After Grand Rapids Ballet School’s successful summer dance programs, dance students are looking forward to the start of the 2015-16 school year dance classes, which begin on September 8. Now that students are preparing for fall dance classes, there are many dancers already planning to attend Grand Rapids Ballet School’s 2016 summer programs. Grand Rapids Ballet School’s summer dance programs are popular because of the high level of technique taught, and the many opportunities for dance students of all ages. Dance students as young as three thru age 65+, participated in the 2015 “Young Dancer Summer Program,” “Adult Ballet” classes, and the five week-long “Summer Intensive” at Grand Rapids Ballet School. These programs provided the opportunity to learn and enjoy the art of dance for students of various ages and skill levels. It was also a way for prospective dance students to learn more about Grand Rapids Ballet School, which is currently open for enrollment for the 2015-16 School Year.
Grand Rapids Ballet School’s ‘Young Dancer Summer Program’
Summer is an ideal time to introduce a child to dance for the first time, or for a young dance student to focus on building new skills in a workshop. Grand Rapids Ballet School’s “Young Dancer Summer Program” provides camps and workshops for dance students between the ages of 3-9 years old each summer. The dance program is a great way to get a glimpse of the type of curriculum and dance technique offered by Grand Rapids Ballet School. This year, five week-long sessions were held between June 22 – July 24.
The classes for the younger dance students between ages 3-6 are organized as theme camps with age appropriate dance lessons, crafts and snack breaks. This year’s camp themes were “Cinderella” and “The Nutcracker.” Older children participate in workshops that provide a dance lesson and a choreography. Children ages 6-7 take the elementary ballet workshop. Students ages 8-9 enroll in the ballet I workshop. At the end of each workshop, students perform a dance learned during the week-long session for their parents on the last day of class.
Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker commented on the importance of introducing young children to dance, “We like to create that spark of imagination that comes from within, where you can imagine what you can be or may become. We want to get children interested in the arts, imagination and anything that comes from it. We’re helping shape lives and the future of our community through dance.”
Grand Rapids Ballet School’s 2015-16 School Year offers dance classes for children between the ages of 3-7 in the Young Dancer Program, and for ages 8-19 in the Ballet Program. Call the Grand Rapids Ballet School Office at 616-454-4771, ext. 17 for more information on classes.
Grand Rapids Ballet School’s ‘Adult Ballet Program’
Grand Rapids Ballet School offers dance lessons for people of all ages. The school continued its popular adult ballet program through the summer due to a high demand for classes from adult students. Adult students interested in learning ballet technique or dancing for fitness could participate in a Tuesday intermediate ballet class and a Thursday beginner ballet class. This year’s summer classes were held between June 16 – July 23. The program allowed students to drop-in or enroll to fit many people busy summer schedule.
“The adult ballet program has been wonderful. Male and female, young and old alike, have been interested in the program. It has been like an outcry from the public for this program, so we continued classes this summer. People are interested in reconnecting with dance or learning it for the first time. It is a full-body activity, and a great workout for the mind and body,” said Barker.
The adult ballet classes will begin again on September 8. Classes will still be held on Tuesday (intermediate ballet) and Thursday (beginner ballet). Each class is 75 minutes long, and teachers teach to the level of the students participating in each class. The intermediate class is geared toward experienced dancers, but advanced beginners can also participate. Visit Grand Rapids Ballet’s website for details on adult ballet classes and the current class schedule.
Grand Rapids Ballet School’s ‘Summer Intensive Program’
Summer is a good time to pursue the serious study of dance without distraction. Grand Rapids Ballet School’s “Summer Intensive” is one of the best in the country. Students came from all over Michigan, the Midwest, and other states to study with some of the dance industry’s leading talents. The Grand Rapids Ballet School’s “Summer Intensive” faculty included Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker, and guest faculty members Astrit Zejnati (Pacific Northwest Ballet), Sabi Varga (Boston Ballet), Brian Enos (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago), Nicole Ciapponi (San Francisco Ballet), Thom Dancy (The Big Muddy Dance Company) and Isabella LaFreniere (New York City Ballet). The five week program began on June 22 and ended on July 24. A showcase was held on July 24 at the end of the program to give the students a chance to perform dances learned during the program on the stage of the Peter Martin Wege Theatre.
Dance students between the ages of 9-19 participated in Grand Rapids Ballet School’s “Summer Intensive.” Students had to apply and participate in an audition class in order to take part in the “Summer Intensive.” The application and audition process started in January, with Grand Rapids Ballet School holding auditions in select locations all over Michigan and the Midwest. Applicants could also submit audition tapes if they were unable to make the live audition. Enrollment was open up until June.
Auditions and enrollment for the 2016 “Summer Intensive” will begin in January 2016. Audition dates will be posted on the Grand Rapids Ballet website when available. Connect with Grand Rapids Ballet School on Facebook for the latest information on Grand Rapids Ballet School’s “Summer Intensive.”
Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker, who also is the School Director, sees Grand Rapids Ballet School as a learning platform for both the dance world and life. “Dance isn’t just about creating great dancers. It’s also about creating great people. It creates self esteem, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of self worth, poise, grace and a sense of community.”
Grand Rapids Ballet School offers many great options to study ballet throughout the year. The school is now accepting enrollment for the 2015-16 School Year. To learn more about Grand Rapids Ballet School’s dance programs or to register online for classes, visit the school website.