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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Schools in CT - Southern or nearby NY State


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I live in the Ridgefield/Wilton area actually so I know a bit about Ridgefield schools. The reason I didn't mention a school closer than Stamford/Greenwich/Norwalk is because none of the local schools can be truly considered pre-pro.

The Ridgefield Conservatory is run by James Robey and his wife Melissa. They offer a solid ballet curriculum, but the only level which has serious students with good technique is the top level and perhapst he one below. The others have a combination of students running from twice a week students to those coming 5x per week, mostly age based. So for example, girls who play a sport in middle school and were in a level lower than the top 2/3 of ballet may decide to come only once a week when their sport is in season and they stay in the same level with the others their age even though their technique will obviously not be as good. This is one reason I wouldn't say it is a pre-pro, although for a rec. school for the serious rec. student it might be fine. They do offer good master classes and their serious students have been accepted to good SI's/college programs, just keep in mind that although one will get good training, they will be in a class of mixed-dedication students until age 12 or so. Website : www.ridgefielddance.org

Ridgefield School of Dance is run in the fitness center, they rent the space. As far as I know from friends that used to go there, they currently have no high school age students anymore, the classes are huge and their student's technique is sloppy. They also put younger students on pointe who are clearly not ready. I believe that this statement that the school isn't prepro is justified because in the world of ballet pointe shoes are an individual decision for the dancer. However, this school advertises the two brands that ALL dancers should wear and also two brands that are not allowed...and the spelling is not even correct. Also, the maximun technique classes given are 3 per week for the highest level...with pointe classes on alternate days for 1/2 hour with no warmup. Most of their former students who are now in high school go to the Conservatory, which I discussed above. Website:http://www.theridgefieldschoolofdance.com/registration.htm

If one could possibly check out the other 3 Fairfield County schools mentioned, I believe for prepros they are most satisfactory.

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jvonsc- Thanks so much for your input. It's nice/ reassuring to hear from someone that's been in that same commuting situation. Logrea looks pretty good. I actually know three girls who dance there that I met at CPYB this summer.


dancelyssa- Those schools sound good. Hopefully I can convince my mom about the commute. Do you mind me asking where you dance? I didn't think you mentioned that or not.





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You're welcome! Believe me, I feel for you. I hope it works out for you.


As far as The Ridgefield School of Dance - my daughter took some classes in brand new studios, so perhaps that has changed for the better? She danced with the highest level class, although she is not at the highest level in her home school. But, I thought all the girls at that level and some of the ones at the level below were in high school, and the classes were not large - maybe 15 girls? From what she gathered from her 2 weeks there, most of the level 7 girls attended both level 6 and 7 classes, so 4 technique and 3 pointe per week. Every pointe class was preceded by technique class. DD did not take any pointe classes -- on purpose. (DD did say the girls who were behind her in technique were doing things on pointe she's not doing yet, which is not a good thing.) Another major concern she had was the amount of class time spent on rehearsals.


I agree all three Fairfield County schools mentioned have good reputations. But because of the traffic on Route 7, 287 and I95, it would probaby be closer to drive to NYC every day than to drive to those schools.


The reasons the commute to Nutmeg didn't work for us may not apply to Ballet4ever1 at your age and level! Depending on your own situation, you may be able to do it.

The newly merged SOPA I read about in this thread is also a possibility we didn't have and I wouldn't rule out.

Good luck!

Edited by jvonsc
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Also, let me know if you have questions about Logrea.

Edited by jvonsc
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My daughter attends SOPA, and it has merged with Fineline Theatre Arts, and still in New Milford. They are moving to all new studios about half a mile from where SOPA is now, in October. The artistic directors of the merged school are Elizabeth Parkinson, and Scott Wise. Both are accomplished Broadway dancers, although both trained in ballet. Ms. Parkinson danced with the Joffrey Ballet before moving over to Broadway. All of the SOPA teachers are on staff at Fineline, so they offer a very strong program, with alot of choices. SOPA never closed, it had at one time merged with the Ct. Conservatory of the Performing Arts, but Ms. Begelman went out on her own in 2000, and the Conservatory eventually closed in the summer of 2002.

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I'm sorry about my own confusion. I'm sorry I said it closed if it didn't -- but I'm glad I said to look into it!


