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Classical Ballet School

Classical Ballet StudentThe Classical Ballet School offers training in classical ballet (Russian Vaganova and British Royal Ballet styles with RAD syllabus), pointe, variations, national dance, conditioning, and contemporary dance, as well as ISTD Modern Theatre Dance. Students may perform in The Nutcracker and the Annual Performances.

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Pre-School Dance Classes (ages 3-5 yrs)

Our Pre-School Dance classes are scheduled in 3-month sessions during  Autumn, Winter and Spring.  Students may enrol in one, two or all three of the sessions over the year. Each session provides fun-filled and structured lessons in musicality, spacial awareness, creative movement, and coordination exercises, and culminates in costumed performances for friends and family.

While our school year classes normally require a commitment from September to June, we understand that 10 months can be a long duration for our very young students.  The November and March performances are held in our largest studio, while the June performance is part of our Annual School Performance at the Clarke Theatre.  (View Schedules)

Ballet Pre-Primary and Primary Classes (ages 5-7 yrs)

Students are introduced to the basics of dance in the Ballet Preparation and Ballet 1 Foundation levels,  developing musicality and creative movement.  Children learn the basics of the balance, posture, flexibility, strength and discipline required for all dance forms. Classes are based on a combination of Vaganova, Cecchetti and Royal Academy of Dance syllabus.  (View Schedules)

Ballet Levels 1-12

After Ballet Primary, students progress through the FVAD syllabus starting with Ballet 1, at age 6-7, and continuing to Ballet 12 at age 16+.

FVAD ballet classes combine the basic RAD syllabus with more advanced open technique of the Russian Vaganova Academy, Italian Cecchetti and British Royal Ballet styles.

Students are introduced to National Dance training (European folk dances) at Ballet 2, continuing this essential aspect of classical ballet training in special classes to Ballet 4.  Conditioning class (including floor barre, stretch-strength and PBT training) is introduced from level 3 at this level to enhance students’ flexibility and strength required for classical ballet.

Students are required to train in a minimum of two ballet classes per week from Ballet 1 and beyond.  Students in levels 1-5 are encouraged to take ISTD Modern and National Dance, and students in levels 6-10 add Contemporary and Pointe for complete training.  (View Schedules)

National Dance 2-4

In National Dance, students learn the exciting styles of International Folk Dances used in so many classical ballets, and a core part of Vaganova Academy and Royal Ballet School training.  (View Schedules)


Conditioning allows students to increase their flexibility and strength specifically for dance to improve both their quality and technical ability.  While flexibility is an extremely important aspect of dance training, it is essential that students also develop the strength to manage this flexibility in order to help prevent injuries.  Students learn age-appropriate elements of floor barre, stretch-strength and PBT training.

Pointe Preparation 5

Pointe preparation is done for one year at the Ballet 5 level to strengthen feet, legs and alignment, and to determine which students are capable of pointe work.  Students learn the techniques of pointe work in this class while in ballet slippers.

Assessments occur twice each year to determine whether or not students have the strength and alignment required for pointe.  Due to the severe risk of injury if not properly prepared, and understanding that a student’s entire weight is placed on their toes, our students only progress to full pointe work if physically and emotionally capable.  Some students may receive initial approval for pointe work at the barre only.  (View Schedules)

Major company schools, such as the Royal Ballet School, can put entire classes on pointe at the same time as the students have already been selected by audition to the school to have the correct alignment, strength, posture and ability.  However, local ballet schools must consider each individual student and be aware that not every student can safely go on pointe.  Students not safely approved to be on pointe continue in their ballet training may still continue all classes in soft shoe.

Pointe 6-12

Pointe work is an essential aspect of professional classical ballet for girls which, due to risk of serious injury, must always be approached with care.  However, it is not a required part of ballet training for the recreational student, and all students may continue in Pointe+Variations class whether on pointe or in soft shoes.  (View Schedules)

Boys’ Ballet

Boys’ Ballet classes with Mr. Carney provide a nurturing environment which encourage boys in their ballet training.  The boys work on strength, agility, and flexibility, and learn the techniques and steps specific to the male dancer.

