BFan Academy Fall Session has Officially Started!

Last weekend, we kicked off our Academy Fall Session with an Open House Event at our studio! We had delicious snacks, offered example classes, held a raffle for BFan apparel, and there was even a surprise performance by our company dancers. Not only did we get to see our wonderful academy dancers after taking a short break for the summer, but we also were able to meet many new academy dancers that are joining us this week! 

Class with Ms. Hannah

Above: A special ballet class with Executive Director, Ms. Hannah!

Surprise Performance with Ms. Cari and Mr. Natanael

Above: Ms. Cari & Mr. Natanael during their surprise performance for our Open House guests!

Enrollment is still open at the Ballet Fantastique Academy. To enroll your dancer, visit our academy website.

Adult classes are also offered at the Ballet Fantastique Academy.  For more information, visit our academy website.

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Our Holiday Gift Guide

Harvest Moon Photography Caitlin

Photo: BFan dancer Caitlin Christopher and Troupe Carnivale in “Seller of Dreams.” (Harvest Moon Photography; see more here)

It’s BFan Events Coordinator intern Kristen here.  Not sure what to get your loved one for the holidays this season? Look no further than your local contemporary ballet company, Ballet Fantastique for a gift that’s unique, fun, local, and a double-whammy…you get to give it now, and enjoy it later.  🙂

Here are my top five gift ideas to put a smile on pretty much anyone’s face:

  1. Tickets to The Misadventures of Casanova! Come see this new contemporary ballet premiere with lush costumes, decadent music, romance and intrigue making the way to the stage at the Hult center this coming February 2 and 3, 2013!  It’s two-in-one: holiday gift and Valentine’s event wrapped up in one.
  2. While you’re at it, you might want to consider making a bigger bang for your buck with a Ballet Fantastique Season Subscription for the rest of our 2012-2013: VENTURE lineup (The Misadventures of Casanova and Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet with live jazz!). Your pro-rated (read: discounted) season subscription will include tickets to the remaining two contemporary ballet premieres at the Hult Center, free Open Barre pass (for preview rehearsal/wine tasting reception at the City Center for Dance), additional savings from the community, and more VIP treatment!  BFan’s last three productions sold out, so a season subscription also guarantees that you’ll get seats.  These start at just $50 each, for all these goodies (and $24 for kids).  Read more about the perks and get ’em now here.
  3. Know someone who has always wanted to try something new—or who loved ballet and been wanting to get back into it?  Or been talking about whipping into shape as a new year’s resolution?  How about a Class Card for Ballet Fantastique’s hoppin’ Adult Drop-In Program?  Class times are convenient, class cards don’t expire for a whole year, and teacher Leanne Mizzoni from Washington, DC is rumored to be absolutely incredible.  Get a class card online for one, 10, or 20 classes and get the dance party started.
  4. Do you have a little one pulling on your heart strings? A daughter/son or niece/nephew? Try a gift certificate to our Young Dancer Program (ages 4+) or our Training Division (ages 7-preprofessional) as a gift.  Fill out this little form and Hannah or Emily will get back to you right away to get you outfitted with a pretty gift certificate to wrap up.
  5. Adopt a Dancer—give the gift of a scholarship to a young dancer giving him or her the opportunity to study professional dance right alongside his or her more privileged peers.  A certificate for your lucky recipient will outline the difference being made in the life of a youngster, thanks to you!

But above all, remember to enjoy this holiday season with the ones you love!  Happy holidays from our BFan family to yours.

—Kristen

What Makes a Dancer?

Practice. Strength. Artistry.

What does it take to be a GREAT dancer?

At BFan, we believe it takes:

  • Passion – You have to want to do it, because it’s not always going to be easy — loving the music, the history, and the art form.
  • Dedication – You may not always want to come to dance class, but being a dancer is 90% dedication and 10% talent — we promise once you’re at the class, you’ll be glad you came.
  • Professional attitude – Even our youngest dancers partake in this — respect the beautiful art from, respect the teachers, respect your fellow dancers, but most importantly — respect yourself!!
  • Communication – Communication is key — among parents, teachers, and dancers — all are equal partners in ensuring the best possible training experience!