For the purposes of searching for a school in this area - my sentiment remains the same. As I said, SOPA sounds like a very good option and I know nothing about it except what you just told us!

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The web site to find information about SOPA/Fineline Theatre Arts is



There you will find all the information, and bios on faculty, classes, etc.

Hope it helps.

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It looks great. It is good to know they are there, so I'm glad Ballet4ever1 asked this question.


I just want to also add that these schools I looked into and didn't pick all offer something great for other serious dancers. My criteria was strictly ballet technique throughout my daughters preadolescent years. Dancers who are already on pointe or who have a passion for jazz or modern would have excellent training at a place we wouldn't have chosen for us.

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Is Robert Maiorano still with SOPA in New Milford? Way back when, my daughter took August classes there. Arlene Begelman was head, and then when it merged with the CT Conservatory, she was head of the dance division. My daughter loved her classes, and especially loved Maiorano's.


My friend was President of the Board of Directors of CT Conservatory and other friends served on the board. SOPA has had a few reincarnations over the last 5 or 6 years. I hope that it is stable now.


Do they have enough classes equivalent to a pre-pro training? They sometimes, but not always, did in the past. A friend's daughter was a serious dancer there, but they didn't live close enough to Nutmeg to send her there.


You can also call Nutmeg to see if there is a carpool from that area? I work much closer to New Milford than Torrington and my daughter attended schools out that way (N.M.) Over the years, we had many different sorts of car pools, often meeting in a town halfway to Nutmeg to pick up dancers. It was crazy but we always managed to work it out.

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Is Robert Maiorano still with SOPA in New Milford?


He was last year. I'm not sure about this year but I believe he is. My son loves him. He has taught many classes over the years as a guest teacher at our home studio and last year he coached my son with his Nutcracker roles. A great teacher.

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He is a fine teacher and a great mentor. :yes:

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Yes, Robert teaches Advanced Ballet, Int. ballet, and Adagio on Mondays, and Adv. Ballet on Tues. Arlene teaches on tues, wed., friday and Sat. SOPA is still going strong and as has been posted, they have merged with Fineline Theate Arts. Elizabeth Parkinson is supposed to also begin to teach some ballet classes in the near future. The new school with Ms. Parkinson and her husband Scott Wise has opened up new opportunities for dancers in this area.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone, I've never posted before so this is a first but I've been getting amazing information from this board for quite a while now. I just have to write to stick up for my home studio SOPA. I started my serious training with Arlene Begelman and Robert Miaorano when I was about 10 years old.(previously I had been at a competition/recital school) and they completely turned me around. Now I am a senior in high school and spending my last year here, at NCSA(for ballet). One of my best friends Roddy Doble, is the one that joined the studio company in August. The training and teachers are amazing. It is very intense and meticulous but it is also so much like a family. Not only is the ballet training amazing, but so is everything else. I was so exposed to every dance form there, jazz styles, tap, different modern styles, and even voice. It is also extremely small, and direct one-on-one attention is an everyday experience. I really can't explain how wonderful I believe SOPA is--- it is just an amazing little school that is well kept secret. The new faculty there is also amazing(I have had them as teachers previously, before the merge) Please look into SOPA, and let us know what you think!!!

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That's great information - it is a very well kept secret - I can agree there! I am still confused about where everyone was in 2002/2003 when I was trying to figure it out. Wasn't Maria Calegare involved with CT Conservatory at the same time as Robert Maiorano and Arlene Begelman? And wasn't the Conservatory in that West Street space? What was the school on Rt 39 in the JCC? Was that a different SOPA? I really wish I knew of BalletTalk in 2002 and one of you could have saved me about a year of confusion.


As far as schools in this area, SOPA would be significantly closer for anyone on the opposite side of town from me. From where we live, it is 40 minutes (without traffic, which is never the case) to West Street.

However, depending on where Ballet4ever1 is coming from, it could be as much as 20 minutes or more closer. If that's the case, our school in Westchester would also be 20 minutes further away...Something to think about with these wierd CT roads...I also think an hour is not an unreasonable commute.


Sounds like you have at least 3 really great options to look at....SOPA/FineLine, Logrea, and Nutmeg if you'd drive a little further.

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