As boys mature, the Boys’ Ballet classes provide the advanced training required for boys to become successful ballet dancers.  The boys enhance their strength, agility and flexibility, further developing the virtuosity specific to the male ballet dancer. (View Schedules)

Contemporary 6-12

Contemporary Ballet is a genre of dance that incorporates elements of both classical ballet and modern dance.  Contemporary, by definition, means happening or existing at the same time, and is often used to describe works that are created in the present or recent past.

Carney Technique Contemporary Ballet merges classical ballet with modern dance influenced by Mr. Carney’s work with Merce Cunningham.  Mr. Carney developed this technique as a bridge between classical ballet and contemporary dance while teaching at the Royal Ballet School and Rambert School in London, England. The elements of Carney Technique involve variations on the techniques and movements of classical ballet, and therefore require a solid base in ballet.

Contemporary Dance combines the strong, controlled legwork of classical ballet, with elements of modern dance, focusing on the contract and release of the body, and the unpreditable changes in rhythm, speed and direction.  It also employs floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation characteristics of modern dance.

Rambert Grades Contemporary Dance is a pioneering syllabus born from the partnership between two of the world’s leading contemporary dance organisations: Rambert Dance Company and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London, England.

Mr. Carney, FVAD’s Artistic Director, was a dancer with Rambert Dance Company from 1985 to 1989, and was later a teacher at the Rambert School.  He is incredibly proud to be bringing his past into his present by introducing this wonderful new syllabus to his students here in Mission from 2023.

Students may begin training in Contemporary at the Ballet 6 level. (View Schedules)

Academy Programs

The Academy Programs begin at Ballet 2 to provide pre-professional training for students with potential for Canada’s National Ballet School, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and other company-affiliated professional training schools.  Students are invited into the Academy Program by Mr. Carney, and enrolled in special Academy Class to monitor their progress and advise on training.

Please visit the Pre-Professional Academy page for more information.

Academy Program

Students enter the Academy program for Ballet 2 to 12 by invitation of the Artistic Director, and then enrolling in the required classes at their level.  For example, students invited to Mr. Carney’s Academy 2 Class must enrol in Ballet 2a, Ballet 2b, and National 2 in order to join the Academy program.  Academy students have the option to perform in the annual Nutcracker in December, the Surrey Festival of Dance in April and in the School Performance in June.

Academy students receive extra guidance in their training learning advanced skills such as mime and artistry as well as furthering their technique, plus classical ballet history, audition preparation and choreographic development.

Junior Academy Classes

Academy LevelClasses per level
Academy 2Ballet 2a, Ballet 2b, National Dance 2
Academy 3Ballet 3a, Ballet 3b, National Dance 3
Academy 4Ballet 4a, Ballet 4b, Modern+Jazz 4, National Dance 4

Academy Youth Company

Students enter the Academy Youth Company in Ballet 8 to 12 by invitation of the Artistic Director, and then enrolling in the required classes at their level.  Academy Youth Company perform in the annual Nutcracker in December, the Surrey Festival of Dance in April, the School Performance in June, and represent FVAD in community events during the year.

Senior Academy Classes

Academy LevelClasses per level
Academy 5Ballet 5a, 5b, Modern+Jazz 5 and/or Contemporary 5,
Pointe Prep 5
Academy 6Ballet 6a, 6b,
Contemporary 6, Pointe 6, Modern+Jazz 6
Academy 7Ballet 7a, 7b, 7c, Contemporary 7, Pointe 7, Modern+Jazz 7
Academy 8Ballet 8a, 8b, 8c, Contemporary 8, Pointe 8, Modern+Jazz 8
Academy 9Ballet 9a, 9b, 9c, Contemporary 9, Pointe 9, Modern+Jazz 9

Academy Master Class 2-12

As part of the Academy program, the Academy Master Classes in ballet provides additional training for students expressing a serious interest in ballet training.  Students train with Mr. Carney in advanced techniques beyond their ballet class level, as would occur at major ballet company schools.  Students must be taking all recommended classes in their current ballet level, as defined by the Academy Program, before accepting an invitation into the Academy Class.