So, you think YOU can dance?

Enroll your young ballerina in our young dancer and academy classes

OR

Try out our adult ballet classes! Never danced before? Don’t be intimidated — there’s beginner and intermediate classes offered! Our Adult Ballet Program is taught by BFan company dancer Leanne Mizzoni and features our beautiful dance studios, learning at your own pace, and a fun and motivated atmosphere! Some general info:

  • What do I wear? Come comfortable with a relaxed dress code! CCD also provides a spacious dressing room for your convenience!
  • Locations/Parking: CCD is the City Center for Dance Studio, located at 960 Oak. Annex is the Annex Studio, 60 E. 10th Avenue. Both are beautiful studios in downtown Eugene with parking available nearby! Parking is free on evenings and weekends, and for the first hour!
  • Drop-Ins: Drop ins are welcome, but get a class card for the best deals!

We look forward to seeing new faces in our many different ballet classes this fall!!!

Making the most of your child’s dance training

“To dance is to be out of yourself, larger, more powerful, more beautiful. This is power. It is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.”
–Agnes de Mille

Enrolling your budding dance star in one of our classes, or just looking for more insight into our program? Let this list of tips guide you!

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER!
From The Intensive Dancer Handbook by Rhee Gold, 2007
Parents and teachers may look at a child’s learning from different perspectives, but we share a common goal: to assure that every child receives the best possible training, both physically and mentally. Mutual respect between our faculty and our dancers’ parents provides children with the ultimate care and education.

HELPING YOUR CHILD GET THE MOST OUT OF DANCE TRAINING:
1. All the time: Encourage your child and express your pride in their efforts and accomplishments.

2. Before class: Make sure your child arrives several minutes prior to the start of his/her class, attends all scheduled classes and rehearsals, and comes prepared according to the dress code. Missing class can be discouraging when a child returns to class; often students have a hard time catching up, especially with choreography. They can become frustrated or anxious when they can’t catch up.

3. During class: We know that it can be tempting to want to watch your child during his or her regular classes. You want to see how they are doing! However, just as in school or with music lessons, it truly is in the dancer’s best interest for parents not to watch—
dancers truly focus better and learn more quickly when they know you’re not there! It can also create tension or confusion for children when some parents do and others do not respect the Academy of Ballet Fantastique’s policy that parents not watch—please help us keep the kids and their learning as our top priority and respect this policy.

4. After class: Talk to your child about what they learned at dance class!

5. Throughout the year: Special Parent Observation Days, exams (for older students),
and performance opportunities give dancers an opportunity to show their pride and
accomplishment in learning. You should definitely be there for these!

6. At home: Encourage your child to think strategically about his/her training at home.
Older students can be encouraged to record corrections and goals in a special dance journal or notebook. Practicing difficult concepts or steps at home (including pointe work) is generally not a good idea without the supervision with a teacher, but reviewing positions, vocabulary, or poses is great! Check with your child’s instructor if you would like guidance on how he/she can most benefit from out-of-studio practice.

7. When you have a question or concern: Feel free to call the Academy at 541-342-4611 or email info@balletfantastique.org to schedule a parent-teacher meeting any time you have a question or concern. Ballet Fantastique faculty recognizes and appreciates the importance of communication every step of the way. Please show respect and support for your child’s dance teacher, especially when it comes to disciplinary action.

8. Behind the scenes: Avoid judgmental statements concerning other parents and students at the Academy. Be proud to be a non-gossiping parent; spreading gossip or rumors creates a downbeat atmosphere and is a negative influence on productivity, both in and out of the classroom.

9. When tuition and fees are due: Promptness with tuition, costume deposits, and other fees is essential; payments should be made on or prior to the due dates.

10. During your first month with us: Read all of the materials in this Academy of Ballet Fantastique New Dancer Folder and on the Academy Handbook Website for other important details that you are required to know! Review expectations with your dancer.
11. When your child will be absent: Please call in advance to leave a message with the studio line: 541-342-4611.

12. All the time: Be proud that your child has a healthy body and is focused on the greatest art forms of them all…the art of dance!

