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open classes in Hamilton? (Ontario)

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I'm not sure where to put this, since there seem to be mostly British and Americans here... does anyone know of reputable places to take ballet classes in Hamilton? (Adult-friendly, beginner level preferably :D .) I am currently taking classes in Toronto but will be moving soon. Hamilton is about an hour's drive or more from Toronto, so it won't be very feasible to commute regularly. Thanks!

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Guest Paquita

I don't live in Hamilton, so I'm not exactly sure if I can help. I have heard about the Hamilton City Ballet, and I'm not sure if they are just a performing company or if they also offer open classes. I know one of the teachers there is Max Rattevosian (sp?), and he is excellent (I attended his repertoire class once). I'm not sure if he teaches the beginner level though. You could also look into dance programs at McMaster. I think that you can still enroll if you are not a student at the university. They have classes in many disciplines including ballet, for all levels. I'm also trying to find info about ballet classes in Hamilton in the case that I go to McMaster next year! Good luck!

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Thanks for the suggestions, Paquita! I was not aware that McMaster had a dance program. I'll definitely look into those two places and see what they offer.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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You probably know by now, but Max also teaches at Mc Master. Frank Augustyn did; don't know if he still does. They also have Pilates mat classes at Mc Master.

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thanks, mom2! maybe i'll try the pilates next term.


A little update on dance in Hamilton:

I just signed up for ballet beginner and int modern (at McMaster) today. All the ballet classes during the summer are taught by Irina Aoucheva; Max Ratevossian teaches the higher level only during the year. I didn't see Augustyn listed under faculty--darn!


Vitek Wincza (sp?) was also recommended as a good Hamilton-based teacher. He is the artistic director of both Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts and something else, I believe it was either Hamilton City Ballet or the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble. The adult ballet classes that his school offers, however, are progressive, with a new session starting every couple of months. Right now there are only a few weeks left until the recital, so it wasn't worth it to sign up for classes just for the summer. There is also a Friday morning drop-in class... but that was a little pricey for me--and the actual cost depends on how many students show up.


Irina teaches drop-in classes at the Sky Dragon Centre, at 24 King St. E in downtown Hamilton. There are adult classes on Tuesday& Thursday night, and Saturdays. I have yet to try those out--but that's basically the only other class I could find. Her classes at Mac are very slow paced but intense.


Any other suggestions for classes are of course welcome!

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Hi Tigger!


Nice to "meet" you!


My daughter took a class from Max last summer...the teaching was great, but the mix in the class was quite challenging! It was an Int. adult class I think (at Mc Master), with skill levels quite variable to say the least. Perhaps it's more consistent during the year.


I have heard really nice things about Irina too, and we looked into her classes for daughter, but she was to be out of the country when we were needing a class.


Daughter also took a Pilates mat class, liked it...


Vitek is the one who does the Nutcracker every year, and is certainly making a name for himself. I know one adult who has been in the Nutcracker, but I don't know if that person would prefer Vitek over Max...perhaps it's just a matter of personal preference.


Actually, Hamilton is lucky to have some of the wonderful teachers that it does for a small(er) city! Too bad that Frank A. isn't on the list of teachers at Mc master anymore - I know one young woman who took class with him for a couple of years there.


I know there have been some interesting things happening with adult modern dance (according to my aforementioned Nutcracker friend); I'll have to find out some more details about that!


Here's to a warm, sunny Victoria Day weekend.




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Frank Augustyn is a little busy right now as director of the dance department at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. He has been the director since the fall of 2000. Adelphi happens to be my alma mater. I earned a B.A. degree in Dance there in 1969. It was one of the first universities to offer dance as a major.

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Thanks for the info Marga! I had heard that he was going to the states, but that was a while ago...perhaps I hadn't heard anything recently because he's there!

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Originally posted by mom2

Actually, Hamilton is lucky to have some of the wonderful teachers that it does for a small(er) city!  Too bad that Frank A. isn't on the list of teachers at Mc master anymore.....

Augustyn is quoted on a page in the Adelphi University site that reveals his mettle as a teacher:


“I will not admit a student who I don’t think has at least a 98 percent chance of succeeding in the world of professional dance. I see my role as identifying these dancers, and then recreating the professional world here at Adelphi.”


Who would think of Hamilton as a breeding ground for fine ballet pedagogues?!

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