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Archive for Ballet

Ms. Lisa’s Dance Studio Interview with Lisa Schmiedeke

Lisa SchmiedekeLisa Schmiedeke, Owner, Director and Teacher of Ms. Lisa’s Dance Studio in Tampa, Florida, says that when a little girl walks into Ms. Lisa’s Dance Studio they seem to shine.  They will twirl with excitement as their imaginations and creativity come alive.  The teachers encourage their dancers while teaching them a strong technique. They offer all genre of dance at Ms. Lisa’s.

In Lisa’s opinion, their dance studio is unique among other dance studios for a number of reasons. At her studio, dancers start at 18 months of age with their Baby Ballerina classes and go up to high school students.  They are a family run business.  They strive to work on building each individual’s confidence while the student is learning strong ballet technique.  They want their studio to be a place where lasting friendships grow and develop.  Some of Lisa’s dancers have been with her for over 13 years and have told her their dance friends are their best friends.  They have both recreational and competitive dance teams.  In today’s society, young girls are often bullied and feel so much pressure amongst their peers.  At Ms. Lisa’s, they want their studio to be a place where their students can unwind and be themselves (more…)

Dance Electric Dance Academy Interview with Angela Bowden Parker

ballet pointe starTo their dancers, Dance Electric Dance Academy in Tallahassee, Florida, is a home away from home. They pride themselves on knowing their dancers and their families. It is a space where you are free to be yourself and express yourself, where everyone understands they all have good days and bad days. They focus on the individual and their growth and believe the only competition you should be worried about is the one between yourself and your own goals. They are simply a small studio where family is everything.

In the opinion of Angela Bowden Parker, Owner and Director, what separates their studio from other dance studios is their southern hospitality and family atmosphere. Their teachers and families really know each other and support one another through not just dance but all aspects in their lives.

For Angela, her proudest moment happens every week. It is watching that student who has struggled with a step or skill and refuses to give up or that exact moment when they hit that double or triple turn or finally get their splits. The pride you see in their eyes, the fact they look 10 feet taller. It is those moments that make her heart soar.

ballet barre pointeAngela believes that (more…)

Murrieta Mesa High School Dance Program Interview with Penny Chidester

“. . . the biggest mistake she sees dancers make is their thinking being a good dancer is all about the ability to do “tricks.”

Murrieta Mesa High School in Murrieta, California, is a comprehensive public high school offering a full curriculum of dance classes ranging from beginning to advanced. There are performance opportunities throughout the school year for all dance program students. The two big shows are the winter dance showcase and the spring dance production. There is an extracurricular dance team for those dancers who want to be more involved with the school beyond the class and stage experience.dscn1589-2crop

In the opinion of Penny Chidester, the Dance Program Director, what sets their program apart from other high school dance programs is the fact that there is a place for any student who has the desire to learn about the art and skill of dance.

Penny’s proudest moment as a dance coach occurred when the music cut out in the middle of a dance team performance in a packed gym at a varsity basketball game halftime. The dance team continued to the end of the dance without skipping a beat and received a standing ovation from everybody in the gym. It made her (more…)

Spisak Dance Academy Interview with April Spisak Nelson

April Spisak NelsonSpisak Dance Academy in Glendale, Arizona, was established in 1960 by Ann Spisak. April Spisak Nelson is the present owner, director and educator of the school.

Ann Spisak is still teaching at the studio and is also the Artistic Director and Wardrobe Mistress for the Jataba Dance Troupe, Inc., a separate, non-profit entity of the school. Spisak Dance has been educating dancers from pre-school through professional levels in all subjects.

In April’s opinion, what separates Spisak Dance Academy from other dance studios is the 56 years they have been in the dance school business!  She claims they have seen it all — the trends, fashions, styles—and are proud of their traditional education while keeping up with the latest dancing methods and insisting on age appropriate costuming, choreography, and music choices.

April says that she does not believe any of the teachers at Spisak Dance Academy consider themselves “coaches.”  They are teachers, choreographers, and artists all rolled up as one. They are educators in the magnificent art of dance, which encompasses guiding students in and out of the classroom.  She believes their proudest moments are seeing their students succeed in whatever path they choose, whether it be dance or not.

In April’s opinion, the biggest mistake (more…)

Dance Studio No. 1 Interview with Elizabeth Banke

DirectorArtistic director and Owner, Elizabeth Banke, founded Dance Studio No. 1 in Los Angeles, California, in 1992. With its first classes held at The Sports Club LA on Sepulveda Blvd, the Studio quickly flourished building a reputation in the community for its outstanding Young Children’s Program.

Today, Dance Studio No. 1 is one of the preeminent ballet schools in Los Angeles. With several hundred students ranging in age from 2 to 19, Dance Studio No. 1 (“DS1”) is a competitive academy specializing in classical ballet, while also offering contemporary, character dance, pointe, variations, and conditioning classes as part of its well-rounded ballet program.

