American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum

excerpt from A Parent’s Guide to Student Examinations by American Ballet Theatre


Studio Dansu is proud to include the AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE® National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough 9 level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development.  The ABT® National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines to provide the highest quality ballet training to dance students of all ages and skill levels.  Pre-Primary through Level 3 will be taught by ABT® Certified Teacher, Jayme Shimooka, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.


What is the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum?

The ABT National Training Curriculum is a program for the development and training of young students that embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French, Italian and Russian schools of training. Under the direction of ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, ABT’s National Training Curriculum was designed and written by Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens in collaboration with ABT’s Artistic Advisors and the Medical Advisory Board. The ABT National Training Curriculum aims to assist beginning through advanced teachers in training dance students to use their bodies correctly, focusing on kinetics and coordination, as well as anatomy and proper body alignment. Artistically, the National Training Curriculum strives to provide dance students with a rich knowledge of classical ballet technique and the ability to adapt to all styles and techniques of dance.


In May 2006, the United States Congress officially acknowledged American Ballet Theatre as America’s National Ballet Company®. With this honor, ABT is committed to taking a leadership role in dance training in the United States and created the ABT National Training Curriculum.


Studies have shown that ballet training can have astonishing benefits for students, benefits that will stay with them throughout their lives, such as: improved proprioception, coordination, posture and cardiovascular health; as well as discipline and realization of the importance of fulfilling commitments and team-work. Other benefits include self-esteem, communication skills, cultural enrichment and better cognitive abilities, including reading and mathematics.


To raise the quality of training, ABT offers teachers the opportunity to become Certified Teachers of the ABT National Training Curriculum. The ABT National Training Curriculum provides teachers the information and tools needed to implement the best practices in pedagogy, child development, dance psychology and anatomy. To this end the ABT National Training Curriculum established student examinations that provide teachers clear models of what are suitable parameters and expectations.


What are ABT National Training Curriculum Student Examinations?

The ABT National Training Curriculum Student Examinations are a graded examination system.


What occurs during an ABT National Training Curriculum Student Examination?

An adjudicator from the ABT National Training Curriculum Artistic Board of Examiners will observe the students as they perform a prepared examination class. The class is prepared and conducted by the students’ ABT Certified Teacher. The students must have the examination class memorized.

What are the benefits of doing ABT National Training Curriculum Student Examinations?

  • Students are offered the opportunity to have their achievements in dance recognized through entering into ABT National Training Curriculum Examinations and are assessed based on their skill level and artistic presentation.

  • Examinations are a tool to document progress and a way to build confidence in ability.

  • Students receive a personalized Rubric with constructive feedback and a Certificate of Participation with their name, date of the examination, Class Level and Level of Distinction.

How can a student prepare for Examination?

Since the examination class is a culmination of the training the students have received throughout the school year and a way for the students to demonstrate their dedication, students can best prepare for the examinations by:

  • Regularly attending their ballet classes

  • Adhering to the rigor and ritual required

  • Committing to learning and memorizing the work presented by their ABT NTC certified teacher

  • Demonstrating a joy in dancing and artistic presentation


Studio Dansu will be offering student exams on an annual basis, and students will need to have been enrolled for a year (Fall and Summer sessions) to qualify. More information to come in March...

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