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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Schools in CT - Southern or nearby NY State


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jvonsc, this is specific to your thoughts---- I'm not an expert, but I was present during all this time so to clear up the confusion for you......Basically this is the timeline: First came SOPA which Arlene Begelman directed(for quite some time), after which came The CT Conservatory where Maria came as a guest artist. Afterwards Arlene left and started a very small program at the Jewish Community Center in Sherman. The center was just used as a studio untill she got started up again. I was one of a few that followed her there and had class usually with 3 people untill it grew bigger from everyone coming back to her from the Conservatory. Soon after, the Conservatory folded, and Robert and other teachers began to come back to teach for Arlene. At the same time Maria Calegari started her own school, and that continued up untill last year I belive. Slowly students began to leave Maria's and come to SOPA (we now had a new space-55 West st.) and for about the past 2 years, almost everyone from Maria's has come back to Arlene and SOPA. Now as posted, SOPA is merging with a newly formed school FineLine, which is headed by teachers that have taught for SOPA in the past. hope that clears some of SOPA's past up.

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That clears it all up 100%. I don't want to get off topic with my own experience, since the past has no relevence to this search. However, I do want to make sure my comments about SOPA are put into the right perspective, for the sake of what sounds like a very established school.


I have heard very good things about SOPA - in New Milford - which always confused me for now obvious reasons. I think I looked into ballet classes during the exact very few months that both schools were in transition. (Maria Calegari had a brand new school and SOPA was in the JCC in Sherman. Both had limited classes, if any, to offer specifically at DD age and pre-point training level.)

I didn't even know anything had changed since back then. Don't blame me -- I've been driving so much I'm not sure I have the same next door neighbors I had last time I looked...

Edited by jvonsc
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To add final piece to the SOPA/Fineline puzzle, the school has now moved from West Street to Railroad St., which is a block south of the the Green in New Milford. The studios are fully renovated, and really very nice.

As I have said previously, my DD has danced with the Conservatory/Maria Calegari/SOPA/Fineline for 10 years. It has been an interesting experience as the schools went through their changes,it would make an interesting book!!

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  • 4 months later...

I am looking into new pre-pro schools for my 12.5 yr old dd and I was wondering if anyone had any opinion, experience, feelings, etc...about the Greenwich Ballet Academy in Greenwich, CT?

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Thanks for the info, Bebe3!


(Please take off your Caps Lock button- it would appear as though you are yelling at us if you don't :clapping: )

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  • 2 months later...
I am looking into new pre-pro schools for my 12.5 yr old dd and I was wondering if anyone had any opinion, experience, feelings, etc...about the Greenwich Ballet Academy in Greenwich, CT?

I'm currently a student at Greenwich Ballet Academy, and while I'm older, I wish that GBA had existed when I was younger because of the terrific training that the younger students are getting. We're very welcoming to new students, though audition is required. From my own experiences and what I've seen while looking in on younger classes, even as the classes are slowly growing, there's still tons of individual attention. There's a summer program being held this year, and the program last year was incredibly successful, so I'm looking forward to this one. For information , there's a website, www.greenwichballetacademy.org . If you have any more questions, I'd be glad to answer them!

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niki94 -- I take dd to Beam and Barre, on Greenwich Ave, for pointe shoes (even though it is over an hour south of where I live). In addition to pointe shoe expertise, the staff there seem to be knowlegeable about local schools and teachers, including Greenwich Ballet Academy.


I hope it is OK with BT4D to suggest you stop in and ask what they know of some of the area schools. In fact, I believe many of the employees attend or have attended the various schools. Maybe they could help?


Moderators -- If this post is not appropriate, please feel free to delete it or change it!

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I'm really glad to hear that Arlene's school has really taken off again. I'm friends with several of the board members when it was the CT Conservatory, including one of the former board presidents. I think Arlene has managed to keep reincarnating her schools because she is that good - people will follow her anywhere. She has a very loyal following, as does Robert Maiorano, and it's well deserved.


Can anyone speak more about the latest merger? Who are the staff? What kind of dance is offered? Is Barbara Braverman still teaching? Is it just dance or do they offer musical theater and other performing arts? Are any of the Pilobolus people teaching there?


My daughter enjoyed her August classes with both Arlene and Robert Maiorano over the years. Many friends of ours have been involved with SOPA and with the CT Conservatory when it was still operating. We have both always hoped that Arlene would finally be able to think of little else besides just running her school; it's been such a long haul for her.


With all the wealth in that neck of the woods, it sure would be nice if someone would step up to the plate as a benefactor. Nutmeg had Louise Wilson - I would hope that SOPA could have someone of her great generosity supporting their school. They deserve it. :P

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Yes, Arlene Begelman and Robert Maiorano are still there - at least according to the website. The directors are Scott Wise and Elizabeth Parkinson. I called recently looking for August classes, and they end in very early August -- the 4th or something. So, I miss them again!

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So great to hear that Robert is still with Arlene. I took a look at their website, thank you. I was googling SOPA the whole time and couldn't find it. Elizabeth Parkinson - that's terrific!


Although I live about an hour away, I have worked since 1990 at a couple of the wealthy schools out your way, and tutor daily in homes throughout your area. While New Milford itself isn't wealthy, all those little towns around it sure are! I know that these wealthy families are very generous to their schools; it is too bad that they are not also involved in the local performing arts since so many of them are themselves well-known actors or other performing and fine artists.


I do wish that school much luck and good fortune. I hope there are enough ballet classes at the advanced levels for aspiring ballet dancers to not have to leave for training elsewhere. I was always grateful that we live so near to Nutmeg; we never had to worry about what to do about our daughter's training as she grew older. My friends with daughters at the original SOPA had that as an everi-present concern.

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I also hope they do well. I don't know any of the towns around New Milford, but I don't think Fineline is an unreasonable commute from this area at all.

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jvonsc -

My dd actually has purchased most of her pointe shoes from Beam & Barre also. They are very friendly and I will ask their opinion, if any, the next time we take a trip there. I don't know why I didn't think of that myself. Thanks!


22rina -

DD has actually tried classes there recently and agrees that the other girls were very warm and welcoming. She really liked the teacher as well. You are very lucky to be part of what seems to be like such a great training program.

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  • 4 years later...

Howdy fellow CT moms! :flowers:


We make the commute to NYC four days a week and drive twice a week to a new studio in North Salem NY. We are real close to North Salem but Greenwich would be over an hour! Although my DD (10 almost 11) LOVES her school, there is always the chance she will not be asked back so I would love to share info about local schools! We should form a "driver mom" support group!

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