A few weeks ago, we hosted our 4th annual Come Dance! celebration. Over 1,000 people streamed through our doors that Sunday to participate in over 18 different FREE dance classes, including 7 new ones. The day offered something for everybody – from West African Dance to Ballet. Check out a few snapshots from the day below, and make sure to check out our BCS Drop-In Class Schedule to see when you can try out a few classes on your own.
Our NEW! West African Dance, taught by instructor Jean-Claude Lessou.
Ballet, taught by Company Dancer & BCS Instructor Orlando Canova.
Our NEW! Turbo-Kick (cool down phase), taught by our certified instructor Brittany Harpole.
Our NEW! Rhythm Tap, taught by instructor Tony Merriwether.
Are you a So You Think You Can Dance fan? If so, you’re probably aware by now that the second annual National Dance Day is rapidly approaching. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars because on July 30th, people around the country will strap on their dancing shoes and learn choreography created by three celebrity choreographers – Mary Murphy, Robin Antin and the duo behind NappyTabs.
Ballet Austin is incredibly excited to be the local venue and host for National Dance Day. On that Saturday, we will still be offering all of our regularly scheduled classes but will ALSO offer three event-specific classes (broken down by skill level), where your favorite BA instructors teach the choreography created for this national celebration. All ages and skill levels are welcome, and a $5 minimum (per class) tax-deductible donation is all that’s asked for admission for all classes. You don’t even need to worry about your class card. Just check out the schedule for that day, show up at the BCS, give your donation and start dancing!
Ballet Austin’s Featured “National Dance Day” Classes:
Ballet is what we’re generally known for, and ballet we have! Adults of any age and experience level can take a ballet class at Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School (BCS). There’s also Ballet Fit, Broadway Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Tap, Hula, Modern and more. While every class has its fans and faithful attenders, it’s the 8:30pm hip hop crowd that has caught my attention. What brings 30 plus people downtown late on a Tuesday or Thursday night to take a hip hop class? Some say it’s the workout, some say the music, or the new style of hip hop that spans genres, but the biggest attraction for many people, and why they keep coming back, is the unique personality and style of instructor Shepherd Allen.
Shepherd’s passion and sense of fun, combined with his experience and great ability to teach, bring people back week after week. He keeps the class funky and fresh. Shepherd was a finalist for Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance (top 80), but his current mission is to bring the fun back to dance. Original choreography using the music of today’s hottest contemporary artists, combined with a high energy funky attitude, is sure to hook you. Hip Hop is for all ages and dance backgrounds, and can be learned and enjoyed by anyone who just wants to get up and dance. Shepherd’s invitation is this, “Bring your attitude, the more attitude the better, and plan for as much fun as you can possibly fit into an hour.”
I love eavesdropping as I walk through the halls of Ballet Austin’s Butler Dance Education Center. Well, not sure if it is really eavesdropping, as eavesdropping, according to Wikipedia, is “the act of secretly listening to the private conversation of others without their consent.”
I wouldn’t say these conversations were private. In fact, some were pretty loud and spirited. Some people even knew I was listening because they gave their unofficial consent with an occasional glance in my direction and a smile or a wave. I smiled back somewhat nonchalantly, choosing to remain the detached observer. It reminds me of when I drove carpool when my children were younger, sitting in the front seat with the music turned low so I could hear the backseat conversation. My driver’s seat offered one of the best views of my children’s lives. My eyes on the road, my voice silent, and my ears open…I learned a lot.
Last night in the “driver’s seat” I walked through the halls of BDEC as studios emptied after Butler Community School classes were finished. As sweat poured down faces, I overheard comments about how enjoyable it is to dance, what a blast they had, how great the teacher was. Then another comment caught my attention. “That was such an amazing and intense workout, and so much fun!” Wait! Could something so fun really count as a workout? I know better than to ask that question…of course it could!
Infectious music, encouraging teachers, learning new choreography, and the social aspect of a dance class take the rough edges off an hour of heart pumping, muscle burning, sweat inducing exercise. I kept walking, watching, and listening as scores of adults of all ages walked out of Zumba®, Broadway Fit, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Modern with smiles on their faces. I love eavesdropping!
Get a glimpse of Ballet Austin behind the scenes and read more about our upcoming performances, as well as get an inside look into the lives of company dancers and Artistic Director and Choreographer Stephen Mills.