Hear from students of all ages and skill levels
Absolute beginner ballet dancers, from age 11 - 50s
Recommended lesson length: 1-1.5 hours, once or twice per week. Supplement with 1-2 appropriate group classes when ready.
Lessons are friendly, fun, and tailored to the specific background knowledge of the dancer. For example, a dancer with a strong pilates background needs less work on how to understand hip control. A dancer with understanding of music needs less instruction on how to count music. A dancer with no prior related experience would like everything to be broken down to its lowest level.
This approach allows for quick learning because the dancer can ask questions and we can break things down into small bites.
As a beginner, the words a teacher says in group class are all in french, so if you can’t understand them, or aren’t standing near enough to see an exercise demonstrated clearly, it can be intimidating to then try it yourself.
Anyone can learn to do ballet well and beautifully, and it is my goal to provide the welcoming environment to enable anyone to go on to enjoy ballet, no matter their goals.
If pointe is one of your goals, we will begin to tailor exercises that will enable you to achieve that goal after about 1 year of regular study.
Whether you are training to be a professional or not, achieve correct technique and understand the fundamentals of ballet.
Sofia came to me for a 4-day crash course in ballet. As a lyrical, jazz, and tap dancer, she had some basic dance vocabulary, but needed to learn the ballet vocabulary for an audition at Alvin Ailey school where barre work would be incorporated into the audition. By the end of the mini-intensive, she was able to learn the basics of the barre and center work.
Kelsey came to me as an absolute beginner in ballet. She had just started taking group classes and wanted to move along more quickly. She had a gymnastics background, but had trouble with her back and posture. After just a couple of months, she was standing up noticeably straighter, and even trying her first pirouettes.
Carissa’s boyfriend bought her a surprise birthday present ballet class. It had always been her dream to dance ballet. She arrived at the studio having no idea what she was doing there! We had a fun class and she left having had a very special birthday gift to live her dream for an afternoon.
Bryan decided that he was ready to try something new. He contacted me for his first ballet lesson, and also began lessons in piano and singing. His goal is to learn enough ballet to move to a group setting and enjoy classical ballet.
Katya always had a dream to dance ballet, but had never gotten to try it. She was intimidated by group class and wanted to take her first lessons in a private setting. Her pilates experience allowed her to learn quickly, and pick up the proper placement very quickly.
Lise came to me ready to try something new. She had never taken ballet before. As a live art model, she wanted to add a polished and classical line to her poses. Her prior experience in pilates allowed her to learn the basic placement very quickly.
Advanced beginner through Pre-professional
A dancer can reach a point where they can achieve double pirouettes and extension above 90 degrees without proper technique in the core, hips, feet, and arms. This is not unusual, especially as in group class, our body does what it needs to do to keep up without us even noticing. After years of training, we all compensate in our bodies and make adjustments that become permanent habits if they aren’t corrected.
However, in order to make it to the next level and prevent injury, we need to go back to basics and figure out how to do all of these things with proper alignment, placement, and technique.
This can sometimes be a challenge as it requires re-thinking even the simplest of things. It will require slower and more deliberate work, but once the new foundation becomes habit, the dancer will find that they can improve quite rapidly in all of their steps.
When re-learning technique, the mirror will be your best tool. You can’t rely on how something feels, because you are trying to re-learn technique from a fundamental level, so it’s important to check in the mirror regularly and make sure that you are achieving your goals.
It's important to break down the anatomy of the body and positions and ensure that the foundation is there to succeed.
For pointe work, we re-visit the basics of tying ribbons, cutting toenails, toe and foot placement inside the shoe, pointe shoe care, and core and knee placement on pointe. From there, we work on exercises to strengthen for pointe depending on foot type, body placement, strength, and technical ability.
Once a solid base of technique has been achieved, it’s important to begin to incorporate new dynamics into your dancing. Do you enjoy adagio most? Then it’s important to balance that out by working on very sharp and precise movements. Today’s choreographers are looking for dynamic and versatile dancers for new and exciting performances.
Additionally, achieving a strong and confident port de bras will allow you to express yourself fully. Often we focus so much on the core and lower body, at this point we need to begin to allow the lower half to continue its work while shifting our active focus to expression and port de bras. Tell a story, express an emotion, and convey a message through your dancing.
During your training, it's important to Learn how to make your own mistakes. When you are a soloist or a principal dancer, there’s no one else to follow or copy. You must blaze your own trail and learn to dance confidently on your own. If you make a mistake, learn how to recover, own it, and correct it in the future. Without this ability to take risks, you can’t turn heads.
Cate visited her grandmother from out of town (Alabama) and wanted a lesson to get a taste of classical ballet training in the big city. We worked together for 1 hour and she left with a smile on her face and a fun experience to take back with her.
Jade had been training for a few years, but she was falling behind the other dancers in her pointe class and struggling to keep up. Even though she came to me specifically for pointe work, there were many other things that needed to be addressed, beginning in her soft shoes, including core, placement, and technique. After working to understand core and hip placement, she was able to excel more quickly on pointe.
Jordyn is a serious ballet student who wishes to pursue a career in classical ballet. She studies at the Dance Academy of North Jersey and attended the Joffrey Ballet summer intensive. She came to me looking to improve her strength and confidence and help her get to the next level in her training. I could quickly tell how dedicated she is to the art. She has a beautiful body for ballet, but with moderate to extreme hyper extension and a handful of lower extremity injuries already, must learn the proper technique and placement early on in order to continue rising in the ranks.
Cameron studied at Dance Theater Harlem until age 12, at which time the demands of her regular schooling required that she pause her ballet training. She came to me ready to get back into the rigors of classical ballet and pick up where she left off with her technique.
Lauren studies in Miami and had been accepted into the ABT Summer Intensive. She visited for a brush up on her technique and looking to gain a new perspective on her dancing. After a weekend of private lessons, she went home with a whole new set of tools to prepare her for the next step in her pre-professional training. Each lesson was filled with ah-ha moments, enabling her to achieve more fouettés and balance than she arrived with.
Cheyenne was studying dance in college and needed help getting ahead in her classwork and preparing for performances. Even though she had been training since she was a child and has beautiful lines and extensions, she was missing an understanding of core and hip placement, causing her to have difficulty balancing. After a few short lessons, she quickly turned her technique around and improved her balance.
Improve a related art or activity with classical ballet training
Classical ballet technique can be helpful in many other disciplines. Lessons will be tailored to your needs, and focused on the technical concepts more than the ballet vocabulary.
Rhythmic gymnastics - Luciana, 11
Luciana is a very good, flexible and hyperextended rhythmic gymnast, but having some trouble with her fouettés, penché, and pirouettes. She wanted to learn classical ballet in order to perfect those steps for her rhythmic gymnastic classes. We tailored her lessons to core strength, turn preparation, and understanding turnout.
Irish dancing - Julia, 11
Julia is an excellent Irish dancer, but was having trouble getting to the top of her age group and category. Her goal was to be in 1st place in order to move on to regional and national competitions, but just can’t seem to get the judges’ approval for her turnout. We specialized her ballet lessons in special turnout exercises and ways to become aware of how to turnout. We also worked on foot and toe strengthening and stabilizing exercises to give her more power and strength in her jumps.
Acting - Joslyn, 31
Joslyn is an actress preparing for a role that involves movement. She wanted to study classical ballet in order to learn to move and coordinate her body. She wanted to learn how to break out of her physical comfort zone and use physical expression in order to learn to move for her upcoming role. After 6 months together, she was even able to take a role in a chorus involving choreography and movement.