Ballet for Figure Skaters

AIT Ballet for Figure Skaters’ Coaches Course

Contact: Annette for more information at


 Must have some prior experience in ballet/dance training and a basic understanding of how to count music (understanding of time signatures and musical phrasing)

A free video chat consultation will be set up at the candidate’s convenience so that we can discuss eligibility and goals. Must have prior experience in dance.

Registration: $850 Includes electronic copies of both books and video and the NEW coaches manual!

Ballet for Figure Skaters’ Coaches Course Levels and Descriptions

Based on the Vaganova Teaching Method, These intensive courses are intended for figure skating coaches who wish to gain a strong, working knowledge of Ballet training at its finest as it applies to the figure skater. The Russian Teaching Method of Classical ballet is a true Fine Art form and not just a style of dance, which is based on a concrete pedagogical curriculum working from a graded syllabus. Russian Method Classical training teaches the students to use their bodies “from the inside out” achieving remarkable results through slow, progressive work. These coach’s courses are true pedagogical courses of study based on the Vaganova Methodology of Ballet training, which will teach coaches how to effectively train their skaters to improve both technically and artistically, without injury “from the inside out”.

*Course Levels are based on Annette T. Thomas’ BFFS Program Levels and not the Vaganova Method Levels. Each course level must be successfully competed with a grade of 80% in order to be considered eligible to continue to the next level course. A “passing grade” does not automatically mean an endorsement by the teacher.


A maximum of 2 absences is allowed and a minimum of a 75% test average is required for certification. As ballet training is a precise art and this is a course to certify the instructor in the method, it requires extensive “out of class” assignments in reading, study and video work. On average expect to have 1-2 hours of reading & study outside of class per week, and 1 hour constructing video demonstrations of you teaching the techniques you are learning in class to at least one student. Additionally if you are a ballet instructor taking this course in order to teach figure skaters, you will require access to a rink and a skating student to demonstrate on.

Your video demonstrations with accompanying lesson plans along with the written exams are the primary way in which competency is assessed. Successful completion of all assignments, proper attendance, fulfilling test averages and passing video assessments of teaching competency will result in receiving a Ballet for Figure Skaters – Level 1 Coaches’ Certification, listing with American Ice Theatre as an authorized Preliminary Level instructor of classical ballet for figure skaters, and ongoing consultation for teaching the Preliminary Level.

Course 1 –  Preliminary Level: 

Certification of Completion to teach the Basics of the Ballet for Figure Skaters program which includes:

  • Basic Pedagogy – Methodology in how to teach
  • Basic Music Theory for Movement Trainers
  • Basic Biomechanics and injury prevention for the Preliminary Level
  • Basic Myofascial release and resistance band exercises
  • All Beginning level floor-exercises for alignment, strength, warm up and stretching
  • Fundamental pedagogy in basic ballet barre and centre exercises – Port de bras, and Epaulement.
  • Basic “Skates-on” specialty class
  • Basic on-ice class
  • How to create your own lesson plans

What you can teach at this level – The essentials of the ballet program to children 5+ through adults both off and on-ice.  With the material covered and information given you should be able to create lesson plans which will engage any age and group of skaters for at least a full year of study and practice.

Course 2 – Beginning Level:

This level is the culmination of the Preliminary Level and gives you a Certification of Completion to teach the FULL Beginning Level Ballet for Figure Skaters Program, which includes:

  • Pedagogy for FULL Beginning Level Ballet Barre and Centre exercises – Port de bras, and Epaulement                                     NOTE: there are over 70 steps and poses to be learned just in the beginning level – ALL of which are beneficial to figure skaters. To learn to teach them all correctly (not just as choreography) and how to apply them all to the needs of the figure skater is “no mean feat”.
  • Extended floor and stretching exercise
  • Full Beginning Level “Skates-on” specialty class
  • Full Beginning Level on-ice class

What you can teach at this level – The FULL ballet program to children ages c.9 through adults both off and on-ice.  With the material covered and information given you should be able to create lesson plans which will engage anyone in this age bracket and/or group of skaters for several ensuing years of study and practice.

