower body.
Level 3 students continue to develop the material learned in Level 2, while also learning more complex exercises at the barre. They are introduced to pirouettes, adagio, and allegro in the center. Students begin pointe work.
These intermediate-level students focus on the coordination of the whole body to include the arms, legs, head, and torso. More difficult steps are taught at the barre and center, including pirouettes and allegro, as well as beats and an increased amount of pointe work.
Students in Level 5 concentrate on the development of strength, stability, balance, aplomb, and elevation. More complicated adagio and allegro combinations are introduced.
Level 6 / Professional Program / Apprentice Program
Advanced students refine, strengthen, and reinforce all aspects of their training in this level. Pointe work is emphasized and the ability to learn and perform repertoire is stressed.
Please Note: Students in Level 2 and higher are encouraged to take lower division classes, tuition free, to help speed their development. Some students will be assigned full lower-level or partial upper-level (i.e., barre only) classes as part of their mandatory curriculum. These additional assignments are not optional.
Placement / Level Advancement
Students progress in their training by developing work ethic, discipline, strength, and technique. Not all students do this at an equal pace. Most importantly, technique milestones must be reached before progression can occur. Placement and progression to the next level is by recommendation of the Faculty only. We do not place or advance students solely based on their age or on their level at a previous ballet school. Parents are asked not to approach teaching staff with questions about their student’s progress nor is it appropriate for parents to question current level placement or recommend graduation to the next level. Students, on the other hand, are encouraged to interact with staff at appropriate times or schedule appointments if they have questions or concerns with regard to level progression, technique, injuries, etc.