It is our privilege to teach anyone who wants to dance, regardless of body type, age or background.
We will pass on the full traditions and training methods of dance that were taught to us, with as much detail, clarity and insight as possible.
We strive to teach the student in front of us as efficiently and effectively as possible and consistently challenge them mentally and physically.
We are teaching to awaken and inspire our students as individual dance artists and preserve their unique movement qualities.
We are not gatekeepers to the world of dance. Our role is to ensure entry.
A Letter from the Director
Frequently Asked Questions
What is your background?
SDC faculty are all highly trained, former professional dancers with many years of teaching experience. We teach to the highest levels of technique and performance in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz and tap. Dancers trained at SDC have been accepted into such prestigious summer dance programs as the Mark Morris Summer Intensive, the Limon Intensive, Amercan Ballet Theatre, Kirov Academy DC, the Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, the Bolshoi Summer Academy, the Carolina Ballet, the Atlanta Ballet, the Orlando Ballet, Kaatsbaan, the Arizona Ballet, the Sarasota Ballet, the Alvin Ailey School and many others. Over the years, our dancers have performed in dozens of local music theater productions. Student alumni have gone on to the best university dance departments in the country, many with partial or even full scholarships. Students have also gone on to study neuroscience, dance medicine, dance therapy, nursing, education and one is now a professional ice skater.
What technique do you teach?
Shari Vegso, Deborah Engerman and Warkenda Williams Casey all have strong backgrounds in Russian method classical ballet and we teach this technique with some modifications for American dancers. Ms. Vegso has also had substantial training with Bournonville-trained teachers ( Danish style) and with Balanchine-trained teachers and makes a point of cross-referencing style differences when appropriate for the dancers. Travis Love is a certified Cecchetti instructor.Kristin Pontz, Lavon Holland have graduated from university dance programs where they studied the spectrum of classic modern and jazz techniques, including Graham, Horton, Limon, Fosse, release, and a variety of improvisation methods.
The word technique as applied to dance is simply the tool box needed to dance beautifully and safely. Though sometimes stylistically very different, it is true that good technique is good technique, regardless of which method the dancer used to arrive at it. Most of the world's major ballet teaching methods were designed to ensure that dancers could dance specific types of ballet productions well. Accordingly the various methods have differing strengths and weaknesses.
Why don't you go to dance competitions? While we have occasionally taken a few dancers to ballet competitions, in general its clear that dance competitions thrive on turning a complex, multi-dimensional art into a simplistic sport. Additionally, the expense for these competitions for families both in time and money outlay is very high, while the payoff for the dancer is very low. It is rare for a competition-trained dancer to become a professional.
What is the content of ballet classes? Ballet classes consist typically of barre and centerwork. Barre work typically consists of a foot warm-up, plies, tendus, jetes (degages) , rond de jambe par terre , frappes, fondues or soutenous, rond de jamb en l'air, petit battement, developes, grand battement and a stretch. Balances in various poses are included in these exercises. Center work may include any or all of the following: an adage, turn combinations ("pirouettes" and grand tours), some repetition of barre exercises in the center, petit allegro including glissades, sautes, echappes, pas de basques, assembles, jetes, sissones, with beats in more advanced classes. Exercises across the floor may include chasses, pique turns, ballones, ballotes, grande assemble, grand jetes, chaines, entrelace, balance, saut de basque, etc. Exercises are given with a special emphasis on developing the memory skills and musical nuances necessary to becoming an artist.
Do you have a recital? We do not emphasize a major costly recital every year and insteadhave classwork demonstrations periodically. Our intermediate and advanced dancers have many performance opportunities associated with COBALT or other performing venues in the area. Mainly we plan demonstrations for our youngest dancers, and are intended to give them a non-stressful performance opportunity for their parents and a chance to experience the transforming effect of a costume. There is a fee for participation in the demonstration, and it primarily covers the costume and venue costs.
Can I watch my child's class? Yes, there are designated times for observing classes.