Dance opportunities in Atlanta this week

While ballet is not typically on the agenda for the 4th of July weekend, we have a number of dance events that parents may want to attend with their children or perhaps have their children participate.

This week continues the free community dance training classes at Blackburn Park. Mornings from 8am until noon, children ages 3 to 12 will find an introductory class suitable for their age range.  Each day a new form of dance is taught given a broad spectrum of dance styles including ballet, hip hop, jazz and two days of free style Thursday and Friday.

Look for our registration table at the far end of the park near the picnic rental pavilion. No need to pre register.  Our goal is to make this as easy as possible to introduce youngsters to dance.  Come one day or come for all. If you have a moment where you’re not sure where to take your child for the morning or you want to get them out of the house for some fun, bring them over to the park for our one hour classes.

During each hour of the morning, an age appropriate class will start so there will always be an opportunity for your child to participate. We encourage you to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of a class, which will always be on the hour, so we can get your child registered and introduce them to others waiting for the class and get them acclimated.

We thank the Blackburn Park staff and Parks Director who are allowing us to take up the entire west end of the park for our dance instruction this week. Come out for some fun, introduce your child to dance and meet some of your neighbors at our community dance classes this week!

 

Youth Ballet Partners

We are always indebted to those who contribute to us on a regular basis. We’re not able to provide the programming that we do without the generous support of individuals and businesses in our community.

Our dance program fees only pay a part of the tuition that we need to cover our instructors, rent, expenses, travel fees and the entrance fees we cover for some of the field trips we offer.

It’s our friends in the community that believe strongly in what we do and the programming that we offer….in ballet and all the other dance disciplines that make such a difference in the quality of instruction and faculty that we offer.  We are located in a community that believes in what we do. Atlanta is a vibrant city with a metro population of over 5 million with diverse interests and talents. Our supporters are from across the city from all walks of life who want to provide quality community education and make it available for all.

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Georgia Ballet Companies

Looking for a ballet school to enroll your child? Researching more opportunities for ballet classes in Atlanta or throughout Georgia? We’ve put a list of resources below and our students/parents with some familiarity with them have added comments. We encourage you to explore these ballet companies for yourself but thought the insights shared would be helpful.

  • Atlanta Ballet Company
  • Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education
  • Savannah Ballet Theater & School of Dance
  • Gainesville Ballet
  • Gwinnett Ballet
  • Northeast Atlanta Ballet
  • South Georgia Ballet
  • The Georgia Ballet

Atlanta Ballet Company, with Gennadi Nedvigin as Artistic Director, is the preeminent ballet company in the southeast and one of the premier companies in the country. Founded in 1929, it is committed to fostering young dancers and providing adult dancers a forum to express their creativity.


It is the State Ballet of Georgia and for 88 years has continued to share the joy of dance with students, patrons and the public at large. Its repertoire spans historical classics, eclectic interpretations and creative originals. Their roots are well-grounded in Atlanta and the community and contribute to the development of the city’s creative and cultural growth.

Part of Atlanta Ballet Company is the Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education founded in 1996. Founded by the former Artistic Director of Atlanta Ballet, the Center for Dance Education gives all people, regardless of age, experience or dance background, the ability to discover the joys of creative movement through a variety of classes and programs. The National Association of Schools of Dance has accredited the program with its scaled curriculum, comprehensive dance offerings and world-class faculty. Students are given the unique opportunity to observe and rehearse with Atlanta Ballet students.

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Ballet for the Ages

It’s been a wonderful spring season in the Atlanta ballet arena.  Our youth ballet has been working hard at their practice each day, incorporating many of the movements we learned through the Atlanta Ballet Company and their instructors who taught us over the holiday season.

Several of our children were selected for the tutoring offered by two of the star ballerinas in the Atlanta troop and spent over 10 hours in sessions perfected their steps and adding grace to their movements.

We our proud of our little ballerinas all of whom are participating in the spring performance of Atlanta Flowerbursts.  This ballet is about the growth of seedlings into beautiful flowers all expressed through performances by our girls who range from 4 to 18 years of age.

Our youngest will embodied the seedlings, bringing dance movements to mimic the growth of seeds in the soils to green stems we see bursting through the soil.

Our middle school students are the early flowers, giving life and color to the stems demonstrating the joy of growth and everyday sunshine in their lives.

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Christmas in Atlanta

Our children had the best time over the holiday season visiting their favorite ballet companies, small and large.  We hosted two students from the Ukraine Ballet who also enjoyed seeing the various company performances.

They were surprised by the number of companies in only one city and we pulled a map up on google to show how many ballet companies there are across the country.

We realize how much effort has been put forward by small local groups to bring ballet front and center to audiences in towns small and large.

In Atlanta, we attended Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker performance twice.  The first time with our classmates to watch for our studies.  And second when we invited our Ukrainian friends to attend with some last minute tickets that were given to us by the sponsor of their trip.

It was excited to see the performance twice.  The first time the children watched to see the movements that they find magical and aspire to emulate.  The had to write a list of steps they had mastered in class and saw performed as well as new movements they’d like to achieve.

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Atlanta Youth Dance Programs

Dance programs teach children discipline and the value of hard work.  The parents at our organization are fond of ballet and have created programs that begin at toddler ages so you can start your child early in the fun and learning that comes with these programs.

There are other dance options and a variety of teaching styles so we thought we’d allow our parents to contribute their suggestions for some of the best dance programs they’ve found in Atlanta for youth participation.

The Dancer’s Studio in Alpharetta offers ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance.   Some of their most popular classes are hip hop which is what was in session when we visited.  Not only was the beat fun to move to as we watched from the observation window but to see the dedication and effort these children from 5 to 15 putting into their practice was a joy to watch.

