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Guest RetroDancer

Ballet Schools in California - Santa Rosa

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Guest RetroDancer

I'm 14, and when I was ten I took ballet for about a year, but then quit because I did gymnastics and horse back riding at the time as well. But now I wasnt to get back into balelt but I'm not sure where to do it. I want to be able to progress really far, and take multiple classes a week, in my area there are basically 3 main places I could take ballet, I'll explain them here so you can help me out. BTW I live in Santa Rosa, California, I don't know if anyone from around Santa Rosa is a member here, but if so I'm sure they could help TONS.

 

Option One: The Dance Center, does a LOT of different types of dance, and accodring to a friend their balelt program isn't strict, and not really caring. On the plus side though, they have beg. teen classes so I wouldn't be learning with 6 and 7 year olds. But I would only be able to take one class a week. I took a jazz class here over the summer.

 

Option Two: Susan Lopez Ballet, a more ballet targerted school which is good, but offer some jazz classes as well. The problem with this studio is I'm not sure if I would even be able to go there. They have open teen/adult ballet classes 3 times a week, but that's probably not the best idea for a begginer. The also have a ballet trainee program, and although they do not specify a max. age, the picture on the site seem to be of mostly 8 year olds. The trainee one classes are twice a week.

 

Option Three: Ballet California, I don't really know much about this place yet, as they don't have a website, but they are ballet targeted. My friend is going to take lessons here, but I haven't really been able to talk to her about it. I left a message at their studi, and I hope they will have a class I can go in, so a lot of what happens depends on their schedule. This is supposed to be the best ballet school in Sonoma County ( the county Santa Rosa is in )

 

Any tips, or suggestions would be great. All these places have just begun registration, but I want to make a decision soon, before spots fill.

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Mel Johnson

We have lots of Californian members, and I'm sure that they can come up with some recent information that will help you.

 

This forum (Young Dancers) is primarily for questions about technique and performance, but this is a question about the step before those things, actually picking a school. I think I'll move it to Cross Talk to guarantee the widest probability of answers, as everybody can post there.

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Veronica

Retrodancer,

The best and most serious ballet training would have been at Ballet California. My daughter is a professional dancer and received almost all of her training with Keith and Bj Martin, the founders of the school and company.

Now for the bad news---Keith and Bj have left to become the directors of Evansville Ballet Theatre in Indiana. A big loss for Sonoma County but a big gain for Evansville!

I don't know who will be taking over the school, but if you call and find out (and also find out who else is teaching), I can probably let you know of the new owner's reputation and abillities as an instructor and director. When Keith and Bj ran the school, they had beginning/intermediate teen and adult classes a few times a week in the evenings with good attendance, so maybe the new owner will keep it up. Also there is a lovely new dance shop in the front of the building (used to be mine!) that probably has everything you need.

Another good school, although quite a drive, is Marin Dance Theatre directed by Margaret Swarthout. You might also check out Petaluma Ballet.

The Dance Center is good for "Broadway" type singing and dancing, tap, jazz, and hip-hop style dancing. Not so strong on the ballet. Susan Lopez is a very nice lady and usually has at least one of her daughters teaching also. I believe the concentration is more on ballet for ice skaters since it is held at the ice arena. Could be alright, but seems more for the younger recreational dancer and just doesn't offer the amount of classes and technique necessary to "get anywhere."

Hope this helps you out and don't hesitate to ask anything else.

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Guest RetroDancer

Thank You Veronica! Sorry about posting it in the rong place, I almost posted in Cross Talk, but then wasn't sure. I'm not sure who is taking over Ballet California, but I remember on the answering machince it said they were moving studio's to Airway Dr. (same street Susan Lopez Ballet is on), but I'm hoping to here back from them soon. I might look into Marin Dance Theatre and Petaluma Ballet, in a few years when I can drive, but my parents really are not willing to drive to Petaluma or farther (we ran into this problem with horse-back riding).

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Gina Ness

Hi RetroDancer...It's your welcomer, Gina, posting here! I just noticed this thread. I live in Sonoma. I thought you were already one of Keith's students. Because you are not and you are studio shopping, I just want to tell you that the new school in Ballet California's old location will be good, as well. So, check them out, too. They will be offering very focused, serious training. Some of my former students from Sonoma will probably be studying there. Tamara Statkoun, former principal dancer of the Kirov, will be on the faculty. Ms. Statkoun was on the faculty in Sonoma for the past five years. She is also on the faculty at Santa Rosa Junior College. This new school will have a very talented director. I'm not sure if it's been formally announced yet, so I won't mention the name. Ballet California will be continuing in a new location with a new, excellent director, as well. So, lots of good ballet classes coming to Santa Rosa in the fall. That's all I know...Good luck!

