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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Schools- Steps on Broadway Open Classes

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Atwood is very good and a nice guy. He'll treat your daughter well. I've never heard of Gerson and as far as I know Turner teaches kids classes, which end this week. But maybe she's teaching in the summer program.


For T shirts, there's Urban Outfitters near Steps and a very cool store called Lord of the Fleas diagonally opposite Steps. Steps also had cool branded T shirts - they all say Steps. Olive Bette's is a few blocks from Steps and they have great but expensive stuff. Also H & M in midtown.


If you are here on Saturday, you might also consider Lonnie Morreton - it's beginning ballet but it's not and I think he is teaching at Purchase this summer. Also Peff Modelski, my DD loves her class and she pays special attention to the young ones.

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Guest tutucute

For the most bang for your buck on T-shirts, head for Times Square and look for the vendors that sell 2 or 3 of the "I <heart> NY" t-shirts for about $10. Good for gifts.


Another one we like to get and send to friends can be found in many of the gift emporiums that are on 5th Ave in the 40s as well as 8th Ave in the 40s. They are red t-shirts with the FDNY logo on the front and on the back, the sign that adorns the rear of every fire truck in the city: "KEEP BACK 200 FEET". People seem to like those; expect to pay anywhere from $8 to $15 each, depending on quality and location.


Good luck, and enjoy.

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not a mom :) but last summer Atwood taught ballet for my level the last 2 weeks of my intensive at Ailey and I really enjoyed them. He has a wonderful way of teaching and the way he sets up his entire class, it doesn't even feel like a class! He's a lot of fun and very amiable! I'm sure she'll enjoy him a lot if she takes his class. Everyone else has given a lot of good suggestions for the tshirts. There are a lot available and Steps is in a great location surrounded by a lot of shops so she shouldn't have a problem finding some she'd like. Have Fun!!

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What is Lonnie Morreton? DD will be at Purchase for AAD, so it might be neat to take a class early with one of the teachers and meet them. What do you think?

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OOps...figured it out. The schedule will work perfectly to take his class. We are going to the 2pm show of Hairspray....


I can't believe it is only 2 weeks away. Thanks for all the help here. :)

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Do you want cool t-shirts, or ny tourist t-shirts? For cool ones, but a bit more pricey, try Berkely Girl on Columbus Ave behind the Natural History Museum (78-79? can't remember exactly, but you will find it on the West side of the street.). Also, Alphabets, a tiny store on Broadway bet 83-82 has Paul Frank and lots of other really fun and funny t-shirts...


As for Steps, my dd, who is 10.5 and in about level III (whatever THAT means) has picked up the occasional class just for the joy of it, and enjoyed ( all Adv Beg, Beg Int, Int...):


Kathleeen Smith

Edward Ellison

Michael Vernon

Peff Modelski

Alexander Filipov


and floor barre with Bouley (although she wants to try Ettlin).


Smith(female) and Vernon(male) were most appropriate for her level, so she could relax and have more fun. Ellison was a bit tougher and manageable, and he worked well with her. Peff Modelski is a very challenging interesting teacher who does a lot of very fast, intricate center work which your daughter might enjoy- but while she welcomed my dd and looked after her well, she explained that her class is quicker than many intermediate classes as many professionals take it, as well as returning students.


If your dd is on the smaller side (and the following will be moot if she isn't, so ignore) it is a courtesy to ask the teacher's permission for a non-adult to join the class, which is almost always granted, although she may be asked where she studies and with whom, etc. For a grown-up looking teenager, you probably don't have to ask. Regular classrom etiquette is observed, i.e., if your dd is unsure of a combination, hang back across the floor or in the center, be aware of adult dancers coming behind you as they are longer-legged and your dd should move quickly out of their way when she is done, etc....


That said, it is a great atmosphere, and your dd will enjoy just hanging around taking it all in. The older dancers are a lesson in themselves, and almost uniformly generous and kind to the young ones. You should plan extra time before and after for her to gawk through the doors of all the classes..


Have fun!



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I can't help you with STEPS, but I can help with T-shirts. My daughter and I just got back from New York a couple weeks ago, and we picked up a few T-shirts for ourselves and family members. If your daughter is looking for Broadway show-type shirts, there are shops on some of the side streets around the Times Square/Broadway area that specialize in that. There is also a small shop next to Radio City Music Hall that has Rockette merchandise. As for any other type of T-shirt, just look for any of the touristy, souvenir shops that are just about everywhere! If you walk along Times Square or 5th Avenue, you'll see them. My daughter's favorites were one that said "New York City Princess" and the FDNY shirts from a little shop on (I think) 49th near 6th, close to the Today Show taping. The "I (heart) New York shirts are 7 for $10 in some shops! If your daughter likes T-shirts, she'll have a great time looking for them in New York.

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I've been learning a lot in Edward Ellison's class. Almost every time I go, there's been a couple of girls who seem to be about 11 or so. He calls them "little ones" and gives them easier versions of the steps if they can't handle the more advanced ones. He seems to be really great with the young ones and has a pleasant demeanor. Most of the teachers seem to really enjoy teaching the kids, though asking beforehand for permission is a very good idea. He gives lots of attention to coordination of arms and head---a good class for building coordination and working on port de bras and epaulment. It's not a class for beginners though. A solid Intermediate dancer will do just fine.


