the academy is NOT moving… YET!

You may have noticed the sign in front of our building… This is not due to a confirmed plan to move but simply part of the process of exploring potential new locations as we look to expand our program offerings and continue to grow our legacy institution…

the nutcracker 2019 (full-length video)

Enjoy this full-length video of our 38th annual production of The Nutcracker…

our 38th annual production of the nutcracker – tickets now available!

Staged every December for the past 37 years, this professional production includes Academy students that are enrolled in our ballet program…

our 6th annual production of alice (2019): full performance video

Enjoy this video showing our full 2019/6th Annual Production of Alice…

2019-2020 season registration

Another Westport Academy of Dance season is rapidly approaching…

summer 2019 dance camps

Join us at the Academy for various summer dance camp programs…

please join us at our upcoming alice perfomance

please join us at our upcoming alice perfomance

Spring is here and so is Westport’s Academy of Dance 6th annual production of Alice!

the nutcracker 2018 (full-length video)

Enjoy this full-length video of our 37th annual production of The Nutcracker…

dance and the importance of emergency preparedness

Westport’s Academy of Dance is proud of our own Teacher and Choreographer David Fernandez and Student Charlotte Barrato for helping The Mayor’s Office of New York City and The New York City Emergency Management Department…

wywl’s craftwestport 2018!

Please join us at The Westport Young Woman’s League CraftWestport 2018 at Staples High School…

Congratulations Grace!


We are absolutely thrilled for WAD alumni, Grace Bergonzi, who has been named one of the newest members of the esteemed Ailey II modern dance company in NYC.

Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers.
With Artistic Director Troy Powell at the helm, Ailey II continues to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company. Dance Magazine calls Ailey II “second to none,” and The New York Times declares, “There’s nothing like an evening spent with Ailey II, the younger version of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.”

As a member of this prestigious company, Ms. Bergonzi will perform in cities across the globe, including a New York City engagement at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in the spring.

We are so proud of everything Grace has accomplished and know that she will continue to soar among this talented and accomplished ensemble of dancers!


Huge congratulations to WAD alumni Grace Bergonzi, who has just been named an apprentice with Ailey II, the 2nd company of the world renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre!

Founded in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Ailey II embodies Mr. Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Under the direction of Sylvia Waters from 1974 to 2012, and currently under the direction of Troy Powell, the company has flourished into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.

Read more about Ailey II & the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre here

After training at Westport’s Academy of Dance thru 2013, Ms. Bergonzi received the Jogues Scholarship and the Alvin Ailey Artistic Merit Scholarship as she entered the  B.F.A. program at Fordham/Ailey.

She graduated summa cum laude in May of 2017, and we are so thrilled for her next chapter, as apprentice with this magnificent company!

Congrats, Grace!

This recital weekend we enjoyed several amazing performances and celebrated Miss Tollie’s 20th year teaching at the Academy. To honor her, we have created a video that highlights her incredible career. Thank you Miss Tollie for all that you do for the Academy!


Special thank you to Miss Caitlin for putting this wonderful tribute together.


Westport’s Academy of Dance is proud to announce that Miss Courtney’s piece ‘To this day’ will be performing in the 2017 Slam Jam. The Academy is supporting the anti-bullying movement in Westport and we are thrilled to be performing at such an important community event.


The 2017 SlamJam is a performance art showcase in which high school teens express their feelings about empathy and kindness as well as bullying, exclusion and their social world. Dance, music, rap, poetry, spoken word and song are all represented in this dramatic and powerful evening of exceptional talent. Teens from all over Fairfield County are participating.

Emcee’d by Poetry Slam award-winning artist CEEZ LIIVE, the 2017 SlamJam promises to move and motivate audiences of all ages. Inspired by events in Westport and surrounding areas, as well as by the Westport Arts Center’s “More Than Words” exhibit, SKATEmovement.org (K2BK Founders) presents the 2017 SlamJam – Teens with something to say.