We are proud of what we do, and want your to child feel the same way!!

What is the Vaganova Method?

“A single style, a single dance ‘handwriting,’ which manifests itself most clearly in the harmonious plasticity of movement and the expressiveness of the arms, in the responsive suppleness and at the same time the iron aplomb of the body, in the noble and natural placement of the head—and these are the distinctive traits of the ‘Vaganova school’.”

–Natalia Dudinskaya, former Vaganova student

Ballet Fantastique’s Professional Division classes follow the eight levels of the internationally renowned Vaganova Syllabus a notated and progressive training program that has produced some of the best dancers in the world, including Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, and professional dancers in almost every company in the world. The Vaganova Method combined elements of the French romantic ballet’s lyricism and the Italian ballet’s athleticism to reform the old imperial method of teaching.

The Vaganova method is a method of teaching classical ballet that was developed by Agrippina Vaganova. Vaganova spent 30 years teaching ballet and throughout this time she developed a dance technique and a method of teaching this technique. There are various aspects that define the Vaganova method including the development of lower back strength and arm plasticity, and the requisite strength, flexibility and endurance for ballet. The Vaganova method of training focuses on the ability of the dancer to perform a classical pas de deux and concentrates on precision in a teacher’s instruction.

The Vaganova lessons are very well planned out because Vaganova did not believe in the improvisation of a teacher at a lesson. The method ensures that the dancers understand the reason behind every exercise. The Ballet Fantastique students don’t only learn how to master a step, but also how to perform it correctly and its purpose. Vaganova’s system strives to promote dancing with the whole body in order to acquire a combination of movement to widen the range of the dancer’s ability.

The Vaganova method is considered to be very clean, with precise movements that express clean lines yet softness underneath. Even though Ballet Fantastique’s Vaganova-trained dancers are very strong and clean, they are still able to perform softly and beautifully on stage without robotic stiffness. For more information about classes at Ballet Fantastique, click here!

Young dancers SHINE with us!!

Our Academy classes start September 10th! This season is all about new–new dancer, new students, new class! We’re incredibly excited to inspire all of our students, continuing or just starting out, to reach for the stars!

This season we’ve added a new class with the newest member of our chamber company Alanna! She’s bringing her expertise to SPARKLING STARS on Mondays.

We love what we do and want your child to as well!!

5 reasons to enroll your young dancer (or aspiring dancer) in our classes:

1. Our instructors have extensive experience working with children (summer camps or previous classes) and, of course, were once in their (pointe) shoes. Ballet’s complexity ensures that there’s always something for everyone to learn! So don’t fear–we are well aware of the potential to be easily overwhelmed and try our best to guard against it. If your child is having a problem, we are more than happy to give them individual instruction to help them achieve the best.

2. We teach using the Vaganova syllabus; It emphasizes learning technical steps alongside a personal, unique artistry, and builds skills from the bottom up. This means no one will start out at a level beyond their ability. But don’t take our word for it…
“In addition to technique, the dancers have something more.  It is a very good coordination with the expression, body, and musicality—in Russia we call it the ‘feel of the pose.’  Ballet Fantastique training is wonderful.”
Dina Fadayeva, Expert master teacher, Vaganova Method, 2010
Graduate of the Gitis Choreographic Institute, Moscow, Russia

3. Tuition ranges from $52 to $58 a month, but you’re not only investing in your child’s ability to dance, you’re making a down payment on their development of discipline, confidence and charisma. Although a season’s worth of hard work pays off most exuberantly during the final performance, the effects of our training seep into other areas as well: schoolwork, social activities, extracurriculars. Attention to detail and dedication is central to ballet, and nothing beats the elation of hard work paying off 🙂

4. Does your child love to perform? Do you want them to develop valuable social skills? The team is as important to ballet as the individual! Our small class sizes–the cap is at nine students–ensure everyone gets to know each other, along with receiving a great deal of individual instruction. Growing out of shyness starts with building confidence in interpersonal situations, and between our performances and intimate groupings, reaching a comfortable social level is no problem.

