All students will be carefully placed in the class that is fitting to their technique. SDC reserves the right to determine the class level for every student, regardless of prior training. Class level is not a subject for parent or student negotiation.  We always have your child's best interest and advancement in mind.   If a child is promoted too soon, then he/she will miss some very valuable training.  These children also struggle in the next level, which is unnecessary, frustrating,  and may lead to injury.  A dancer must be challenged but not overwhelmed. Often students coming to SDC with prior experience elsewhere have gaps in their technique or uneven training that needs to be addressed in classes other than their age might suggest.  These students often progress quickly, but they will not be placed above their current ability level.

Students are required to attend all assigned classes according to level and placement.

New students up to age 7 are automatically placed in classes according to their age.

Beginning at age 8, students are placed based on their technique. Assessment classes are required for new students ages 8 and up to determine technique and level placement before registering.

In very rare circumstances, students younger than 8 will be placed in technique classes.

Class placement is generally for the entire academic year but changes will made as recommended by faculty.

The age of one student may differ from the other students. Our emphasis will always be on each student's technical achievement.

Students will be placed by the teacher in the level that will encourage the most progress. It is quite common for a student to stay at the same level for two years or more years., even when they are clearly growing and progressingParticularly in level B and C there is a substantial amount of material for teachers to cover and dancers to learn. This process cannot be rushed further, it is already as efficient as possible.

In some cases a student’s level will be different for ballet than modern or jazz classes.

Progress is closely monitored for each dancer throughout the year.


Pointe work begins at the Intermediate level and can be started anywhere from 9-12 years of age, or later for teens. Some students may be held off pointe until the requisite level of experience, strength, or technical proficiency has been attained or until a particular growth or developmental phase is complete.

There is no benefit whatsoever and some possible harm to starting pointe work too early.

Pointe work is not possible for all foot types, and the Director will speak to a parent if this is the case. Dancers who are also athletes and do a lot of running may also build foot muscle and flexibility that is counter to what is required in point work and will also be advised not to be on pointe. Similarly, tap dance is incompatible with advanced pointe work.

Having a foot that is not suited to pointe work is not the end of the world; there are many other wonderful forms of dance to be explored and enjoyed.


SDC’s curriculum is comprehensive and demanding. Classes, rehearsals or performances at other studios, gyms or theaters are not substitutes for SDC curriculum, not part of SDC curriculum and are not counted toward the hours required of the dancer’s pre-professional level.