For more information about this event and the link for reg tickets:


(If you would like to join us for VIP seating,  you need to call the box office at (203) 227-4177.  Includes pre-performance champagne “meet and greet” and post performance party)

Want to see dance??? Miss Courtney and her sister Monica have created the company Tapperlesque and submitted their work to be performed September 17th, 2016. The NYC Choreographer’s Forum, produced by former Radio City Rockette Denise Caston, is an opportunity for choreographers to present their work to colleagues and peers. This inaugural event will feature styles including tap, jazz, theatre dance, and contemporary. Choreographers included in this diverse evening are Germaine Salzburg, Sue Samuels, former Tap Dog Anthony Locascio, Mark Albrecht, Kat Katona, Cooper Flanagan, Angela Morgan, Julia Kane, Monica Poulos, and more! Miss Caitlin is also performing with Miss Courtney’s Company.

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets: http://www.nycchoreographersforum.com

Today we are sending out Congratulations to former Academy Student Abby Merlis who has recently joined the 2nd company at Boston Ballet! To read more about this dancer’s experience, click here: https://06880danwoog.com/2016/07/09/abby-merlis-dances-with-the-stars/

senior sendoff


Every year we ask our graduating seniors about their experience while dancing with the school. Here are some words from two very special ladies. From everyone at WAD, we wish you all the best in your future journey.


My experience at the WAD over the past decade has largely molded me into the person I am. I’m proud of the discipline I’ve learned, but I’m even prouder of how my WAD family has taught me to be a better person. My favorite WAD tradition is the Sr. Company huddles before every Nutcracker. Just before the curtain opens, we spread words of encouragement and love for each other, and I believe this kind of bond translates into an onstage chemistry that makes the performances so special. Thank you to my WAD teachers and all the friends I’ve made during my time here…I’m eternally grateful for being given the privilege to know all of you! – Miranda Saunders

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.23.53 AM

Over the past 8 years, 8 Nutcrackers, 8 Recitals, 4 Alices, 2 Workshops, 1 Kickline, and countless hours of classes and rehearsals it is finally time for the WAD chapter of my life to come to a close. My first year at the Academy I auditioned for the Nutcracker, not knowing anything about it, or the storyline at all, I aimlessly danced around as a party scene boy and cartwheeling as a candy cane. I remember at the very end of the show all the girls would pile into the wings to watch the final pas de deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Never did I ever think that one day I would be able to do that myself. And to do so was the proudest I have ever been of myself and the most fun I have ever had on stage, as I got to dance in the footsteps of my best friends before me and perform with girls I have grown up with from the start. Being at the academy has helped me grow so much as a person. It has built my character, given me discipline and sportsmanship, but also technique, amazing memories, and the faith that if you try your hardest you can achieve your goals. Last year I said goodbye to some of my best friends, who i had been dancing with since I was a young and awkward middle schooler. They were mentors as well as friends, they helped my survivor high school and the academy and to be able to see them everyday was such a blessing. Saying goodbye to the 7 of them was so hard, but then we said hello to 7 more girls. This year I was finally able to be the oldest, after four years of senior company, and I was able to serve as an example for them and help them as my friends has helped me. It is amazing to see how such talented girls, are such amazing people as well, and that is what is so amazing about the academy. I have no doubt that they will carry on the legacy of WAD with grace. I am thankful for all my teachers have done to me and the words of wisdom they have given me over the years, I will carry that with me always. While I will miss the sleepovers, the late rehearsals, the secret snowflake exchange, the pre show rituals, and post show tears, I am so lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. Thank you WAD! -Jane Schutte

artist brigade

Academy families, please take a moment to learn about NicaPhoto, a wonderful organization that is doing an enormous amount of work for disadvantaged children and their families living in the poorest barrios of Nicaragua.  We learned of their work through the Evans family who are also generously involved in a related non-profit organization, CT Quest for Peace, with a focus on sustainable solutions to similar needs in the same region.
The Evans family has graciously been part of our Academy family as former students, volunteers, and most recently as Abby has joined our staff! Please join us in supporting these extremely important initiatives, as together we can leverage the power of dance and the arts to help promote change.
Please be on the look out for signage in the studio, updates on the Academy blogFacebook and Twitter accounts where we will announce specific dates and times for planed clothing, dance apparel and school supply donations, fundraising events, and other related initiatives. A small amount goes a very long way!
We are so thankful for your support.  Anyone interested in getting more involved please email us! 
Nancy, and the staff at the Academy





nutcracker dad



Photo: Rachel and Michael Wolfe


Ever wonder what it is like to be the Dad in The Nutcracker? Well here is a hilarious story that will give you the idea.

