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Tag Archive for ballet

Steppin’ Out Dance Company and The Next Step Dance Studio Interview with Darcey Sunken

Steppin’ Out Dance Company is Next Step Dance Studio’s competitive dance team and was created to develop a positive environment where serious dancers can grow as performers and technicians, as well as increase their self-esteem, self-discipline, and pride in their accomplishments. As members of Steppin’ Out, the dancers become more precise and enthusiastic, improve their dance technique, and learn how to be responsible team members. They value the process, not just the award at the end, and they encourage their dancers to appreciate all accomplishments, no matter how small. This process will help the dancers learn to respect others and themselves. It is also important to Steppin’ Out that their choreography and costumes are appropriate to each dancer’s age and technique level.

Darcey Sunken, is the Director and Head Coach of the Steppin’ Out Dance Company. Darcey grew up in a dance family and knew that she was meant to be a dance instructor by the time she was just thirteen years old. In 2010, Ms. Darcey followed her dreams and introduced The Next Step Dance Studio to Bloomington/Normal. Ms. Darcey was the owner of the Next Step until 2013, when she realized that her passion was annual studio showcases and the (more…)

Kemper Dance Academy Interview with Jeni Kemper

Kemper Dance Academy (KDA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, strives to provide quality and professional instruction in all types of dances to all types of dancers in a positive and friendly atmosphere. Whether their dancers are training to be professionals or just dancing for their enjoyment, the benefits are endless. They endeavor to create not only well-rounded dancers, but well-rounded people with poise, confidence, discipline, and, of course, physical strength and endurance. They offer training in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop and much, much more. They have classes available for dancers from 18 months old to Adult.

Jeni Kemper, Kemper’s Studio Owner and Director, believes that what separates their dance studio from other dance studios is that KDA offers classes no one else offers in Colorado Springs. In addition to bringing in top choreographers and performers from Los Angeles, New York and Chicago plus making sure the dancers have the correct direction to colleges or any other future goals they may have, KDA offers their JEDI program which is dedicated for dancers with disabilities. This program happens on Tuesday evenings and it is one of Jeni’s favorite classes to teach. Jeni says they keep her young, active and remind her that life (more…)

The New Ballet School Interview with Dalia Rawson

The New Ballet School (NBS) in San Jose, California, is an American Ballet Theatre Certified School, and provides expert ballet training with a focus on dancer’s health. Additionally, child development classes are available for toddlers of the pre-professionals and drop-in adults featuring live music in the classroom. Providing unparalleled training for serious pre-professional ballet students, The New Ballet School is proud to feature the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum.

In the opinion of Dalia Rawson, the Executive Director, what separates their dance studio from other dance studios is their focus on training the “whole dancer.” Keeping in mind each student’s physical, emotional, and psychological health equips their students for success in whatever career path they choose and sets NBS apart from other rigorous classical ballet training programs.

Training at the New Ballet School focuses on developmentally appropriate instruction and dancer health for each student. Their certified teaching staff has many years experience bringing high quality artistic training to students ranging from 18 months to 22 years old.  The majority of their staff has danced professionally and understands firsthand the elements required for an artist’s development.

Dalia’s proudest moment coaching is when they see their students succeed, both with placements in professional companies and (more…)

Footlights Dance Studio Interview with Amy Parsons

Footlights Dance Studio is a Christian dance studio with both a competitive track or performance only classes in Flower Mound, Texas.  Their focus is on growing and developing strong dance technique and performance ability in a more conservative, positive environment.  In order to keep their dance routines wholesome, they are careful with song lyrics, choreography and costuming.  Their instructors are highly qualified and great role models both inside and outside the studio space.  They have strong results at competitions and do multiple community performances as well as offering opportunities for conventions, master classes and trips!

According to Amy Parsons, Owner and Director, in addition to their careful selection of music, costumes and choreography, they want their students to still be able to be kids and participate in other activities where possible.  They believe very much that the joy of dance should be able to be shared by all, not just those dedicating ten hours a week to dance.  If a student wants to take a couple dance classes for fun and exercise, that’s okay! They also offer optional worship dance opportunities and devotionals at various times throughout the year.

Amy believes there are three main qualities that make Footlights unique. They are: 1) (more…)

The Dance Zone

The Dance Zone in Henderson, Nevada, is a dynamic environment where children ages 2 to 18 years old come to be nurtured and to learn in the art of dance. They offer programs to their youngest dancers designed to engage and develop their love of movement.  They continue the growth and development of their dancers through the use of a curriculum that allows them to provide consistency and progress in the classroom.  They share that progress with their students’ parents several times a year through their “Parent Watch Weeks,” and encourage open communication between teachers and parents.  Above all, they cherish their students as people and love watching them grow into amazing people.