Course 3 – Intermediate/Advanced Level (Lessons ONLY by invitation of the instructor)

Certification of Completion to teach the Intermediate Level of the Ballet for Figure Skaters Program. This program is considered for advanced and elite skaters and will equip you to teach the program at any and all levels of accomplishment.

  • Intermediate/advanced music appreciation and theory for movement trainers
  • Pedagogical studies for selected portions of the Intermediate syllabus as applies to figure skaters
  • Advanced Floor –Barre, alignment and stretching techniques
  • Intermediate/Advanced Level on-ice classes
  • Intermediate/Advanced Lesson planning and choreographic considerations 

Annette T. Thomas is founder of “Ballet for Figure Skaters” which has a continuous following since 1999, and former director of Russian Ballet at Brookfield Centre for the Arts. She has been teaching Russian Technique Ballet (Vaganova Method) and Character Dance for over 30 years and has dedicated herself to providing her students with the very highest quality in classical ballet training. This is the method, which was founded by Agrippina Y. Vaganova and is currently used to train the dancers at the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet. Annette also teaches Floor-Barre alignment and injury prevention as part of her program.

Originally trained at Carnegie Hall by the late Maria Nevelska of the Bolshoi Ballet, Annette continued her studies with Ana Garcia of the San Juan Ballet Company, Marguerite De Anguera of the Connecticut Regional Ballet Company and Mme. Alexandra Danilova of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Annette has traveled the world gaining extensive training in various forms of dance such as Flamenco, Modern, Folkloric and Character Dance. She has studied the pedagogy of Russian Classical Ballet with Mme. Nevelska and under the tutelage of her mother who studied ballet pedagogy with the famed John Barker. She received her Certificate of Completion of the First Class Pedagogical Course for the Study of Classical Ballet in 2005 from one of America’s leading pedagogues Dr. Peggy Willis-Aarnio.

Annette has been teaching ballet to figure skaters for over 30 years and is the creator of the original “Ballet for Figure Skaters” program and website. She is the author of two internationally successful books: “Fundamentals of Alignment and Classical Movement for Figure Skaters” and “Lessons in Classical Ballet for the Figure Skater”, and the more recent DVD “Lessons in ballet for Figure Skaters Level -1” She has published numerous articles on dance, exercise, alignment, imagery and injury prevention. She is a member of the Kettle Moraine Figure Skating Club in West Bend Wisconsin, the United States Figure Skating Association and an associate member of the Professional Skaters Association

Copyright © 2015 Annette T. Thomas

Contact Annette to register!


Brooke Frieling I recommend the Ballet for Figure Skaters course to coaches who want to take their students to the next level. Annette is an expert in her field, you will not want to miss this opportunity!

Gianine Craw – Annette’s class has given me a new outlook on ballet and the tremendous role it plays in developing strong, flexible, graceful and artistic skaters.  This course has opened my eyes to a whole new way of  thinking and teaching/coaching.   While the course focuses on ballet pedagogy, it is really a course to becoming a better coach.  I have higher expectations for myself and my students. Ballet is the medium we use to craft skaters who are thoughtful, strong, flexible, graceful and disciplined.  I have learned so much and have been able to put it to immediate use in  my private  lessons and with my theatre group.  I am excited to see how my skaters will develop over the coming months.

Oxana Anichkina  “I enjoyed this course very much, as it took me back to the years I skated in Russia and we used to take Ballet lessons 2 days a week after skating sessions; but, this time I was on the other side – not taking it, but learning how to teach it to my current and future skating students. Annette is a very passionate and patient teacher with many years of experience in ballet pedagogy. She always gave me the comprehensive information I needed and made sure that I understood it to the fullest. Topics included music theory, biomechanics of stretching, and even how to become a better teacher.
Foundation is the key to growth, superb qualities and successful future in teaching figure skating with excellence. This course will give you all comprehensive insights into this and it will be up to you, as a coach/teacher, where you will want to take it.
Enjoy and Good luck!”

Oxana Anichkina
ISA APSA accredited level 2 figure skating coach
Founder and Director of “Synergy Figure Skating Group”


Video Testimonial

Course created and taught by Annette Thomas

More information?  Click articles below:

Ballet Pedagogical Studies

Why learn to teach Ballet for Figure Skaters

Contact Annette to register!

Copyright 2017