Our Training Programs

The team of master teachers, led by Margaret Swarthout, have worked together and trained dancers for over twenty five years. They have designed four unique programs that carefully guide students of all ages from beginning to advanced level technique.

Introduction to Dance Division

Vicki-Marie Bassing, Assistant School Director, brings over 20 years  experience working with young dancers in the Bay Area.  In collaboration with Lynn Cox, MDT's School Director, a strong program has been designed for the Introduction to Dance, Pre Ballet Classes and Elementary Classes. Each of these levels introduces the child to the art of ballet through a gentle, fun and nurturing environment.


Introduction to Ballet
These classes introduce 3-4 year olds to a class room situation in a relaxed way through fun and challenging work. They learn socialization skills, improve coordination abilities and develop their imagination. They are introduced to ballet's basic foot and arm positions.

These classes are designed for 4-6 year olds. They are introduced to more of the basic positions of the feet and arms, as well as beginning preliminary steps plies, tendus, sautīs, passīs, body placement, polka. Again, their classes include exercises that develop and encourage musicality and imagination, as well as their passion for dance.

These classes begin to expose the dancers to more technique, emphasizing body placement, use of the foot, coordinating arms and legs in their exercises, building on their music awareness and challenging them with combinations of steps.

Young Dancer Division

Young Dancer Division Director Vicki-Marie Bassing brings over 20 years experience working with young dancers in the Bay Area to Marin Dance Theatre. Again, in collaboration with Lynn Cox, School Director,  an extensive program has been created for the Junior classes. The classes are designed to expand the studentī's physical abilities, body awareness, as well as love and respect for the art of ballet. Socialization skills are developed through fostering self-discipline and focus.


These classes introduce a more structured classical ballet curriculum with pre-pointe and pointe classes. The children also explore musicality through exposure to classical music.  These classes reflect Marin Dance Theatre's curriculum, giving the students the strong foundation necessary to begin  the more advanced training in Marin Dance Theatre's Senior Levels. 

Senior/Career Bound Division


The advanced training program is based on an understanding of the kinesthetics of the body and the physics of movement which allows each student to work with their body rather than against it. Through the training, students become aware of their own possibilities and learn to correct and strengthen their bodies. In addition to learning technique, students receive intensive training in musicality, rhythm and phrasing which are essential to artistic interpretation. The senior teaching faculty of MDT has an impressive background with both national and international company affiliations. They have trained and placed dancers in both companies, colleges and universities for more than a decade.



All of these dancers have an opportunity to perform several times during the year. Many are included in Marin Dance Theatre's major holiday production of Sophie and the Enchanted Toy Shop performed at the Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael. CA.

Adult/Teen Division

Nancy Gallenson, former member of Ballet West, designed a unique training program for adults and teens.  If you are seeking an educational dance atmosphere that is supportive, demanding, and fun, this program is for you. The MDT Adult/Teen Division boasts former professional dancers, dance teachers, men, women, and teens who just love to dance and have discovered the benefits ballet offers for complete physical fitness