5. We offer so much more than ballet! For example, our classes include seminars that round out our students’ ballet education. Past seminars include tying the perfect ballet bun and yoga (stills from our summer session version are below). We also feature a wide variety of music (from Disney to Chopin) to advance children’s understanding of rhythm and melody. Connect kids to their bodies by promoting athleticism, teach them dietary responsibility and more with our classes.


The classes:

NEW! Sparkling Stars (rec. ages 4 & up)

  • Mondays 4:15-4:45 pm
  • Monthly Tuition: $52/month
  • With Miss Alanna

Shooting Stars (rec. ages 4 & up)

  • Wednesdays 4:15-4:45 pm
  • Monthly Tuition: $52/month
  • With Miss Leanne

Twinkling Stars (rec. ages 4-5)

  • Saturdays 9:30-10 am
  • Monthly Tuition: $52/month
  • With Miss Hannah

Rising Stars (rec. ages 6 & up)

  • Saturdays 10:15-11 am
  • Monthly Tuition: $58/month
  • With Miss Hannah

Full details and registration here.

Warning: kids who start dancing with us have been known to put on performances in their home living rooms every day of the week 🙂

14 Reasons to Take Ballet Lessons

Skills that last a lifetime—what you will gain from a strong ballet training program (no matter what your age, child to adult)

Physical

  1. Body awareness—Dance lessons build strong balance, spatial and kinesthetic awareness.
  2. Balance—Dance stabilizes muscles in the legs, ankles, and the abdominal core for healthier knees and ankles for a lifetime.  The Vaganova method used at BFan builds very progressively, so that students feel confident and successful as they grow their technique correctly and safely.  All BFan classes follow this deliberately progressive approach, even creative movement classes.
  3. Flexibility—Dancers strive to achieve a full range of motion for all of the major muscle groups, building flexibility in tandem with strength.  BFan training also includes required Ballet Conditioning classes for Professional Training Division students to build flexibility in tandem with strength training for dancers.
  4. Strength—Dancers build strength safely in a low-impact way, by forcing the muscles to resist against the dancer’s own body weight.
  5. Endurance—Dance builds the ability of the muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time without fatigue.  At Ballet Fantastique, small class sizes mean that dancers dance more, instead of waiting around for multiple groups to use the floor for each exercise.  BFan dancers have extra-strong endurance!

Social

  1. Make friends—Make friends, challenge and support each other, and build overall social skills in a positive ballet academy environment like the Academy of Ballet Fantastique, which we’ve been told “feels like a family!”

Cultural

  1. Historical—Gain respect for and awareness about a beautiful, historical art form.
  2. Musicality—Dance is unique among many sports in that it involves music!  In ballet class, learn about musicality, rhythm, and music appreciation.  BFan Artistic Director Donna is a classically-trained pianist and cares a LOT about music.  She makes sure that every student and teacher is musically passionate and knowledgeable.  Even 4-year old beginning dancers in our Twinkling Stars class learn the basics of rhythm, clapping in sync, and “adagio” versus “allegro.”  You can ask them what these mean!  🙂
  3. Creativity—Build a confident sense of improvisation and artistry.  Artistry is key at BFan!  Browse our media reviews to see how reporters see it in even our young student performers.

Overall Well-Being

  1. Stress Release—Dance gives you a stress release and a proven mood elevation (physical activity reduces stress and tension, and can contribute to higher self-esteem and more positive outlook).
  2. Discipline—Build a sense of discipline and accountability to your “team”—so that you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
  3. Confidence in front of an audience—Build self-confidence, grace, and composure—both for yourself and in front of an audience.
  4. Learn how you learn—Dance lessons teach you more about your own learning style, improving your learning ability.
  5. Reach your goals—Dance lessons reward you with an increased sense of focus, effective goal-setting, and accomplishment. Plus, research has shown that students who participate in the arts have better achievement in academics and better social skills.  BFan dancers have a tangible sense of accomplishment, completing their annual level exams and earning well-earned medals of achievement.

What are you waiting for?!  Classes begin Sept. 10, and they fill quickly.

Register online now!

Contact us with questions