Click Here to check out his blog.

Et Tu, Ballet? A Father’s Attempt To “Participate”

NOVEMBER 19, 2015  by Michael Wolfe

Nutcracker funny

The email came forwarded with a short note from my wife, direct in its simplicity:

“You’re doing this.”

The email was a plea from Westport’s Academy of Dance, my daughter’s ballet school.  Their upcoming performance of “The Nutcracker”, the annual holiday blockbuster that had entertained and tortured parents for the last century or so, had had an unfortunate setback:  the gentleman who had volunteered for years to play the role of Clara’s father had a conflict and would be unable to perform.  Would anyone be willing to take his place?

I stared at the email for a few minutes, thinking about the implications, and a classic quandary emerged:  does the chance to engage with my daughter’s passion outweigh the outright possibility (or probability) of making a fool of myself?

On the one hand, I am not shy about public performance.  The stage doesn’t bother me, and I have absolutely no pride once the lights are shining down on me.  Anyone who’s been unlucky enough to have seen me scream David Lee Roth songs on karaoke night can attest to this unfortunate side of my personality.  I have a philosophy about performing, most likely born of necessity:  enthusiasm helps cover for an utter lack of measurable talent.  Scream into the microphone and act like you’re a rock star, and you are one (provided said rock star is surrounded only by inebriated friends as witnesses before the alcohol-fueled memory loss sets in).

But this was something altogether different.  I’d seen the Nutcracker dozens of times since my daughter’s first appearance 8 years before.  And I’d seen what the part of the father entails.  He’s only on-stage for a short time, and the demands are mostly cosmetic, but about halfway through his scene, as the music shifts to a slow waltz, it happens:  the dad dances.

Let me be clear: I am not a graceful human being.  I am lucky that I stay upright for long periods of time, considering that my lanky limbs often flail about in random directions.  I bump my knees into walls, chairs and various kitchen appliances at least three times a day.  I have perma-bruises over half of my body from smashing into our open dishwasher.  Our dog knows to clear a path for me when entering a room.  In general, things are better for everyone when I’m not moving.

But what could I do?  My daughter’s entire non-school life is centered around ballet.  She dances 6 or 7 days a week, allowing herself time off only to eat, study, and threaten to kill her brother while he’s sleeping. And it’s not an activity like a team sport that allows a ton of parental participation.  In team sports, parents can coach.  They can cheer their kids on from the sidelines.  They can spend quality time driving up and down the eastern seaboard on their way to a never-ending series of travel soccer games (…on second thought, forget team sports, that sounds awful).  With ballet, a dad tends to have two opportunities for involvement:  he can drop his daughter off at rehearsals, and he can come to her actual performance, which takes place in the dark and practically demands a good nap.  That’s pretty much it.  I can’t teach my daughter how to plie (I can barely spell it).

So this was a golden opportunity of sorts.  I could intimately involve myself in my daughter’s primary activity.  And I could do it before the inevitable teen-angst years to come, when her willingness to tolerate her dad’s presence is likely to drop by at least 50%.

And, in a way, it wouldn’t be my first exposure to the inner workings of a dance performance.  My mother actually ran a modern dance school (and later the foundation that supported it) for decades.  She was not an instructor, but as a child was such an eager and entranced student that she began working there as a young adult, eventually rising to became the studio’s Director.  You can imagine the boyhood joy I felt in being dragged to hundreds of dance performances on glorious weekends when my friends were playing baseball.  I always assumed it one of my mother’s great disappointments when I failed to show any interest in breaking the gender barrier at her school, so perhaps this was a chance to make amends.

So I sent an email to the ballet school director, and I was in.  I managed to pass some kind of audition without tripping over the instructor’s torso, and was awarded the role of Clara’s father, party host and elegant man of the hour. Even better, my daughter seemed excited about my involvement, and looked forward to my chance to peek behind the curtain of her favorite activity.