In the opinion of Jami Artiga and Kaydee Francis, Owners, what separates their dance studio from other studios is “inclusion.” At The Dance Zone, they truly feel that they have developed programs that give every dancer an opportunity to feel amazing about themselves.  They take great pride in the fact that their faculty and staff provide the same level of service and teaching whether the student dances once a week in a recital class, twice a week on a beginning level team or 5 to 6 days a week (more…)

Ella Marie School of Dance

Ella Marie School of Dance in Hicksville, New York, is owned by three partners – Michele Rosner, Catherine Golub, and Ann-Marie Anderson. They are also co-Directors. Since the three partners were children, the Ella Marie School of Dance has been a very integral part of their lives. They all began learning from Ella Marie Columbo as little children and have grown up at the studio, taking lessons and studying the basics, progressing to student teachers, then full dance instructors, choreographers and now directors. They have over 75 years of combined dance teaching experience and have shared their love of dance with thousands of children, and adults, over the years. They provide a welcoming, non-judgmental, supportive studio in which children and adults can express themselves through dance.

As proud parents, each with two children, the partners fully grasp the importance of having well rounded children, who develop a passion for the arts and have a desire to continually grow and learn. As professionals they are also students regularly training through classes and conventions in order to bring new styles and inspiration to their students and they take special pride in developing talented dance instructors who focus on continual education in dance instruction.

According to (more…)

University of South Florida Interview with Michael Foley

The University of South Florida’s (USF) Dance Program in Tampa, Florida, is one of the best training grounds for university age dance students in the United States. Students come from all over the United States and abroad to study with their world-class faculty and guest artists, as well as to take advantage of their unique dance-focused study abroad programs. A conservatory-like training ground within one of the largest liberal arts public universities in the country, the USF Dance Program is proud of its esteemed alumni who have graduated into some of the best dance companies in the United States, including Alvin Ailey, Complexions and Trisha Brown, as well as establishing their own dance companies, achieving master’s and doctorate degrees in dance, teaching in large university programs, starting their own dance schools, and maintaining major positions in arts organizations.

According to Michael Foley, Associate Professor of Dance, and Director of USF’s Dance in Paris Programs, which regularly brings in some of the world’s best choreographers to work with their students, and teach some of their signature repertory pieces. Some of their most recent guest artists have included: Alonzo King, Doug Varone, Ohad Naharin/Batsheva Dance Company, Jennifer Archibald, Bill T. Jones and Trisha Brown. They (more…)

Dance Image Interview with Debbi D. Miller

Debbi D. Miller is the Owner and Artistic Director, of Dance Image in Whittier, California. Dance Image has been in business for over 23 years and offers quality dance for all ages and levels – “walking” to adult, ​Beginner through Advanced Levels. They have a family atmosphere that encourages students to do their best and gain self confidence is one where students can learn to be the best dancer they can be. Their classes are for both the serious dancer and the recreational dancer.

Many of their Teaching Staff are alumni of Dance Image. These amazing teachers are continually striving to challenge the students.  Debbi, herself, has been teaching dance for over 33 years. They are very proud of their incredible staff, many of which began their careers at Dance Image.  Instructors are chosen based on the right combination of training, personality and teaching skills.  Instructors are constantly taking class and working in the business to provide the most current styles and techniques possible.

​In Debbi’s opinion, the main thing that sets her dance studio apart from other dance studios is the fact that they teach the Cecchetti Method of Ballet, one of the most common styles of training in Classical Ballet. The Cecchetti Method of (more…)

Studio of The Month – Showcase Dance Studios

The culture of the Showcase Dance Studio in Manassas, Virginia, is based on Misty Lown’s More Than Just Great Dancing model. They take pride in their family atmosphere that encourages academics while offering age appropriate curriculum’s, costumes and music. Their caring staff fosters a lifetime love of dance, confidence, and healthy minds and bodies. Most importantly they make it their mission to give back to their community! Showcase’s classes include Acrobatics, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Leaps & Turns, Lyrical, Modern Dance, Musical Theatre, Pointe, Pom, and Tap.

In the opinion of Crystal Carfagno, the Artistic Director and instructor of Showcase Dance Studio, the studio’s culture, staff, attention to detail and facility separates their studio from other studios in the area.

Crystal’s proudest moment as teacher occurred when her Company dancers received the “Technique Award” from On Pointe’s dance competition last year. This prestigious award is bestowed to the highest technique award out of the whole competition. Crystal said she was so happy she could cry! According to Crystal, it is hard to explain, but when you teach dance you lay your heart and soul on the dance floor . . . you want to teach your dancers everything you know. Some days you (more…)

New Ballet Ensemble and School Interview with Katie Smythe

Founded by Katie Smythe in 2001, New Ballet Ensemble and School (NBE) in Memphis, Tennessee, is a Community School of the Arts that provides a professional standard of dance training to children regardless of their ability to pay.  Katie, who is also their Artistic Director and CEO, tells us their instruction is based in classical ballet, but includes exploration and training in other cultural forms of dance. At their studio and in thriving after-school programs, they work with community partners to create human environments where children can learn and grow their unique talents.

In Katie’s opinion, their dance studio stands out from other dance studios because they welcome both dancers and “could be” dancers from throughout their community and work to create a conversation across cultures through dance. This gives students the ability to marry the values of their communities and their street technique with the formal training in classical ballet and other styles. When they combine ballet with hip hop, Memphis Jookin’, jazz, flamenco and African styles, amazing new dances – and dancers – come to life!

One of Katie’s proudest moments was when they were commissioned by the Kennedy Center and National Symphony Orchestra in 2014 to create a new dance to (more…)