YOUTH DANCE

Training the athlete. Nurturing the artist.

 

Spring Session 2022 | In-person Classes

April 9-June 25, 2022

For schedule, please click here

For inquiries, please e-mail:

WildHeartPAS@gmail.com

"Ballet class is like Life Lessons 101.

You learn some of life's most important lessons here that you will carry with you forever."

- Joanne H. Morscher

"I always knew I'd open my own studio one day and, as life would have it, I found a beautiful space for lease in my hometown of Astoria, NY in my third trimester of pregnancy. I signed the lease 10 days before my due date and became both a studio owner and mom at the same time (!). When my daughter was born I knew I had to create the best dance program for her.  I wanted her to receive world-class ballet training (the kind offered at the most revered and prestigious schools) but I didn't want the negative, fear-based teaching methods that I, myself, had endured in childhood. I wanted a customized program for my daughter that merged the best of everything.  I longed for her to train at a world-class standard of technique and artistry, but in a holistic and healthy environment. Even if she decides not to be a dancer, I know that a rich and high-quality dance education will inspire and empower her in profound ways."

- Suzana Stankovic ,

Owner/Director, Wild Heart Performing Arts Studio;

Professional Dancer; Dance Educator; Mom

 

 

Mission

World-class dance training in a healthy environment with focus on the whole child and real learning and growth.

The youth program was created by owner/director Suzana Stankovic to offer world-class dance training with a holistic approach. Suzana is an Astoria, NY native, professional dancer, choreographer, master ballet teacher and mom. With her own daughter in mind, the youth program imparts a professional dance education that teaches dance as a rich and profound art form. Suzana's signature teaching method has been featured in Dance Teacher Magazine and other prominent media. Her work onstage has been widely featured as well. Suzana continues to perform and choreograph professionally.

The name Wild Heart came from the idea that children and artists are similar. They are both full of wonder and curiosity. They thrive on creativity and imagination and need a supportive environment in which to nurture their gifts. 

  World-class dance training is rigorous and has often been rooted in fear. At many prestigious schools, fear and pressure are still used as motivators, whether subtly or overtly. Fear of rejection; ridicule; criticism; humiliation, and fear of failure loom dark in every class. Dancing with so much fear leads to tension, self-doubt, perfectionism and misery. 

At the same time, fear of rejection and failure are natural and universal emotions. At some point in their lives, children will experience these fears. In this way, dance class is an incredible tool for learning to manage these emotions in a positive and empowering way. Dance class is a laboratory self-growth and empowerment.

 

We teach children to dance not only with technical and artistic excellence, but with love, courage, intelligence, confidence and authenticity.

 

Love is the greatest motivator of all. Dancers shine brightest when they dance from a place of love. 

 

Our values are rooted in the rich history and high standards of professional concert dance, yet our teaching methods are modern and holistic. We do not employ negative, fear-based teaching practices. We believe dance class can be both rigorous and  joyful. Every child should leave feeling that they can achieve anything they put their mind and heart to. By training in this way, the child dancer becomes a world-class athlete, a fearless artist and an empowered and self-aware human being.

Class Placement and Training Regimen

Class size is limited to just 8 children to ensure real learning and growth in a personalized setting. As a result, admittance to the youth program for ages 7+ requires a commitment to at least two ballet classes/week. Ballet class taken twice a week is universally considered the minimum for quality training. This regimen ensures correct foundational technique; the development of muscle memory; physical strength and flexibility, and skills-based progress. Elite training is methodical and cumulative.

Class placement is based on several factors such as age, dance experience and individual goals. There is some overlap in class content between technique levels I and II and Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet to ensure proper foundational technique.

Faculty

Our faculty consists of accomplished, working dancers and choreographers who teach dance as a rich and profound art form. Our teachers have trained at renowned dance institutions and have active careers in dance, bringing real-world performance experience to the studio. They teach with integrity to world-class standards and create positive learning environments.

 

 

Facilities

Classes are taught in a professional dance studio with top-notch, shock-absorbent floors, marley surface,  dual-height ballet barres to suit children of different ages and heights, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and windows with lots of sunlight, modern sound system, climate control, ceiling fans and warm track lighting.

Curriculum

Our youth dance program focuses on the traditional core disciplines of concert dance training: classical ballet, theatrical jazz and modern dance. Additional dance disciplines such as hip-hop and tap will be added to our curriculum in the near future. Class size is limited to ensure real learning and growth.

Tuition:

Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, semester tuition is currently suspended.  Monthly tuition is in effect for all classes except Toddler Dance. Discounted ten-class packs are available for Toddler Dance (valid 6 months).

Sibling Discount:

We offer a sibling discount of 10% for all classes except Toddler Dance. Example: If two siblings are in Toddler Dance, they can both share the discounted ten-class card. If one sibling is in Toddler Dance and an older sibling is in another class, there is no additional discount for the older sibling. The sibling discount cannot be combined with any other discounts.

There is an annual registration fee of $25 for all students, except Toddler Dance. 

For policies, please click here and scroll down for youth policies.

Class Levels & Placement

Children are placed in a class that best suits them according to age, dance experience, their goals and other factors. There is some overlap in class content between creative movement and pre-ballet, and Level I and II classes. 

