Training the athlete. Nurturing the artist.
Year-round enrollment, space permitting.
Weekly schedule, click here
Enrollment and general inquiries:
"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 I had endured. I wanted a dance education for my daughter that merged the best of everything--- world-class dance training, holistic methodology, and a healthy and happy learning environment. Even if she decides not to be a dancer, I know that a rich dance education will empower and serve her in profound ways."
- Suzana Stankovic ,
Owner/Director, Wild Heart Performing Arts Studio;
Professional Dancer; Dance Educator; Mom
World-class dance training; focus on the whole child; 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 fear leads to tension, self-doubt, perfectionism and misery. As a result, many promising young dancers quit.
We teach children to dance not only with technical and artistic excellence, but with joy, courage, intelligence, confidence and love.
Love is the greatest motivator of all.
Dancers shine brightest when they are motivated from within and supported from the outside by their teachers and caregivers.
Our values are rooted in the rich history and high standards of professional concert dance, yet our teaching methods are modern and holistic. We believe dance class can be both rigorous and joyful. 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 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. Classical ballet training is methodical and cumulative. 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.
*At times, exceptions can be made to the minimum class requirement on an individual basis.
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.
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.
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.
Our youth dance program focuses on the traditional core disciplines of concert dance training with a specialty in classical ballet. Class size is limited to ensure real learning and growth.
Please e-mail WildHeartPAS@gmail.com for more info.
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 a dance stortime.
Creative Movement & Pre-Ballet: Ages 3-6 are introduced to the world of classical ballet as a rich and singular art form. The building blocks of ballet technique are taught through structured creative movement and imaginative pre-ballet exercises, which prepare the child for training in classical ballet. Ballet vocabulary, spatial awareness, group dynamics, music and self-expression are explored throughout the class as are basic ballet positions, steps, aesthetics and class etiquette in an engaging and 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 previous skill): Level II classes 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.
"All the world's a stage."
Performing in a formal theater with the elements of costume and stage lighting, is a significant milestone in a child's dance training.
How does the child prepare for the grand theater?
By starting small and focusing on quality.
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.
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 for an audience of family and friends. These frequent, small-scale showings are powerful learning tools, which prepare the young dancer for the stage. By retaining and performing short sequences of choreography throughout the year in a low-pressure setting, children develop the skills and confidence to seamlessly transition to a formal theater setting. Most of all, they learn a great life lesson,
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.
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.
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