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Training Methods

Classical Ballet & Pointe Work (invitation only) – Ballet Academic Division Ages 10+

Capitol City Dance Academy implements the Vaganova Method of teaching classical ballet, and Agrippina Vaganova developed this method. This method fused the romantic style of the French ballet and dramatic soulfulness of the Russian character with the athletic virtuosity that characterizes the Italian school to reform the old imperial style of ballet teaching.
Vaganova was a student at the Imperial Ballet School in Saint Petersburg, graduating in 1897 to dance professionally with the school’s parent company, the Imperial Russian Ballet. She retired from dancing in 1916 to pursue a teaching career. Following the Russian revolution of 1917, she returned to the school as a teacher in 1921. This method has become known worldwide as the Vaganova method and led to her being made the director of the school, training some of the most famous dancers in history.
In 1948, Vaganova authored a book titled “The Foundation For Dance.” The book outlined her ideas on ballet technique and pedagogy. This notated, and progressive training program has produced some of the best dancers in the world, including Anna Pavlova, Natalia Makarova, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, and professional dancers in almost every company worldwide. Capitol City Dance Academy trains from the same syllabus with added elements from the Balanchine method.
The Vaganova method is considered to be very clean, with precise movements that express clean lines yet softness underneath. Even though a Vaganova-trained dancer would be powerful and clean, she/he would still be soft and perform well on stage without robotic stiffness.
There are eight levels up to diploma that this international syllabus follows. Early training focuses on epaulement, or the stylized turning of the shoulders and body, which is partnered with the development of total stability and strength in the back to produce harmonious coordination of the body and continuity of movement. This core of strength enables consistently precise, natural movement of the body; the training in epaulement, in turn, instills in the dancer intuitive anticipation of how best to use every part of his or her body to evoke breathtaking results, right down to the hands and eyes.
The Vaganova Method’s codified technical approach thus makes for INJURY-FREE training emphasizing the simultaneous development of both technical proficiency and individual artistry, and a complete range of move thoughtful expression that comes out of proper placement and a strong classical dance foundation. This scientifically proven method involves the systematic study of all ballet movements by breaking them down into their separate elements and is characterized by impeccable precision, attention to detail, ease of execution, emotion-evoking grace, and individual creativity.


Our contemporary dance stresses versatility and improvisation, unlike the strict, structured nature of ballet. We focus on floorwork, using gravity to pull the dancer to the floor. This style of dance is often done barefoot, or with “footundeez” to protect the balls of the feet. Contemporary dance can be performed with many different styles of music. In our contemporary classes, we work with the dancer on freedom of movement, allowing the dancers to learn how to move their body to freely, express their innermost feelings. Contemporary dance can be performed with many different styles of music with or without vocal lyrics. Our contemporary dance is an eclectic mix of styles, drawing from ballet, modern, and “post-modern” forms of dance. Our dancers are taught to express a story and an idea that must be delivered through their contemporary performance.


Capitol City Dance Academy’s Lyrical dance is a fusion of ballet and jazz techniques. Our Lyrical dance will challenge dancers to use their emotion to interpret music and express emotion. A lyrical dancer’s movement attempts to show the meaning of the music. Lyrical jazz is a very passionate and emotional dance style. It portrays certain emotions such as love and tells a story through every movement made. We focus on teaching out students choreography that is often emotional, gripping, and exquisitely delicate, all at the same time. Lyrical dance is the style of dance that brings a song to life before your eyes.

Jazz & Musical Theatre

Jazz at Capitol City Dance Academy utilizes a dancer’s foundation in ballet to teach them the fundamentals of jazz dance, one of the most popular styles of dance. Dancers will be taught to learn all styles of jazz from LA jazz to NY jazz, with a particular focus on technique, flexibility, musicality, and attitude/personality. All jazz classes will also incorporate Musical Theatre dance in order to help each dancer gain a bit more versatility, utilize their technique in a stylized manner, and to assist each dancer in developing a strong personality and performance.


Tap at Capitol City Dance Academy focuses primarily on the Broadway Tap style of tap dancing, focusing heavily on strong tap technique and utilizing core foundational elements learned in ballet and jazz. Our instructors believe in the clean mastery of one tap level before progressing to the next, focusing not only on basic tap technique but by teaching the dancer how to also use their body as an instrument. Our instructors have taken with such renowned tap teachers/masters such as Berle Davis and Sam Weber, both of whom taught in the style developed by tap master Stanley Kahn. Dancers will learn technique and choreography that has been popularized in Broadway musicals, classic Hollywood, and the Radio City Rockettes. We highly recommend Tap as one of the easiest ways for a dancer to become more versatile.

Jazz Funk

Our Jazz Funk, also called Street Jazz, borrows much movement from other dance styles. From ballet, modern, hip-hop, to lyrical, jazz funk incorporates little bits and pieces of other dance genres and wraps into a funky style that is both fun and expressive. Many of the movements are foundational movements found in Jazz such as isolations, flexibility syncopation (offbeat), releves, pirouettes, rolled shoulders, jazz hands. Hip-Hop foundational movements are similar in that they include: isolations, flexibility, and some syncopated movements (especially with the newer music such as today’s pop, dubstep, R&B sounds. What makes Hip-Hop differ is that it uses the lower center of gravity, feet are grounded, most of the time on the beat. When these styles merge, we have a hybrid, such as Jazz Funk. This style of dance is of the body and mind. It can be lyrical in the sense of emotional interpretation. Maybe a dancer will gracefully shuffle on a beat and then quickly hit isolations with strong intensity. Movements are soft – then hard – then soft again. Jazz Funk is a fun and upbeat mix of many styles.

Combo Classes: Ages 3-4 & 5-6

Capitol City Dance Academy’s combo classes teach tiny dancers the core basics of both ballet and tap. These classes are specific to the age groups, and students must qualify for the class by age alone. In these classes, they learn ballet in a fun and engaging environment, a bit more playful than what they will have in their later years of training. For ages 3-4 the class is 45 minutes long to accommodate to the shorter attention spans they little ones have. The 5-6 age group pushes the time frame a bit longer for a solid 1-hour class splitting 30 minutes of ballet with 30 minutes of tap. Through these classes, your child will learn to dance but also learn to work with other students in their class, to be respectful, listen, follow along, and take direction from their instructor. If you are looking to get your child started in dance, we highly recommend starting them off young in either one of our combo classes or our Ballet Preparatory classes.

Preparatory Ballet Division

Ballet Prep 2 Ages 5-6 & Ballet Prep 3 Ages 7-9
Our preparatory division focuses on the core foundation of ballet to prepare the young dancer for the rigors of our academic division's curriculum. The class for ages 5-6 will be a bit more playful than the class for ages 7-9. They will learn proper alignment of the body that will help the dancer to achieve appropriate muscular development, which will prevent injury in the later training years. We focus a lot on flexibility, teaching our dancer safe and correct ways to attain their splits and back flexibility necessary for a ballet dancer. Dancers will work on the floor, at the barre, in the center, and across the diagonal.