Toddler Dance: Walker - 3 years

Toddler Dance is a fun, guided, dance-play class, which introduces the child to dance, music and self-expression. Adults are welcome to participate with their child. This class incorporates a variety of music and broad range of movement often inspired by animals, nature, nursery rhymes and themes that relate to toddlerhood. This class is loosely structured encouraging the child to explore space and their own physicality. Props are used to inspire movement and imagination. Sometimes class ends with the reading of a book about dance.

Creative Movement & Pre-Ballet: Ages 3-6 explore dance as a performing art exploring music; structured dance-play; group dynamics and pre-ballet exercises that prepare the child for training in classical ballet. Children are introduced to ballet positions, steps, vocabulary and class etiquette in an age-appropriate way. This class consists of a healthy balance of structured, foundational technique work and guided dance-play. 

Technique Level 1 (ages 7-10): This level is for children with little to no experience in the given dance style. Level I classes instill correct foundational technique and artistry, music awareness and dance class etiquette. Discussion of dance vocabulary and dance history as they pertain to the steps being taught, are woven throughout class resulting in a true dance education. . 

Technique Level II (based on skill): Level II classes for diverse ages based on skill are for children who possess a solid foundation in the basics and are ready to build upon them. This class offers new challenges in technique, music awareness, choreography retention, artistic presentation and self-accountability.

Adolescents (ages 13-17): Ages 13+ who have a serious interest in the art of dance are welcome to take our adult classes by invitation. Please note, we can only accept a small number of teens to our adult classes. We will expand our youth program in the near future to include more class options for adolescents.

Pointe: Pointe classes are open to serious dancers ages 12+ who have a strong foundation in ballet technique and the physical and mental readiness for the demands of pointe training.

 

Performances

"All the world's a stage."

- Shakespeare

Performing in a formal theater with the elements of costume and stage lighting, is a significant milestone in a child's dance training.  Such performances are not beneficial to the child until they have reached a minimum level of technical and artistic proficiency. We believe that performances, and the valuable life lessons they teach, should be in proportion to the child's dance skills, gradually expanding as the child grows as a dancer.

 

How does the child prepare for the formal stage?

By starting small and focusing on quality. 

 

We offer in-house performances for family and friends several times throughout the year, showcasing the children's growth and accomplishments in the familiar setting of the studio. Children perform steps and short sequences of choreography they've mastered in class for an audience of family and friends in the familiar setting of the studio. These frequent, small-scale showings are powerful learning tools, which prepare the young dancer for the stage. By consistently retain and perform small chunks of choreography in a low-pressure setting, they develop the skills and confidence to perform in a grand theater. In this way, children learn that great accomplishments are built upon many small and consistent steps. 

We have received so much wonderful feedback from parents who love the simplicity, intimacy and quality of these in-house presentations. And when our student body is ready for a formal recital in a grand theater, we will certainly produce those productions. 

 

 

Dress Code

All classes except for Toddler Dance have a dress code. Once children are enrolled in class, dress code instructions are provided. 

Safety and Aesthetics:

Long hair must secured in a bun. Jewelry, nail polish and gum/candy are not permitted. Small earrings are acceptable. 

Dance Style Descriptions

Classical Ballet: An elegant and noble dance form with roots in the Baroque period and the royal courts of Italy and France. Classical ballet is traditionally considered the cornerstone of professional concert-dance training and we teach primarily in the Vaganova (Russian) style along with elements of American ballet.  The study of classical ballet is rigorous, building both physical and mental strength, turn-out in the hips (external rotation), whole-body alignment, flexibility, poise, grace and beauty of form and line.

Classic Jazz: Jazz is a combination of ballet, contemporary, social, African and theatrical dance consisting of rhythmic moves, fancy footwork, big leaps and quick turns. Class focuses on building classic jazz technique from the bottom up with a focus on proper alignment and placement for turns, leaps, and transitional elements in the classic, theatrical style of Broadway musicals.

Modern Dance: Modern dance emerged in the late 1900's in opposition to classical ballet.  It is a free-form, broad style consisting of grounded, organic movement; contraction and release in the upper body; circular, linear and jagged shapes to percussive music. The class moves through technical elements based on the styles of the founding figures of modern dance: Jose Limon, Lester Horton and Martha Graham. While there is a strong focus on technique, there is also great emphasis on improvisation and personal expression. Modern dance is done barefoot.

Hip-Hop: Hip-hop dance refers to street dance styles primarily performed to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. It includes a wide range of styles primarily breaking, locking, and popping which were created in the 1970s and made popular by dance crews in the United States. Since then several versions of hip-hop have emerged such as commercial hip-hop, popular in many mainstream music videos.

Pointe: Classical ballet is the art of the pointed foot and pointe is the height of classical ballet. It is considered the most physically demanding style of dance. In pointe class we learn how to dance ‘en pointe’ in pointe shoes. This class consists of repetitive exercises to build strength and flexibility of the feet, ankles and core while maintaining correct whole-body alignment. A strong foundation in ballet technique and teacher approval are required for this class. It is also essential that students be properly fitted for pointe shoes by a professional and that they maintain a consistent pointe training regimen. 

                                                 

For school calendar, tuition information and policies, please click here.

 

We are not a competition studio. 

"I do not strive to dance better than anyone else. I only strive to dance better than myself."

-  Mikhail Baryshnikov