Classes Description

Classical Ballet

Menlo Park Academy of Dance (MPAOD) offers classical ballet for all levels and ages, from four years to adults and is credentialed by the Royal Academy of Dance, London to offer the RAD syllabus and annual examinations. MPAOD also recognizes and supports students who want to learn classical ballet recreationally, as well as those who seek competitive and pre-professional opportunities. At the Intermediate and Advanced levels, classes are offered in both RAD syllabus and non-syllabus. Our highly accomplished staff and guest teachers make this high art form accessible and enjoyable.

Level are listed below:

  • Primary 6-7 yrs
  • Ballet I
  • Ballet II
  • Ballet III
  • Ballet IV
  • Ballet V
  • Intermediate Foundation Ballet
  • Intermediate I Ballet
  • Intermediate II Ballet
  • Advanced Foundation I Ballet
  • Advanced Foundation II Ballet
  • Advanced I Ballet
  • Advanced II Ballet

If you are not sure which level to enroll your child to, please contact the office.


Pointe is offered to students who are have gained an Intermediate level of technique, control of turnout and a physically strong body. 


Pre-Ballet is an introductory level course that invites children to explore and enjoy the beautiful discipline of classical ballet. A child’s love of music and dance is fostered in a fun and creative environment that is tailored to a young child’s attentive focus. Young dancers learn basic ballet technique, music appreciation, expression of movement and class decorum to prepare them for more formal classes. Students will also tumble for the last 15 minutes of class. Class level is assigned according to age, determined by the child’s age. 

Pre-Dance & Tap

Pre-Dance & Tap is an introductory course that invites children to explore their love of music and dance through movement exercises, songs and games. The structured classes provide a blend of ballet, tap, jazz, and tumbling in a fun and nurturing environment. Designed with growing young bodies in mind, this class will include instruction on basic technique to increase strength, coordination, and confidence. Students will be asked to bring tap shoes for the second week of class. Class level is assigned according to age, determined by the child’s age. 

Stretch Classes

This class focuses on flexibility and conditioning to further strengthen the students’ technique. The goal of this class is to strengthen the students extension work, foot work, cross training for stamina, and overall flexibility. This class gives the students the opportunity to focus on details of a specific area in their technique they want to work on that they might not have time to work on in other classes. Stretch and strengthening is a way to improve flexibility, but more importantly having the strength to maintain and use flexibility correctly. Lastly, this class gives the students tools and information on how to properly stretch and warm themselves up before any physical activity.


Lyrical is a contemporary dance style that fuses ballet and jazz techniques in order to use movement to express emotion. Movements in Lyrical dance not only demonstrate control and flexibility, but also interpret the meaning of music and lyrics. Students should be concurrently enrolled in a ballet technique class in order to gain a strong foundation of dance technique. 


Jazz is a popular dance style found in everything from theater musicals to music videos. Jazz routines are dynamic and energetic, and include moves such as leaps, kicks, jumps, and turns that develop the dancer’s muscle isolation and body control as well as entertain the audience. Students are strongly encouraged to be enrolled in a ballet technique class in order to gain a strong foundation of dance technique. 


Tap is a unique dance form because it allows the dancer to not only be a performer, but a percussive musician as well. Tap derives it’s name from the rhythmic sounds made when the metal plates hit the floor. Tap has been a favorite dance form for almost 200 years and is a staple of the great American Musical, as well as an excellent workout for the legs. 


Contemporary is taught with a style of ballet that incorporates modern, jazz and neo-classical movements. At times the upper body is exploring and “going beyond” with a range of movements that spill over or twist in an unconventional manner, while the lower half of the body maintains a strong ballet foundation. Contemporary and popular music is used in this class. 

Musical Theater

Musical theater class explores acting and characterization within dance.  The focus is on telling a story through whichever character one plays by stepping away from the self into the life of someone (or something) totally new.  Choreography to songs from musicals is presented in a mix of styles including jazz, character, hip-hop, contemporary, and ballet.  The class will move on to a new musical with new choreography anywhere from a few weeks to a month until preparation for June recital begins with a final selected musical theater number.

Progressing Ballet Technique


Progressing Ballet Technique is an innovative program developed by Australian ballet teacher Marie Walton-Mahon for students to understand the depth of training muscle memory in achieving their personal best in classical ballet. This is the fourth year that PBT classes are being offered at Menlo Park Academy of Dance – one of the only schools on the Peninsula to offer this innovative training system. Classes are taught by Sarah Arnold, one of the very first qualified teachers of PBT in Northern California, is a third level certified PBT instructor.

Required Props for PBT Classes:

All PBT students are required to purchase the following elastic stretch resistance band to personally own and bring to class each week:

The band can be cut in 1/2 since it is 18′ long. Keep the second piece as back up!
PBT students will also use a large ball and a medium ball in every class. The small ball is optional although we highly recommend purchasing one in addition to the large and medium ball.
The studio has a limited number of large and medium balls to borrow each week, however if you would like to personally own your own large, medium and small balls, here are the links:




Acrobatics (Acro for short) focuses on tricks of flexibility or contortion in nature, usually used in dance. These skills are becoming more and more popular in gymnastics, other activities and sports, and focus on body strengthening and control. Benefits include motor coordination, flexibility, balance, agility and self-confidence. Training in Acro overlaps with skills needed in many other sports as well as dance, gymnastics, ice skating and cheer. Classes are styled so that students of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. The goal is for the student to be well rounded and handle exciting choreography for their chosen activity.


Adult Ballet

The Adult Ballet program is open to teens and adults who wish to experience this beautiful art form. Class structure is traditional with a barre and center in which the stance, turnout, proper terminology and musicality are introduced.

Additional benefits include: 
  • improved balance, agility, strength and posture
  • increased flexibility
  • develops core strength
Learn and dance in an artistic and respectful studio environment. Dancers are also invited to join our PBT classes to build muscle memory for their Adult Ballet classes.