Personally (I hate saying this online), I don't care for Filipov's corrections. He doesn't articulate what he wants in the most effective manner. He says things like "don't use your abs", "arch your back", "hyperextend your legs" on a regular basis. I think he's getting at a picture that is essentially correct, but unless you already have a grasp of your own technique and can "interpret" his corrections, I fear he'd lead a less experienced dancer astray. That said, his class is very good for building strength and is constructed well. This is my own humble opinion of course.


Emilietta Ettlin will be substituting for Sasha Filipov for the next few weeks, so check the schedule updates online. She's my "main" teacher and is very good with young students. She privately coaches several young dancers in New York. I've learned more from her in the past year and a half than I learned in fifteen years of ballet classes. She really teaches, as opposed to just "giving" class, as many of the teachers are apt to do. Her focus is proper placement and using the body in a way which is efficient, produces speed and strength, and decreases chances of injury. My body feels better and is more flexible at age 28 than it ever was as a teenager. Her floor barre is truly inspired (they'll be a 4:30 Friday *I think* class added soon to the schedule).


If you are at Steps early on a Saturday, your daughter may enjoy spying in on Willie Burmann's class. Loads of dancers from ABT, NYCB, and DTH take his class. There's always someone famous there. It's very advanced and fast-paced so she may not be so comfortable taking the class unless she's very good and self-confident (I have seen 12 year olds who do quite well, but they're usually very talented ones from SAB)


liebs's suggestion of Urban Outfitters is a great one. They have fun teen clothes which aren't too $$$$. There's a charming little french cafe in the Ansonia (the large building right beside steps) at ground level. It's called Cafe Margot and they have really great pastries, soups, and sandwiches, if you want a light lunch or a quiet place to enjoy some coffee. Sephora is right near STEPS as well. It sells makeup, perfume, and hair stuff. You can try on all the makeup before purchasing. Don't know if your DD is allowed to wear makeup yet, but it may be a fun place for a teen.


Too many things to do in NYC!

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I went to AAB last year (at vassar) and had Lonne Moretton for floor barre. He was a very good instructor and I learned a lot from him. Also, I would definatly recommend Emiliatta Ettlin's advanced beginner class. It is at 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. She gives corrections which is nice.

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I want to chime in on how much I agree with lampwick on her suggestions and opinions about Emilietta Ettlin's classes and private coaching at STEPS. We met her accidentally in the hallway and before we left, I had arranged a private session for my DD. Just got lucky. Anyway, it was one of the best investments I've ever made. I have stayed in touch with Miss Ettlin and she is encouraging us to come back to NY (we're also from Texas) so that she can work with my DD some more. To me, she is a remarkable person and teacher. Not knowing much about ballet myself, I can only say that she literally showed my DD exactly which muscles she should be using (by isolating the muscle on her body and allowing DD to feel which muscle she should be using). I have certainly never had a teacher who got down to where the student was operating cognitively as easily and as quickly as she did. I only wish we weren't so far away! Good luck and have a great trip to NY. Your daughter will love it. Oh! Go see Movin' Out if it's still playing!

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Guest dancingforever

I agree with all who enjoy Robert Atwood. He is a great teacher and pays attention to everyone, especially younger dancers. He also explains things well, taking the time to explain how the body is working, as opposed to throwing out exercises and combinations. I assume that Turner is Amanda Turner, a teacher at the School at Steps. If so, don't miss her class! I LOVE Amanda. :) She also is concerned about working properly and understanding what's going on, and this approach to teaching helped me a lot last summer.

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Guest elidancer

I would try to get her to Emilietta Ettlin's class, she has a advanced Beginner class on sunday, 5-6:30. My daughter loves her, she really learns alot and leaves the class feeling like she has accomplished something.

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Interesting reading that comment about Sasha Filipov...I danced with Sasha at SFB. I think I will chime in here that he was an excellent dancer and beautifully trained. Sometimes I think it is more difficult for folks for whom English is not their native language to communicate as effectively. I have to think, though, that there are certainly good things to be learned from him in his classes.

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Guest dancer04

I have a question regarding what level of class to take at STEPS. I will be in NY July 2-11 and am wanting to take a couple/few ballet classes while I'm there. I am 18, almost 19. Currently I'm enrolled in a University Ballet Program. Would the low intermediate level be the correct level for me? Any other suggestions?

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The level assignments at STEPS are really broad guidelines. One teacher's Advanced Beginner may be anothers Advanced Intermediate. In general, early morning classes are geared more towards serious students and professionals while the late afternoon/evening classes have more of a broad mix of students. That said, you'll find a fairly wide range of abilities in most of the classes, except for certain classes which have a reputation for being "hard"...Willie Burmann, Nancy Bielski, etc...


Most people would feel comfortable in an afternoon class, regardless of what the level is assigned as. If you feel like taking the plunge into a hard class though, no one will make you feel shunned, and you may get to see some fantastic dancers at work.


Read the bios of the teachers on the STEPS website to get an idea of who may be a good fit for your style, or pick someone different if you want a taste of something different, like a Balanchine-ish approach. It's better to go by the teachers rather than a level designation.

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