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Guest RetroDancer

Do you know a phone number or anything I can contact the new studio in Ballet California's old location with?

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Veronica

My DD studied with Tamara for a semester at the SRJC as well, and really enjoyed her as did many of the adults that took class at Ballet California and the JC.

My DD and I are waiting with bated breath to find out more about ABC's new location as well as the ownership of the studio in the old location. DD and her DBF will be in the area visiting old friends the first week of Sept and would love to know the "scoop" before she gets there--so Gina Ness , let us know ASAP!

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Veronica

RetroDancer,

You might want to look in the yellow pages for the dance shop on Summerfield to call them and ask if they have any info. Nannette (owner) or Christian (sales) could be helpful with any info.

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Guest RetroDancer

Thanx Veronica. My mom might take me down their to see if their is anything going on at the studio. We can probably stop by the shop while were their as I need to get some ballet stuff anyways, we can see if the workers know anything.

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Guest afroballet01

I need help picking a studio too since mine (which was a ballet school for all ages,but also had a pre-pro option) closed.

 

Here are the options:

 

#1) The ballet school that is connected to the company in my town.Has both recreational and pre-pro tracks once you reach about 12.I would be doing the recreational track and could take up to 5 classes (4 tech. 1 pointe) doing that.

 

#2) This one is a competition school that offers all types of dance,but still focuses a lot on technique.They offer between 2 and 4 classes a week.The only drawback about it is that their classes are generally only and hour long.

 

#3) This one is a purely recreational school that has all types of dance,but a particularly strong ballet program.They offer anywhere between 1 and 3 classes a week for each level,plus semi-private instruction.

 

*I by the way am a serious recreational student.

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mayfair1

Retrodancer, if you're interested in adding more classes once you can drive, I would definitely recommend the adult/teen classes at Marin Dance Theater.

 

Afroballet01, #1 sounds like the best choice, by far, to me. They offer the most classes, and since they have a prepro program, they likely have very good technique. If you're a serious student, why not take class at the most serious school with the most classes, especially since they offer a recreational track?

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Guest RetroDancer

I found out some info today driving by the places and thought I would share it in case anyone is interested. The new studio forming where Ballet California used to be is called Santa Rosa Home of Ballet, or something like that (i forget exactly). Their director is ome Russian guy name Viktor *long russian lastname I forget* I forget everyone on the faculty list on the flyer but Tamara Stakoun, and Connie Lutz were both their. Their classes begin Sept.6 and they have in open house on Sept.3 from 11-3. A phone number was provided, but I think I wrote it down wrong as the answering machine I called at said Hello this is the Nichols home. Ballet California did not have any teacher their when we went by but the dance shop lady showed us around and gave us a flyer. Ther classes also begin Sept. 6 and their director is Maria Vague, who worked in Marin for a while. They do not know what classes they will be offering, but will create the schedule after the class placement/nutcracker audition on Aug 27 at 1, so they know what the age and levels are of people who will be coming. If anyone knows anything else to elabrate on this I'm sure it owuld be appreiciated, and I hope this helped someone who might be in a similar situation as I am.

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Guest afroballet01

^^ #1 is the most expensive and #3 is now having the owner of my old studio (which as I said was one w/ a pre-pro track) teach 2 classes a week.I know that those will be serious and just as good training but less classes offered.

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Guest RetroDancer

If money doesn't really matter then I would go with #1 for you afroballet, but if it is then maybe taking the two classes, with the #1 school instructor at the #3 school would be good.

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Veronica

RetroDancer,

I'm not quite clear on the studios.

The one that Viktor (Kabaniev?), Connee Lutz and Tamara Statkoun will be at the Summerfield Site? If so, it will be a very good program, DD has experience with all of these teachers and they are fantastic. If Viktor is the director, will he be bringing Tina Bohnstadt with him? She is great too. Sounds like more Russian based training.

That leaves Maria Vegh as the artistic director for Ballet California at the new site-correct? I do know that there are mixed feelings about her teaching methods. A few feel she is a "dragon lady" but most appreciate her teaching. I know that she has worked at a number of studios and a a guest teacher at summer intensives, but is more known for private/semi-private classes. It will be interesting to know who the staff is.

Your best bet is to take a few classes at both studios before committting and see which one has the right feel for you and what you would like to get out of ballet.

Let us know how you do and PM me if you wish.

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