You can see the precision with which they are making the movements and the angst when someone knows they are out of sync.  It is amazing to watch a room of almost 14 students perform the exact same movements with such perfection.   The arm turn and swivel forward was all in sync like the perfect precision of a machine.  Truly talented kids.  And you can see the dedication they’ve put into mastering this dance.

The Metropolitan Ballet Theater is also in Alpharetta, near Johns Creek, and is run by the former prima ballerina of the Atlanta Ballet Maniya Barredo.  She brings the high level expertise and trains dancers whose goal is to become professional. But what we admire most is she emphasizes the importance of schoolwork and ensures her students are in attendance while training with her.

Dan & Company is another option when you want to start dance programs when you’re kids are toddlers.   Located in Dunwoody, he takes children starting at age 3 and offers ballet, jazz and hip hop.  He offers a number of fun programs to introduce students to dance who may not be familiar including dance birthday parties and programs on the weekend.

Your local Y will most likely have some sort of dance program option. Throughout Atlanta, we’ve seen offerings for ballet, jazz, classical, hip hop, salsa and samba.  We are sure you and your children will find options nearby that can open the world of dance for your children.

If there is ambivalence or unfamiliarity, we’d recommend visiting a dance school who will welcome visitors who want to get a sense of their programs and allow a visit.  Or attending a production at one of the local theaters or dance houses may inspire an interest in taking a class if not a life long passion for dance.

We hope that you will explore the many dance options for children in Atlanta.  Our children’s interest in ballet inspired us to start this group and perhaps you too will find a group of children in your neighborhood who share the love of dance as well.  We’ve found that friendships are created both among the children and the parents as we all share our passion for ballet.

 

 

Students Visit Atlanta Ballet Co.

Our Saturday class met this weekend at the Atlanta Ballet Co. to see a live rehearsal of the upcoming Nutcracker performance.   We were enchanted to watch the dances that are so familiar to us being performed by professionals.   The music of Tchaicovsky rang through the air as we watched mesmerized by the performance.

We had a brief 15 minute “class” taught by Cindi Millardi who showed the girls many new movements.  It was wonderful for the girls to speak with a ballerina with years of experience who shared with them her story of getting into ballet which inspired our students.

We want to thank our sponsor again for covering the cost of this visit and our upcoming holiday experience.  We have video below to share our experience.

 

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Atlanta Ballet The Nutcracker

We are thrilled to announce that all of our students and instructors will be attending Atlanta Ballet’s holiday season performance of The Nutcracker.   A holiday favorite and the longest running production in the history of ballet, it provides magic and excitement for young and old alike.

The beauty and design of the costumes is breathtaking.  Several parents and students viewed the costumes from Ballet West’s production while they were on tour last summer.

The Saturday afternoon performance the second week of December will enable all of our dancers to see what years of hard work and dedication produce in these expert performers.  We want to thank our sponsor for this trip, a house painter in Johns Creek, who doesn’t want his name listed but offered to pay for a few students who otherwise would not be able to attend.

When asked which of the beautiful costumes students were most interested to see, many chose Vespri whose stunning gold and blue tutu is a favorite among many, young and old alike.   We may  see many of these tutus show up for Halloween in our neighborhood based on what the girls are sharing details of their costumes which will be fun for our class party.

Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet is the official State Ballet of Georgia.  They nurture young talent and produce spectacular performances every year.

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Building our Facebook Page

If you’ve ever wondered how the Facebook “Like Lock” works, you can check it out on our site.  We just installed this new plug-in to encourage visitors to “Like” our posts in order to unlock the content.

This was recommended by one of our students, Molly Shirer, who thinks this is the “bomb” for building Facebook likes.

More and more of our students are actively engaging in social media at younger and younger ages.    We had a 4 year old student checking out photos from a NYC ballet recital shared with her by a friend.  We burst out laughing at how “busy” she was and couldn’t be distracted with us trying to get her to join the class as it began and she said she’d get “right back” to class after she checked her messages:-)

We are looking for volunteers who are willing to work on our Facebook page.  We think posting relevant articles would be interesting for our following such as this post in TimeforKids about children’s ballet .

Social Media presents a world of opportunities for us to share our knowledge and experience on the value of introducing children to dance at young age.  Take a look at some video from our class yesterday below.  Please contact us if you’d like to volunteer.

Why enroll your child in Youth Ballet?

Many parents are surprised that dance is an option for children beginning at age 2.  They wonder what their child can accomplish in a “dance” class so young.

Encouraging social interaction between 2 year olds is the way to draw out a child who is shy by nature.  Those more active with other children, will learn how to coordinate as a team and build the excitement of learning new skills and performing in front of an audience as a group.  The additional physical activity, especially for honed dance moves are building strength in young muscles.  And accepting and implementing direction from an instructor builds cognitive skills that will serve the child throughout their educational years.

The health, social and cognitive skills it develops are surprising. and we encourage all parents to allow their children to experience dance in their early years.   And even if they don’t seem to “excel” and what two year old does in dance?, allow them to fully participate with love and encouragement from the family.  Sparking that interest in movement will bring tremendous health benefits to the child, providing active movement in the younger years and a full cardio workout when the child can more fully complete hand and leg movements that require developed muscles.

Seeing developed muscles means the child has built strength and exercises better control over these limbs.  The physical skills that have been developed in this process are outstanding and build a solid foundation for strength building and further refinement of coordination and muscle skills.  And the cognitive development that occurred built strong connections in the neurons to process movement instructions from the teacher and carry them out in physical performance.

Dance provides outstanding social skill development and by starting your child in dance at a young age, begins the socialization process of interacting with new people and being in new surroundings, which at first may seen scary.  This repetition of social interactions, learning instructions from the teacher and participating in activities that are new and unfamiliar.  These stretch the mind and body, enabling the child to reach new levels of development.

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