School of Ballet San Antonio aims to teach students the art of ballet and its history

Summer camp registration open now

SAN ANTONIO – Ballet is a sport, a dance, and an art with a long history. The School of Ballet San Antonio aims to teach children all aspects of the dance when they attend its programs.

The school opened its doors in San Antonio three years ago, but its parent company has operated nationwide for over 30 years.

“I find that if you have a school attached to the company, then those kids get exposed to the arts and the full journey of what that looks like,” said Sofiane Sylve, artistic director of the School of Ballet San Antonio.

This ballet school is unique because it solely teaches the French Syllabus.

“The French Syllabus is the mother language of ballet. It’s the original codification of ballet that they still teach in Paris, and it’s been passed down from person to person,” said Michele Dement, associate director of the School of Ballet San Antonio.

Kids who enroll in classes with the SBSA will learn all the ballet terms, which are in French, and the history of the art form.

Ballet began in the 15th and 16th centuries. It started in the Italian Renaissance to entertain the royal courts. Eventually, it made its way to France, where it grew into the ballet we know today.

“Ballet steps are quantified in French, so (we’re) making sure (the students) know what it means because the ballet actually means what you’re doing,” Sylve said.

Some of those terms include:

  • Plié-to bend
  • Dégagé-to disengage from one place to another
  • Rond De Jambe-the circle of the leg
  • Fondu-to melt

“We get a little language, as well as learning what it means for your body because you’re trying to train the muscle tone a certain way,” said Sylve.

Speaking of training the body, ballerinas must train for hours daily and keep up with their health to ensure their bodies are strong enough to make it through three-hour performances.

“Ballet dancers at the professional level are athletes, the same way you watch the Olympics. I think because it’s an art form and you don’t have a scoring part, people maybe don’t actually associate it with that,” Sylve said.

Sylve and Dement encourage parents to enroll their kids in ballet. They say it not only teaches the art of ballet but also helps teach discipline, responsibility, work ethic and how to perform.

To help kids get started, the SBSA has summer camps open now.

The camps are open to children ages 4 to 10. Students will spend a week learning a themed ballet, making costumes, and learning about set design, and then they will perform for their parents and family.

Here are the camps and their dates:

  • Fairy Tale Fun: June 17-June 21
    • Kids will explore classical story ballets like “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake” and “Coppelia.”
  • Peter Pan: June 24-June 28
    • Kids will spend a week in Neverland learning about the ballet “Peter Pan”
  • Epic Villains: July 8-July 12
    • Kids get to explore being the bad guys. They’ll learn roles like Black Swann, the Rat King and Cinderella’s stepmother
  • The Nutcracker: July 15-July 19
    • Christmas in July! Kids get to learn a classic ballet.

You can register for any of the camps by clicking here.

“You can sign up as late as the night before,” said Dement.

About the Author

Halee Powers is a KSAT producer primarily focused on digital newscasts and events.

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