Students in Academy Classes must display a strong focus, dedication and passion for their training.  These characteristics may change over the year, so students must be aware that their enrolment will be reviewed each year. Students should always present their best at all times in all classes.

Private Coaching

A limited amount of studio time is available for private coaching for students who wish to advance their training in a one-to-one setting.  Each request will be evaluated based on the student’s current performance, their dedication and commitment to their training, and their motivation to improve their current level.  Please contact the office with any request for private coaching.

Students must be approved for Private Coaching by Mr. Carney.

Syllabi and Assessments

Vaganova Syllabus

Originally developed by the Russian dancer and pedagogue Mme. Agrippina Vaganova over one hundred years ago, the internationally renowned Vaganova Syllabus fuses the romantic style of the French ballet and dramatic soulfulness of the Russian character with the athletic virtuosity that characterizes the Italian school.  This notated and progressive training program has produced some of the best dancers in the world including Anna Pavlova, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolph Nureyev, choreographer George Balanchine, and professional dancers found in almost every company in the world. 

The Vaganova method is designed to involve the whole body in every movement, with equal attention paid to the upper body, legs and feet, thus increasing consciousness of the body, and creating a harmony of movement and greater expressive range.  The syllabus emphasizes the development of both technical proficiency and individual artistry, with a complete range of expression that comes out of proper placement and a strong classical dance foundation.

Students at Vaganova-based schools are expected to take daily courses in ballet as well as character (folk) dance, modern dance, calisthenics/strengthening, and study dance history, music, and language.  At Vaganova-based pre-professional schools, students also take courses in choreography and pedagogy.  Unlike other classical ballet school syllabi, these two subjects allow Vaganova-trained students of all abilities to go on to become both choreographers and well-trained teachers.

Royal Academy of Dance – RAD Syllabus

The Royal Academy of Dance ( RAD – pronounced “R. A. D.” not “Rad” ) is one of the world’s most influential dance education organisations.  Founded in 1920, its intention was to set standards for teachers within the UK, ensuring a consistent approach in training particularly for teachers who had not been professional dancers.  Today, the RAD has a presence in 83 countries, with 36 offices, over 14,000 members worldwide, and more than a quarter of a million students are being examined on RAD syllabi.

Fraser Valley Academy of Dance – FVAD Syllabus

Fraser Valley Academy of Dance has developed its own syllabus which incorporates the RAD syllabus, but expands greatly on that book-based syllabus training to include the more advanced techniques taught by former professional dancers at the Vaganova Academy and Royal Ballet Schools.

Since first experiencing the Bolshoi Ballet performing the original production of Spartacus with Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekatarina Maximova on stage in London in the early 1970’s, Mr. Carney has held the Russian technique in very high esteem.  While his training at the Royal Ballet School with former dancers of the Royal Ballet provided the exceptional training required for his professional career that would span two decades touring the world, he never forgot the impression of the dramatic Russian style, technique and artistry.

As with the Royal Ballet Company and School today, which hire both British-trained and Russian-trained dancers and teachers, Mr. Carney believes that the marriage of the British Royal Ballet style with the Russian Vaganova method offers the strongest form of classical ballet training in strength, technique, movement and artistry.  It is this union of traditional, classical methods that is the basis for the Fraser Valley Academy of Dance Syllabus.

The results speak for themselves as our students are accepted every year into prestigious Pre-Professional and Post-Secondary Training Programs in Dance and Performing Arts schools around the world – receiving over 115 invitations to ballet company schools and performing arts colleges!  Read our Student Achievements page for further details.

Internal Assessments & Report Cards

Our students are assessed internally twice each year, receiving formal report cards. As our teachers are primarily former professional dancers who have been trained by former professional dancers, FVAD is able to train students beyond a basic ballet syllabus, allowing them to cover more advanced technique at each level.

Placements for the following year are based on the assessment of this syllabus.

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