At Elwood School of Dance we believe that classical ballet technique is not suitable for young bodies and minds not yet suitably prepared and at an appropriate stage of physical and cognitive development, which is why we offer the Laurel Martyn Dance System (LMDS) Children’s Preparatory Program.
In the ten progressions of this program, covered in Stages 1- 5, the elements of dance are introduced. The exploration and explanation of why movements are learned and used is integral to the system. Young bodies are allowed to move at natural speeds, and new movements are added by exploration and progression. Younger children learn to control their movements within the capabilities of their age-groups and their own bodies. Student groups advance through the progressions at their own rate of development.
The program allows the teachers at Elwood School of Dance the flexibility to tailor the training to suit each unique group of students while not compromising the quality of the training or the learning experience. The fundamentals of Time and Music are combined with the application of Weight and Effort in order to facilitate movement. Together with the management of Space and Energy, these basics of dancing start the education of each future dancer’s Body Instrument.
At the completion of the Preparatory Dance Program, students have a sound foundation for the introduction of the basics of classical dance technique introduced in Degree 1. Students will have developed a wide range of movement skills and an ability to concentrate and coordinate the complex movements, rhythms and space patterns which will now be introduced. Over the four Degrees of this program, the body instrument is introduced to classical dance technique by the use of the divided exercise, which allows the mind time to think about new movements without omitting any of the elements which will be coordinated in the final form. The movements are learnt with pauses and as if in slow motion. Gradually the pauses are removed and the tempo is increased until the final form is reached. At each stage, the student is considered as a complete dancer at their own level of ability and development, and all elements must progress hand-in-hand.
On completion of Degree 4 students have the option to continue intense training in Degree 5 & 6 in preparation for following a vocational pathway in dance, which requires a commitment of attending class 5-6 days a week. Or students can join the senior ballet class and attend once or twice a week only. Students who chose this pathway will not be eligible to sit assessments, they will still have opportunities to perform and can continue to enjoy dancing while gaining all the benefits that dance has to offer.