Summer Ballet Workshops

Unknown-1Summer is here again and so are dance camps! I offer a variety of classes that I custom design for each studio based on interest and skill level of your dancers. I even offer staff training and classroom observation so the learning continues year round. Choose from:

  • 7 different conditioning classes
  • 6 different technique classes
  • 3 different wellness for dancers classes

I’ve spent my entire career exploring the latest research on best practices by some of the leading authorities in the field of dance medicine, wellness, injury prevention, improving technique, Pilates, fascial release, and conditioning.

Audition Weeks challenge dancers to demonstrate their technical and artistic skills, and are another great time to bring in guest instructors for focused learning.

Contact me today about these or other workshop ideas!

“You were more than just my ballet teacher, you were my biggest advocate. You will always have a special place in my heart.” student Elizabeth

Youth Fitness On Steady Decline

Frustrated American educators have watched while those in power have ignored recommendations and research that has suggested this for over 25 years although families that can afford to give their child the greatest gift they have to give, a dance education, can be assured of good fitness throughout their lifetimes because of this early investment.

Competition Dance and the Three Little Pigs

Like it or not, competition dance is built on the strong foundation developed by the classical art form ballet.  It could be argued that it is a different animal all together by aligning itself more with the entertainment industry however just as a sentence cannot be constructed before learning the alphabet and a sonata cannot be composed without knowledge of music theory, to learn to dance a form based in Western cultures, studying classical ballet is a prerequisite.

IMG_0289Ultimately, the responsibility is on the parents to educate themselves as to what constitutes a good school just as you would research any private institution you entrust your children to.  Sadly, I’ve heard it from kids and adults alike dozens of times – they thought they were learning to dance all those years they were paying for lessons when in fact, they were being misled. There is nothing more heartbreaking than turning students away from high school and college auditions because their training was sub-par.

Dance is an art form. Along with the other visual and performing arts, it demands knowledge of material that requires long hours of focused study to develop. There are no cliff notes or short cuts. Classes aren’t always fun, exciting, or alluring. But the rewards are huge – becoming a skilled dancer is limited to the students who do work hard. The ‘fun’ is in the achievement!!!  As I tell my dancers – it’s a lot more fun being good (skilled) than not being good! AND, the endless hours of repetition, practice, and skill development creates students with better executive functioning -cognitive flexibility, working memory, processing speed and verbal fluency. For more on those claims see

These are the reasons that I continue to teach dance. It’s a tough career and the competition is brutal but I teach because all children should have the opportunity to be well-rounded, focused, and bright. All children deserve to know the joy of movement. The thrill of being an exceptional dancer is limited to the very few.

I know there will be phone calls from parents saying ballet isn’t fun. “Sally isn’t happy – can we fix that?” Well playing piano scales, practicing the times tables, sports drills, or brushing your teeth aren’t ‘fun’ either but being a skilled dancer is. Understanding this is part of maturing. The thrill of dancing with your peers, becoming accomplished, and having options in life is liberating. While the first two little pigs went off to the fair, the third little pig took the long view and built something that would last. I’m glad my parents did.

Most of my students will not become professional dancers and certainly not ballet dancers. But I tell them I want them to have the option of going anywhere in the world to take a dance class and understand the expectations of dress, vocabulary, and respectful behavior. They deserve that and nothing less. Someday they might contact me as so many students have and thank me for having consistently high expectations of them even before they understood what that was.

Growing Up a Dancer in the 21st Century

Growing up has always been tough. Everyone you love knows that so they do their best to give advise to dancers, catch them when they fall, and bolster self-esteem. But most lessons in life are learned through trial and error and the life of an artist-in-training is certainly no exception.

Scan 123640011Last Christmas, I went to visit my first teacher. I remember how angry she made me a million times. I remember not getting roles I wanted or compliments I thought I deserved. She was like a mother to me but she always did what was best for the company which often meant I was denied. But I persevered. I realized rather young that I was no prodigy so I tried to capitalize on my strengths and work on my shortcomings. My own mother was from an era that trusted the teacher and didn’t interfere when I was weeping about some shortcoming I thought my teacher possessed. There were never teacher conferences or talk of changing schools. Each day, I arrived for class and rehearsal, just like the day before. All these years later, I know how wise both my teacher and my mother were. I learned rejection and perseverance from the two people I respected the most. It prepared me for a life that is filled with plenty of rejection and requires endless perseverance. It also allowed me to train and work as a dancer, an artist, and now, a professional dance teacher.

I train dancers because I believe the discipline it teaches is unparalleled. No one has the discipline of a ballet dancer! But that’s only when the process is allowed to work. Often I am confronted by parents unhappy with some perceived injustice and it almost always includes not the comments I made but the comments the student perceived and relayed. This teaches kids how to manipulate those around them and deprives them of the lessons they might learn. A teacher with high standards that has faith in a student’s ability to rise to the occasion  should be encouraged to have high expectations, not lower them in order to soothe the ego of the child in front of them.

I encourage parents and students to let the system function the way it has throughout history. No teacher is in this for the money, the fame, or the power. They teach because they know it can lead to a life-long love of the body in movement. That gift is the best thing you can provide your child. They will thank you all of their life and come to respect your wisdom and insight. You will not only improve the quality of their life but the lives of their children as well. It is the gift that keeps on giving if you allow it to.