And I shared her enthusiasm…until my first rehearsal.

I was, to put it mildly, a prancing wreck.

To be fair, my predecessor had been occupying the role for nearly a decade.  He had been drafted while his daughter was a ballet student, likely with similar motivations to share a meaningful experience with his young girl.  But as I fumbled through the rehearsals, it was clear that I was in a different league.  He was tall, elegant and coordinated, and understood all of his marks and moves.  I looked like a drunk muppet in the midst of a seizure.

And to make matters worse, no one seemed to care.  The teachers were rightly focused on the girls and their performances, and had clearly grown accustomed to not worrying about what the hapless and possibly spastic adult in the scene needed to do.  But I was lost, an old guy in sweatpants trying to remember whether to turn right or left, bend down or arch up, or hold hands with the tall girl in heels or the short girl with the hair braids.   Actually, no one wanted to hold my hand.  I was sweating like a marathon runner in August, and my hands were dripping buckets.  Most everyone kept their distance, a smart play for sanitary reasons.

The weekend of the performance fast approached, and all of a sudden it was the Friday night dress rehearsal before the series of official shows, three in all over the two-day weekend.  I arrived at the theater nervous, and immediately made two discoveries that only served to boost my confidence further:  one, the video I had been studying for direction and pointers was from the wrong year and of absolutely no benefit, and two, my costume was at least one size too big and could not be properly altered in time for curtain call.  So I had the dual pleasure of not only failing to know my part but also of having a strong likelihood of a Janet Jackson-style wardrobe malfunction that would expose my private parts to a large group of parents and children.

I stumbled through the dress rehearsal, vaguely aware of where I was supposed to be at any given time and managing to find that perfect midpoint point between being an actual asset and screwing up the entire production.  Keep in mind that the part of the father is hardly a main role.  Stand here at this point, open this box at that point, fake some dialogue at this moment, etc.  I’m basically being asked to play a glorified extra, not reenact Baryshnikov’s Greatest Hits.  But there was that one dance scene, where I was required to perform specific body movements to keep in time with the other dancers.  And let’s just say that I wasn’t quite in sync with the ensemble yet.  I looked like Joe Cocker dancing with a team of Beyonces.  Thank god for the patience and attention of the young woman playing my wife in the scene.  She noticed the terror in my eyes, pulled me aside for extra help (like a math teacher in high school, only our ages reversed), and practiced our moves until I had a reasonable amount of confidence that I wouldn’t throw up. But was I properly prepared?  Absolutely not.

The next day came, and I arrived early to the theater to get my head together.  I was immediately escorted to the men’s dressing room, where I met an assortment of professional ballet dancers who were playing the larger male roles to accompany the serious student dancers.  Changing into my oversized costume in front of these impossibly muscular physical specimens of human perfection did absolutely nothing to improve my confidence.  These guys looked like they lived at an Equinox, and hadn’t consumed a trans fat in years.  I looked like I lived at Wendy’s.  This boost was furthered by their choice of legwear.  Professional male dancers wear male leotards, which serve no actual purpose other than making one’s genitals appear to be the size of basketballs, and on the verge of bursting through their thin fabric at any minute.  Having reduced my masculine self-esteem by at least half, I quickly escaped the dressing room and sat down backstage to await further instructions while wondering how I found myself in this mess.  I sulked a bit more when the mother in charge of cast makeup turned to me and exclaimed “can I do something about that forehead?” and started pounding makeup on my face like she was beating a dusty pillow.

And then, salvation arrived.

My daughter emerged from the kid’s dressing area, she and her fellow cast mates moving somewhere backstage to continue their preparations.  I had never seen her before a performance, and she looked ethereal in her wispy snowflake dress, her face in angelic makeup and hair tied tightly in an elegant bun.  She saw me dressed in my overflowing costume, and beamed a smile as wide as I’ve ever seen from her.  “Daddy, you look awesome!” she said, her friends giggling at the site of me transformed into a 19th century aristocrat.  “Let me help!”  She quickly sat down next to me, grabbed the box of makeup that had been cast aside and started dabbing bits of blush and who knows what else on my face.  I smiled and let her have her way, her compliant subject in this backstage rite-of-passage (again, our roles completely reversed and yet utterly satisfying).  As she laughed and performed her makeup magic, my nerves subsided.  “Are you ready?” she asked me, an exaggerated look of worry on her face that couldn’t mask her excitement at having me here with her.  “All set”, I replied, with a wink.  She laughed, and as she walked away to join her castmates, she turned back towards me and shouted “Good luck!”.  I just about melted, and realized how lucky I was to be present in this perfect moment (albeit in a puffy shirt and ballet shoes).