The school is divided into two distinct divisions: The Young Children’s Program (ages 2 to 6) and the Classical Ballet Program (ages 5 to 19). The ever-popular Young Children’s Program continues to be a staple in the community. The Classical Ballet Program provides some of the finest classical training in West Los Angeles producing students who have been selected for prestigious summer ballet summer schools (and colleges) all over the country, such as San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, American Academy of Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, The Rock School, (Columbia, Harvard, Berkeley, Swarthmore, Oxford, (more…)

Bayer Ballet Academy School of Russian Ballet Interview with Inna Bayer

RabbitInna Bayer, Founder and Artistic Director of Bayer Ballet Academy, founded Bayer Ballet Academy in 2005 to teach the Vaganova method of classical ballet instruction to young students on the Peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Bayer Ballet Academy in Mountain View, California, is a School of Russian Ballet. They offer a full range of age and ability appropriate classes, from pre-ballet to pre-professional training. Their rigorous and challenging curriculum enables those interested in pursuing dance careers as well as those for whom classical training is an end in itself to enjoy the discipline and artistry of Russian ballet in a warm and encouraging environment. They give personal attention and corrections to help develop all of their students.  Every year they provide performing opportunities (including professional quality story ballet productions and repertoire showcases) that showcase our students’ progress, strength, and talents at the top performing arts theaters in Silicon Valley.

Their students have been accepted into prestigious summer programs at Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia, The Royal Ballet School in London, England, Paris Opera Ballet in Paris, France, San Francisco Ballet in California, USA among others.

At Bayer Ballet, the teachers take great pride both in their Vaganova training and in their (more…)

Crooked Tree Arts Center School of Ballet Interview with Heather Raue

PartnersCrooked Tree Arts Center School of Ballet (CTAC School of Ballet) is part of a larger entity – the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petosky and Traverse City, Michigan. The Crooked Tree Arts Center was founded in 1971 to sponsor and encourage activities in the arts for residents of Charlevoix and Emmet counties. They provide classes in the visual arts (painting, arts and ceramics), performing arts (drama, music including vocal), culinary arts , and the School of Ballet. The mission of the Crooked Tree Arts Center is to inspire and enrich lives through the Arts.

Heather Raue is the Artistic Director of The CTAC School of Ballet which is a big part of a small community. They have around two hundred students enrolled each year and (depending on their level) perform up to four times a year. Their pre-professional dancers leave every summer to study at prestigious schools such as Juilliard, School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell among many others. It is the goal of CTAC School of Ballet to not just turn out dancers, but artists. Even for those students that do not want a career in dance, CTAC School of (more…)

Marysville Performing Arts Centre Interview with Emily Price

Emily PriceMarysville Performing Arts Centre (MPAC) in Marysville, Washington, owned by Emily Price, focuses on dance education in a noncompetitive environment creating a foundation in which students (ages 1 ½ to Adult) have the ability to learn discipline, self-confidence and the beauty inherent in dance while participating in a positive and fun learning environment. The building blocks of movement and dance that are taught by their faculty of trained professionals establish an emphasis on correct alignment, technique and a positive self-image, while still allowing for the creative expression and personality that shines through each of their dancers. The value of hard work shown by the students is reflected and highlighted in their annual recital, as well as other performances throughout the year, where students show their growth and find pride in their many accomplishments. The tools students gain at MPAC will aid them holistically in all their life’s endeavors and translate positively to their future and the community.

Emily believes that the reason MPAC is separated from other dance studios is that they are accessible. She says they have some students who come once a week because they are just testing out the waters, want an activity to do after school, or this (more…)

Cornerstone Studio Interview with Lea Dioy-Lo Aparis

OwnerAccording to Lea Dioy-Lo Aparis, the Owner/Director of Cornerstone Studio in Bellevue, Washington, their studio is an enriching dance school, where students of all ages and abilities can come to learn various styles of dance from the very best instructors in the area. She says they are passionate about teaching the art form of dance, focusing on proper technique, creativity, and most importantly, fun! Their students learn to develop a passion for dance and are motivated to take their skills to the next level, while experiencing an outlet for personal expression and increased self-confidence.

Cornerstone Studio provides superior quality dance instruction to over 200 students from the Bellevue, Renton, Issaquah neighborhoods and beyond. They have a staff of over ten instructors who have experience dancing professionally and have a tremendous amount of passion for teaching, preserving dance as a performing art, and building character and self-esteem in young people.

In Lea’s opinion, her studio is separated from other dance studios by the caliber of their teaching staff. The majority of their instructors have danced professionally at some point in their careers, and they all have various backgrounds that bring a lot of enrichment to the students they teach. From a two-time world champion (more…)

Creative Dance and Movement Interview with Jennifer Crowley

Jennifer Crowley is the Owner and Director of Creative Dance and Movement in a small studio Jennifer Crowley Ownerlocated in a rural part of Monterey County, California. They are a young studio now in their sixth year. Their largest population of dancers is infant through seven years old. However, they are very lucky to have a vibrant adult improvisation class as well. At Creative Dance Movement, they focus on dance as art and self-expression. Teaching creative movement and modern dance is their primary objective. Because art is meant to be shared, Creative Dance doesn’t view dance as something that belongs in a competitive arena. They teach ballet, but not classical style. Instead, they teach a creative ballet curriculum with large doses of exploration and sharing. They also have wonderful tap and jazz dance classes.

Jennifer believes Creative Dance and Movement differs from other studios because they strive to teach their students to express themselves creatively with their natural movement styles. Having been denied the opportunity to dance as a small child, Jennifer began dancing seriously later in life (her mid 30s) in classes that were predominantly taken by 17 – 20 year olds. As a result, her perspective is different than that of most traditional (more…)