Training the athlete. Nurturing the artist.
Summer Session 2021 | In-person Classes
July 14 - August 8, 2021
For Schedule & Info.
"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 for years. 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 in a holistic and healthy environment. Even if she decides not to be a dancer, I know that a rich dance education will inspire and empower her in profound ways."
- Suzana Stankovic ,
Owner/Director; Dancer; Dance Educator; Mom
World-class dance training in a healthy setting with focus on the whole child and on 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, master ballet teacher and new 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 approach has been featured in Dance Teacher Magazine and other prominent media.
The name Wild Heart came from the idea that children and artists are similar in nature. They both posses a wild heart full of wonder and curiosity. They thrive on creativity and imagination and need a supportive environment in which to nurture these qualities.
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 failure loom dark in every class. Dancing with so much fear fosters tension, self-doubt, perfectionism and misery.
At the same time, fear of rejection and failure are natural and deeply human emotions, but it's in how we react to them that either keeps us stuck and withdrawn or propels us toward our highest potential. In this way, dance class can be an incredible tool for self-growth and empowerment.
We teach children to dance not only with technical and artistic excellence, but with love, courage, passion, confidence and authenticity.
Love is the greatest motivator of all. Dancers shine brightest and step up as leaders 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 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+ is on an audition basis and 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 with training increasing by age.
Children can audition during open-call auditions held seasonally, or by taking a single ballet class any time. Seasonal auditions consist of a friendly meet-and-greet, loosely structured exercises and improvisational, freestyle dance in which children can freely express themselves through movement. The primary goal of the audition is to ensure a harmonious learning environment in which children share similar goals and a deep desire to learn and grow as dancers. Exceptional dance talent is not required. Love and commitment are what matter most.
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. They teach safe and correct dance technique and bring love and passion to every class.
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: classical ballet, jazz and modern dance. Additional dance styles 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.
Note: A minimum of two ballet classes/week is considered the foundation of quality dance training.
Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, semester tuition is currently suspended.
With the exception of Toddler Dance & Play for ages 1.5-3 years, you may choose monthly tuition or semester tuition.
Semester Discount: Semester tuition grants you a 15% discount and can be paid in three installments.
For monthly tuition rates, please visit our online store.
Semester tuition is calculated by multiplying the monthly rate by the number of months in the semester and subtracting 15%.
Sibling Discount: We offer a sibling discount of 10%. Please note, the sibling discount cannot be combined with the semester discount.
There is a registration fee of $25 for all new students, except Toddler Dance & Play.
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 and their goals. There is some overlap in class content between creative movement and pre-ballet, and Level I and II classes.
Toddler Dance & Play for ages 1.5-3 years is a wonderful class that introduces toddlers to movement, music and self-expression through guided creative movement, fun props, storytime, dance-play and socialization. Parents/caregivers must be present for the whole class and are welcome to participate with their child, but are not required to do so.
Creative Movement & Pre-Ballet: Ages 3-6 explore physical expression, music, guided dance-play, group dynamics and pre-ballet exercises that set the stage for the study of classical ballet, the cornerstone of professional dance training.
Technique Level 1 (ages 7-12): 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 (ages 13-17 open to younger children by invitation): Level II classes for ages 13-17 are for children who possess a solid foundation in the basics and are ready to build upon them. This class offers new challenges in dance technique, music awareness, choreography retention, artistic presentation and self-accountability.
Does your child already have several years of dance training? If so, please note, not all dance schools teach at a high standard. We do. Your child is likely to enjoy a great deal of inspiration and in-depth learning in our youth program.
Teens (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 ages 13-17.
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." - Shakespeare
Performances are exciting experiences that deepen a child's understanding and appreciation of the art of dance. Performances teach teamwork, responsibility and instill a sense of accomplishment.
We believe performances are most beneficial when a child has reached a minimum level of technical and artistic proficiency enabling them to perform choreography independently and to enjoy being on stage. We also believe that rehearsals should not consume valuable class time during which children should be training and honing their dance technique.
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. To that end, we offer in-house studio performances open to family and friends several times throughout the year, showcasing the children's growth and instilling in them a true sense of accomplishment. Children perform steps and sequences of choreography they've mastered in class before a friendly audience of family/friends in a familiar setting. These frequent, small-scale showings are powerful learning tools. Children realize that every class matters and that doing their best week after week adds up in amazing ways! With practice, dedication and patience, they see that they can achieve great things exactly where they are.
We have received so much wonderful feedback from parents who love the simplicity, intimacy and frequency of these in-house showings that we will continue them in conjunction with large-scale, theatrical productions when we institute them in the near future.
Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet:
pink cap-sleeve leotard, pink or flesh-toned ballet tights and pink full-sole, leather ballet slippers.
Ballet, Jazz, Modern Dance Level I and II:
Black leotard, pink or flesh-toned ballet tights (convertible tights for dancers who take modern dance immediately after ballet) + the appropriate footwear. Ballet=pink full-sole, leather ballet slippers; Jazz=black, slip-on jazz shoes; Modern Dance=bare feet.
Black leggings + white T-shirt + black, full-sole leather ballet slippers for ballet; black, leather, slip-on jazz shoes and bare feet for modern dance.
Upon registration, instructions will be provided on where to purchase attire.
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
Class size is limited to 8 students per class
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 considered the cornerstone of professional 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