And, as fate would have it, the shows went off without a hitch.  My mind rebooted to its proper settings, I clicked into gear and somehow retained the directions I was given.  I hit my marks.  I bowed at the right times.  And, come the moment of truth, I danced as properly as could be expected from a man of my age and suspect abilities.  I even heard cheers from the crowd during our curtain calls. These may have been leftovers meant for the line of dancers before me, but I took them for my own and am not giving them back.  Thinking back to the decades of dance performances I had sat through as a boy, I remembered the beaming smiles of the girls onstage, knowing that their loved ones were watching and feeling proud of what they had accomplished.  I couldn’t help but smile myself.  Mom may have known what she was doing after all.

Alas, my mother was not there to see the moment.  10 months earlier, she had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.  Six difficult and trying months after that, she was gone.  She died far, far too young, robbed of the chance of seeing her grandchildren grow and see herself reflected in their bodies and faces (or, in the case of my daughter, her jetes and arabesques).  I’m not a believer in afterlives and spirits, but for a brief moment I imagined my mother’s satisfaction, looking down at the sight of her son and granddaughter on stage together, knowing that her life’s passion was being passed on.  My smile widened a bit more at the thought of it.

The next year, and in the three years that followed, additional emails arrived from the school, only these times directed solely to me with the subject line: “Reprising Your Role”.  Needless to say, I’ll be appearing again in this year’s performance, my fourth in a row. No rush to come see me this December, as I expect I’ll be playing this part for a few more years until my daughter graduates.  The school tends to lean towards the comfort of the known entity in their volunteers, however hapless they may be.  I’m already stumbling through rehearsals and fearing for the maintenance of my public dignity.  But I can hack it, for my daughter, my mom, and truthfully, maybe a little for me too.  And my daughter’s got this amazing new blush she can’t wait to try out on me.  Who am I to say no?

Michael Wolfe

senior sendoff



Every year another group of talented dancers leaves the academy to begin the next chapter of their lives. This year we sendoff 7 amazing ladies who have meant a great deal at the Academy. We wish them the best of luck towards their next adventure and remind them to always visit their dance home.


Growing up at the academy has taught me a lot. One of the most important things being friendship. The girls that I’m graduating with this year are seriously some of my best friends and I can’t wait to keep up with them even after our time together dancing. I would have never gotten to create such a strong friendship with these girls if it weren’t for Westport’s Academy of Dance. Thank you WAD!

- Harley


The studio has meant so much to me over the past years. I wasn’t one of the girls that had been there since I was little but regardless it’s become my second home. Everyone was so welcoming, I remember watching nutcracker my first year and being so amazed by all the girls involved. But now those girls have become part of my own life. They are unlike any others. They will always be there for me, to laugh, to dance, to listen to all my problems. They became some of my best friends and for that, I am so grateful. Even the teachers, and Kris of course, have always cared so much for all of us. They treat us like their own family. I can’t imagine how different my life would have been if I never came to WAD.

- Olivia


For the past 15 years, Westport Academy of Dance has been a huge part of my life. I love coming to the studio everyday, laughing with both my friends and teachers, but still being able to improve and further my dancing. To me, dance is more then just an after school activity, but it is something I truly love. Something that has played a significant role in my journey through the studio is the annual performance of the Nutcracker. I started just in 1st grade as a sheep and angel and have taken part in the Nutcracker ever since. As a little girl, my favorite part in the show was always the lead Arabian. This past year was really special because not only was it my final show, but I was able to perform that part on stage. However, one of the best parts about moving up through the studio and finally becoming a member of Senior Company was the fact that I got to share it with the girls beside me. The six other graduating seniors along with the other members of senior company have become some of my best friends and people I know I will always share something special with. I am definitely going to miss dancing and smiling along side these girls next year.

