What can IDA do for your school?

Here are what some Teachers are saying:

Thank you Merle, Rebecca and Brian for creating this beautiful work

Elizabeth Banke

Director, Dance Studio No. 1, L.A.

IDA has been an excellent addition to my school’s ballet curriculum.

I was privileged to have been on faculty with Merle, Brian and Rebecca for ten years, during which I saw firsthand their dedication to the advancement of dance teachers and their pupils. They were constantly sharing their love and knowledge of proper ballet training. I highly recommend IDA to all dance teachers, as it can highlight any ballet syllabus. I believe it helps enhance the student’s musicality, fluidity of movement, self confidence, and of course his/her technical ability.

My school promotes a non-competitive environment and IDA’s assessment works perfectly with my pedagological philosophies and beliefs!

Heather White Hagar

Owner / Director, Step N' Time's School of Dance Arts

Congratulations on the launch and start of the “official” program!
I look forward to seeing how the word will spread about this wonderful program.
For us, one of the most wonderful qualities of IDA is the diligence of you – the leadership of IDA – to strive for excellence and improve everything you do. It’s contagious, and it’s inspiring.
We are thrilled to use the International Dance Acclaim in our school.

Cynthia Dewar

Founder / Director, South Carolina Christian Dance Theater

Since the Center Pointe Dance Studio (CPDS) is an examination studio located in the Caribbean, students are examined regularly by examiners from the UK. IDA provides USA scrutiny, which is integral component of the training at CPDS.

Having incorporated the IDA work for a second year, I can see both development and increased enjoyment of the program on behalf of the students as they have been excited about moving onto the next level and learning the next dance. Performance quality & confidence is definitely growing amongst the students, as is the acquisition of new technique.

The IDA syllabus accommodates both the recreational and more serious dancer. I especially like the fact that any level can be taken as either an evaluation or assessment as this accommodates all student abilities. The IDA work provides an opportunity for dancers of all abilities to succeed in a ballet program.

I use the assessment option for the all lower levels regardless of technical demonstration, i.e. Levels A & B also some less confident level C’s. By the time students arrive at Level D I look to have all dancers at an evaluation standard. However, I may recommend a ‘late starter’ or special needs candidate to take an assessment award regardless of level.

The students love the award ceremony, as do the parents. I have always received positive feedback from parents as CPDS holds mini performances of mixed level dancers. We aim to have the whole event finished in approximately 1 to 1-1/2hr max., which suits family members and also gives parents insight into the development of both the program and dancer.

CPDS opts to have the medals and certificates presented on stage by the adjudicator at the end of the evaluation process. This is always very much appreciated by the students and parents — receiving the certificates/medals on the day is always a highlight of the event.

Parents and students love the IDA program. They especially like the fact that all students receive the same color medal! Students are then free to share their level of success on a one to one basis if they so wish.

Without doubt any studio would benefit from utilizing the IDA program. It provides a much needed focus to the ballet class. Students love the work and are excited about learning the next dance. The work is up to date, well thought out and progresses appropriately — each level consolidates what was learnt in the previous level whilst providing its own set of challenges at the new higher level. Students at the higher levels also have the opportunity to learn ballet variations.
As a teacher, it makes me think more carefully how we approach allegro/pirouettes, etc. at CPDS, including the drama aspect of dance as I work to encourage the storytelling aspect of the dances. I also love the fact that the IDA program provides me with a syllabus that is both achievable & enjoyable for the recreational dancer.

The IDA faculty have been extremely helpful during the IDA implementation process. As the faculty are teachers, they understand the challenges of teaching new work and also introducing/gaining parental acceptance of a new organization into an already established studio program. Wherever possible, they have accommodated my requests without comprising the integrity of the program.

