Photo: dancer Jacqueline Schiller, photographed by Erin Baiano for the French Académie of Ballet
On Wednesday and Thursday, the Ailey Theater hosted the NYC Festival of Dance Schools, presented by master ballet teacher and former ABT and NYCB dancer Kat Wildish. The program gave pre-professional dancers in the tri-state area a chance to showcase their blossoming talent and to log some essential stage time. More than that, however, it gave dance students in the audience a chance to see the spectrum of high-quality training available to them in a city where the number of choices can be paralyzing. (Just try ordering Chinese food online...)
Dancers from Art of Dance in Chester, New Jersey, performed tightly rehearsed contemporary ensemble pieces that were clearly competition-ready. The French Académie of Ballet performed two pointe pieces—one strictly classical and the other more contemporary, showing off their versatile ballet training. Valentina Kozlova's Dance Conservatory brought an East Indian-influenced contemporary ensemble piece, followed later by a classical solo variation. Students from the Staten Island Ballet, Vicky Simegiatos Performing Arts Center, Ballet des Amériques and hip-hop dancers from the Ailey Teen Extension also performed, combining wide ranges of talent in their pieces.
Dance schools often rely on reputation to draw in the next generation of pre-professional talent, but there's nothing like seeing the results in action to really get a feel for the training. Whether looking for a recreational hip hop program, a competition team or classical Vaganova training, students can see, first-hand, the wide range of NYC's training opportunities at the Festival of Dance Schools.