- Andrea

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 5.53.38 PM

One of my best memories of my years at the academy was my last day of classes this year. The younger dancers in senior company surprised all of the seniors with a senior day! They made us a really cute sign and got us a chocolate cake. We were all so surprised and it was really nice that they did something special to celebrate our last day. My favorite Nutcracker memory is the year I was Clara. Clara is always a role I aspired to dance ever since I started at the academy, so it was so rewarding to finally get it. I think my favorite part was being a role model for the younger kids to look up to. I just hope that even after I graduate there will be dancers who remember me or looked up to me. I always looked up to older dancers growing up at the Academy, so it’s really cool that now I’m in that position and girls look up to me. One of the best experiences I’ve had at the academy has been choreographing our graduating senior piece. This dance is the culmination of all our years at the Academy, so it’s amazing to be able to create it with my best friends. The friendships I’ve made at the Academy are so strong and loving, and I know it is because of the incredible environment the teachers have created. Throughout our piece we tried to incorporate a little bit of each teacher’s style of dance to show our appreciation for all they have done for us. This truly has been an amazing experience and I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Academy. It’s so hard to believe this weekend will be my last time dancing for the Academy, but I am forever grateful for everything.

- Megan


I have become so close with my dance friends. Every year I become closer with them. I am going to miss laughing and dancing with them. I am so thankful for the academy. The teachers made me feel more confident about myself as a person and a dancer. I am so happy that I grew up at the WAD.

 - Renee


Thinking about leaving my WAD family breaks my heart, but every memory we’ve made together will stay with me forever. I’ve learned so much over the years, not only about dance, but also about how to be a better person and I’ve forever indebted to my teachers and my girls for that. I’m jealous of all of the younger girls that have time left at the studio, and I hope they cherish every day like I did. Love u wad

- Blair


I remember the first time I saw nutcracker. I was in Kindergarten and I saw the Sugar Plum Fairy come on stage with her wand and I turned to my mom and said “I’m going to be her one day”. This year, when I finally got to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux, it was probably one of the best feelings ever. It was like all my hard work had finally paid off, and I knew little me was sitting in the audience watching. But still, it’s hard for me to say that being the Sugar Plum was my favorite memory at the academy. Because, picking that memory would leave out my 7 amazing teachers, my 1 dedicated mother, and my 9 best friends. It would leave out Secret Snowflake, our scavenger hunts, and our sleepovers. It would leave out the infinite amount of laughter and puddles of tears. It would leave out all the people who have shaped me to be who I am today. It would leave out my family. Therefore, I cannot pick one favorite memory because no one memory could every capture my time at Westport’s Academy of Dance. I will forever miss, but never forget my journey through WAD. And, thank you to everyone who has been part of it.


Westport’s Academy of Dance’s student choreographer talks about her experience and inspiration for the creation of her piece. Come see it performed in the Diamond recital May 31st at 2pm!

NameOlivia DiMarco

Age: 17

Is this your first time choreographing a piece for the stage?

In a way this is my first time on a stage. I have done little pieces for younger kids in camp and I have also done liturgical dances at church.

What was your inspiration for this piece?

I heard a fun song called masterpiece on the radio. So I went home to listen to it again and after it played another song called masterpiece came on. It had a different beat and with the changing tempos I came up with the idea to have two different styles of dance at the same time.

Have you been influenced by any choreographers in your life or during this process? 

I didn’t know much about hip hop going into this process so I took a lot of inspiration from watching hip hop videos online. I also was inspired when looking for duet tricks. But of course everything I choreographed I had learned to do myself at some point in my life so really the inspiration came from all the dances I’ve done in my life.

 What have you learned from your experience? 

I have learned how hard it is to choreograph. I have also learned what it is like to work with girls my age and how things in my head may not always work out how I Would like them to. 


