Classical Dance Australia - CDA

Classical Dance Australia - CDA

3 Royle Avenue
Kallista, VIC 3791

03 9755 3475; 0418 225 627




Present Director: John Byrne.
Tutor: Benita Whalley.
Examiners: John Byrne and Benita Whalley

Mr. Byrne has had a varied and extensive international career as dancer, teacher, lecturer and examiner over a period of nearly 40 years. He is a former Artistic Director, and Chairman of Examiners, of the Royal Academy of Dance in London,  and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading teachers of classical ballet. He has been honoured with a Fellowship of the  Royal Academy and is included in the UK edition of Who’s Who in recognition of his contribution to ballet education.


Classical Ballet at Vocational level.


The pass mark in examinations is 50%. Pass marks range from 50-59%, Pass Plus 60-69 %, Commended 70-79%, Highly commended 80-89 % and Honours, 90% and above. Students are required to pass in each section of the examination so that there is some consistency of standard over the range of work studied.


Students are provided with a written report as well as a mark, and a certificate stating their level of achievement. Teachers also receive a feedback report on their entry. The examination itself is worth 70 % of the overall result and the remaining 30 % is provided by a teacher’s mark based on the students’s Attendance, Application, and Achievement over the course of study.

There are no formal examination sessions during the year. Teachers who wish to have their students examined can make individual arrangements with CDA.


There are no teaching qualification courses offered by CDA at the present time.


The aim of the CDA Syllabus is to produce a complete classical dancer - a dancer who has both a pure classical technique and an artistic and musical approach to performance. It will appeal to the student with a more serious and committed approach. The work created by Mr. Byrne for CDA reflects some of his experience and knowledge of the English School, but it is also significantly influenced by the principles of the VAGANOVA system of Russian training, particularly in the areas of épaulement and port de bras, co-ordination, musical phrasing, and the total involvement of the whole body in movement.

Most vocational training throughout the world is now based on the Vaganova system and the CDA work has been created  with this in mind. It is compatible with that system and it provides a bridge towards the kind of vocational training students will face if they go on to further pre-professional study. There is a strong emphasis on basic training in the CDA syllabus. The  establishment of sound technical fundamentals based on a correct postural platform is a top priority of the work. Technical elements are studied individually rather than in choreographed combinations, and there are also plenty of opportunities to develop artistry and musicality. The syllabus concludes with several dance enchaînements which place key steps in a more choreographed setting in different styles, and which incorporate an expansive use of space and floor pattern. The syllabus is for both girls and boys, and includes pointe work. Syllabus books, CDE’s and DVD’s are only available to teachers who attend a course.

The PREPARATORY SYLLABUS was released in early 2016 and has been taught to over 400 teachers in Australasia, Asia and Europe. It is equivalent in standard to Intermediate Foundation, though it has also been used by some teachers at   Grade 5 level. Teachers may use the syllabus in various ways: as training which supports another syllabus; as structured material for free classes, or as a stand alone syllabus complete in itself.

VOCATIONAL LEVEL 1, equivalent to Intermediate, is due for release in early 2018. Future plans include the development of 2 further levels up to an Advanced standard. Two training DVD’s are also in the pipeline - POSTURE, PLACEMENT AND THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF TECHNIQUE and THE ART AND ANATOMY OF PORT DE BRAS. With the completion of the 4 vocational levels and the 2 training DVD’s, teachers will have a comprehensive and valuable portfolio of training materials for their vocational students.

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