Anita Gough

Owner/Director, Center Pointe Dance Studio, Grand Cayman

Our names are Pamela McCray and Shanda Hansen from Staunton Academy of Ballet, Virginia.
We have known Merle, Rebecca and Brian for many years and are thrilled with the program they have created. We have been founding members and have been part of the group that have tried and tested the program for the past two years. We just love it, and it has helped our school and our students improve.
Merle, Rebecca and Brian have been so helpful in the implementation of the program in our school. In the beginning we had almost daily telephone sessions where they guided us. After the first awards they offered valuable feedback, tips and encouragement. That first year we struggled, but after the tips we received we were happy with the resulting improvement.
Entering the second year we felt that we had a far better idea of the work and how best to approach it. In some cases we repeated levels to achieve improved skills. We felt that we really knew the areas that we wanted to focus on.
Heading into our third year, we will take note of the list of steps and elements needed for the progression and we will incorporate the material into our class structure in the fall. We like that it provides goals to meet. When the time comes in the New Year for the choreography to be taught, we aim to have prepared our dancers. Once the dancers have performed their IDA work in March, we then enjoy the benefit of utilizing some of the rehearsed steps in our end of year recital.
The earlier introduction of pirouettes scared us at first, but we have worked hard and our students rose to the challenge. Now they are doing really nice pirouettes. The same goes for the batterie, it pushes you but in a realistic way. It is one of the great things about the program as it has made us step up our game and we really like it.
There is a definite difference between the dancers who enter for the IDA and those that do not. This is very evident in the resulting standard even in the kindergarten group, although the majority of our students do enter. Those young children coming back to IDA for the second time are so much better prepared in their ability to learn and retain.
We really appreciated entering our younger and less experienced dancers for the assessment. The option of dancing with a partner and not alone made a huge difference for some. The stress of being graded was removed and all the benefits of working towards a goal and performing for a judge with positive feedback were enjoyed. The parents particularly found it to be a positive and joyous experience. And the children felt confident enough to say that they would dance by themselves in the future.
The awards ceremony is great as the dancers receive a certificate, medal and applause. No one is competing with anyone else, yet they are all working to achieve a standard. We love the fact the medals are all the same, it is not obvious what another dancer’s grade is, so it is all positive. The challenge of working for a higher grade is there for the individual giving an extra push for the following year, but the feeling of achievement is ever present. We loved the fact that some of our dancers requested an extra class per week so that they could improve even more.
We do our awards in a high school theater. We have 1 session on Friday and 3 on Saturday so that no session is too long. After each session we have an award ceremony, it’s instant gratification with lots of cheering and excitement. We also have a photographer taking pictures.
There is a lot of positive feedback from the dancers and their parents. They like that it’s different from a recital and that they see the progression in the dancer’s development. We do all the different levels in each session. We know that other schools may do it differently, but we really like it this way.
A word to prospective teachers thinking about adopting the IDA program in their schools. You might be afraid to start…but do it! We believe that you will be really happy, it is a really positive thing and the way that Merle and Rebecca have set it up, you can tailor it to suit your studio needs. We love it and it works really well.
The IDA has made us realize we should expect more of our dancers and that they will in turn rise to our expectations. We love that! We thank Merle, Rebecca and Brian for giving us this program.

Pamela McCray & Shanda Hansen

Director, Staunton Academy of Ballet


Here are what some Dancers are saying:


Working on IDA brought me back to my training with Merle Sepel and Rebecca Tsivkin. It reminded me how important it is as a professional to always remember your roots. As a young dancer, dissecting a set of exercises always allowed me to dive deeper into the movement and pushed me to try and achieve the unattainable perfection of every step. I feel very fortunate to have been trained by Merle Sepel and Rebecca Tsivkin. They not only taught me the incredible athleticism it takes to dance, but also turned me into an artist. I believe that training with this program would make me a physically stronger dancer as well as expand my artistic quality.

Andrea Yorita


I owe a great deal of my success as a professional dancer to the incredible guidance I received from Merle Sepel and Rebecca Tsivkin. Their training, which is my entire foundation, afforded me a strong, classically clean technique and artistry, which ended up allowing me to diversify even beyond ballet in my professional endeavors. It is a rarity to find teachers so articulate and nurturing.

llana Jonas

San Francisco

I loved being able to experience the IDA syllabus. This program is technically hard while still allowing you to be artistic. Each level has the perfect amount of difficultly, gradually building as one proceeds. Even as a professional ballet dancer I still found the exercises to be challenging. Not only do you have class work, but you also perform a variation. Every dancer wants to be able to execute a variation, so to be given an opportunity is unique. I’m glad I was able to experience the syllabus and can’t wait for students to grow from the program.

I have trained with Merle Sepel and Rebecca Tsivkin from the age of 6 to 18. I am currently in Texas Ballet Theater and can’t thank them enough for all they have taught me! They are a great team who complement each other and encourage you to strive for the best. I appreciate the push they put into creating a strong technical base. Not only do they concentrate on technique, but they want you to perform. I’m glad I trained with Merle Sepel and Rebecca Tsivkin! I wouldn’t be where I am without the efforts that they put into me. They are two people who care for their dancers and only want the best for them.

Amanda Fairweather

Texas Ballet Theater