Ever wonder what your teachers are doing when they aren’t dancing in the studio. In Miss Caitlin’s case she continues dancing outside. Here is a video of her most recent dance escapades.

pointe shoe info


color point

Each year a new group of students at Westport’s Academy of Dance begins their adventure in learning the art of Pointe work. Besides all the glamor and beauty that is most often associated with pointe shoes, there also requires a lot of work. Careful preparation is taken to make sure each student to physically capable to take on this dance style.

To better understand all that goes into this beautiful art form, check out these various websites.

1. Are you ready for Pointe shoes? Click here to see how your teachers determine your readiness, http://www.danceadvantage.net/pointe-readiness/!

2. What kind of pointe shoes should you wear? Click here to find out your foot type, http://pointeperfect.com/learn-your-foot-type-pointe-fitting/

3. Want to see how pointe shoes made? This video shows how the Freed Company makes Pointe shoes. Click here to see the video, http://digg.com/video/how-ballet-shoes-get-made?utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email

We are in our third week of summer camp at the Academy and having lots of fun!

Here is a sneak peak of what we have been up to this summer!


IMG_2245 IMG_2243 IMG_2249 IMG_2253 IMG_2271 IMG_2267 IMG_2265 IMG_2260 IMG_2261 IMG_2263


Westport Academy of Dance teacher David Fernandez is at it again! Some Dance Company’s tickets for Encore! are up and on sale at Ticketmaster. Feel free to purchase your tickets, and pass the link on and spread the word! This special performance takes place on Monday, April 28th, 2014 at 7pm and is featuring some of the Academy students!

To get your tickets, Click Here! 

Also, please check out the Kickstarter campaign. Ticket sales can go to benefit Career Transition for Dancers, a great organization that has helped numerous dancers in transition from their performance careers.  Our Kickstarter link is below, and feel free to also pass it on to other dance/arts enthusiasts.

Help support Some Dance Company on Kickstater! Click Here to make a contribution!

Finally, we leave you with a fun video put together by David featuring our lovely Academy Students!


Ever wonder who choreographs the various high school musicals in Fairfield County? Well, for the past 3 months, Westport’s Academy of Dance Teacher Miss Caitlin has been busy choreographing The Drowsy Chaperone for Darien’s High School Spring Musical. The performances are on March 20, 21, and 22nd at Darien High School at 7pm. Click here for tickets!



Also look out next month because Westport’s Academy of Dance student  and Senior company member, Jane Schutte has been assisting in choreographing Shrek The Musical at Coleytown Middle School. Performances are April 3, 4, and 5th. Click here for more details and tickets!


Each year we have another graduating senior perform their last Nutcracker with the Academy family. This year we asked that senior to tell us about everything their Nutcracker experience has meant to them over the years.


Jess (Clara)


Name:  Jess Riniti         Age:  17

How many years have your performed in the Nutcracker?  12 years

What was you favorite part to perform and why?  The year I was Clara when I was a freshman was my favorite because I got to act, I could watch everyone else, and it was relatively stress free. 

What was your favorite year to perform and why?  My favorite year was the year I was a flower, snow, pirouette, and lead chinese. It was a challenge to perform all of them in one year, but I enjoyed bring a new character to life every time I was on stage.

What will you miss most about performing in the Academy Nutcracker?  I love the traditions, the backstage ambiance. I also love that it’s one big story and we’re all working together to tell it. It feels like a team effort even though we all have our individual parts. I will miss that and the family we form because of it. 

Do you have any advice for young dancers interested in performing in the Nutcracker?  Do it! It’s a tradition and it’s the thing I look forward to most in the holiday season. Looking up to the older dancers and then becoming one is so rewarding. And don’t get discouraged! The audience loves every part and every part is a good one. They’re ALL an important part of the story. Every audience member has his or her favorite, you never know who’s out their just waiting for you! And every part is what you make of it!





This is an introduction to the features and functions on this online dance-related forum.
(The left side of  the screenshot above represents a “Public” page, and the right an “Admin/Dashboard” page as mentioned herein.)

What is the Westport Academy of Dance Blog and how does it differ from the Main Website?
The Main Westport Academy of Dance Website contains official Academy news and information maintained only by the academy staff.  This still remains the source for the latest registration, class, rehearsal, performance locations, dates, times, and policies.

The Westport Academy of Dance Blog is for you.  A forum for students, parents, teachers, dancers, and all those that are passionate about performance art to share their voice as key members of our dance community. We encourage you to visit this Blog on an ongoing basis – join, post/comment on: stories, photos, videos… help us maintain this momentum we embrace for ongoing inspiration!

Tip: Your Blog e-mail, username and password will not be the same as your Main Website account information upon joining the Blog. Once your Blog user account is set-up, you can update/change your email and password as you wish (See the “Tip” in the “How do I join…” section below for more information on changing your email, default password and other relevant User Profile information).

What is the difference between the “Public” pages and the “Admin/Dashboard pages?”
1. The “Public” pages can be viewed by anyone who visits westportdance.com/blog.
2. The “Admin/Dashboard” pages require registration and login.  The “Admin/Dashboard” pages are where those that join manage their accounts and create new posts.

How do I search for specific content about a certain subject/category?
When surfing through the Blog (whether logged in or not), you can search content by clicking on a specific “category” under “post categories” at the top right corner of the screen. That will display all the posts within that category.

Tip: some posts will be within multiple categories.

You can also type key words and/or phrases in the “search” box, click “go”, and see a list of all posts that contain those key words and/or phrases.

Tip: the Blog homepage will always display the most current posts in all categories.
Tip: If a post is long, you will just see a preview within initial view. To view a complete post, simply click the post title.

How do I “join” and what does that mean?
All you need to do is:
1. Click on the “join” link in the main navigation at the top of the Blog page.
2. Enter your desired username and email address.
3. Click the “Join” button.

Once the Blog administrator verifies your registration, an email with your password will be sent to the email you entered when joining.  This means you can then “log in”, write new posts, comment on an existing posts, upload photos and/or videos that will (upon approval), appear on the Blog for all visitors to see!

Tip: Remember, your Blog e-mail, username and password will not be the same as your Main Website account information upon joining the Blog.

Once your Blog user account is set-up, you can change your email and default password as well as update your account information by:
1. Logging in with your username and temporary password.
2. Clicking “Profile” on the left side of the “Admin/Dashboard” page.
3. Changing/updating desired information.
4. Clicking “Update Profile” at the bottom of the page.

Tip: Don’t forget to keep this account information on hand; you’ll need it the next time you log in!

What happens after I “join”?
You can then come back to westportdance.com/blog and “log in” whenever you wish.  When you do, just:
1. Click on the “log in” link in the main navigation at the top of the page.
2. Enter your “Username” and the “Password” on your Blog account.
3. Click the “Log In” button.

Viola!  Now it’s time to write new posts, comment on an existing posts and upload photos and/or videos!

How do I comment on an existing post?
After you join and log in per above, then click on a particular post title, you will notice the “Leave a Comment” prompt below all live posts.  To comment on an existing post, simply type your comment within that box, then click “Submit Comment.”

Note: All comments to existing posts and new posts need to be reviewed and approved prior to appearing on the “live” Blog.  After submitting a post or comment, your request is automatically sent for review, and if approved it will be “live” as quickly as possible.  Profanity obscenities, and malicious content will not be tolerated or posted.

How do I write a new post?
After you join and login per above, you can write a new post by:
1. Clicking the “admin” link on the top of the page (if you on a public page) to get to the “Admin/Dashboard” section.
2. Once you are in the “Admin/Dashboard” section simply click “Add New” under “Posts.”
3. Write and format your post using the tools in the content editor.
4. Assign a category or categories to your post.
5. Click the “Submit for Review” button in the upper right corner of the page.

Note: All comments to existing posts and new posts need to be reviewed and approved prior to appearing on the “live” Blog.  After submitting a post or comment, your request is automatically sent for review, and if approved it will be “live” as quickly as possible.  Profanity obscenities, and malicious content will not be tolerated or posted.

What is the ShareThis feature?
When you click on the “ShareThis” button within the right column, you will notice the option to link or bookmark the Westport Academy of Dance Blog with a variety of other leading online social media outlets.  This lets you connect to and share the content from the Westport Academy of Dance Blog.

What is WordPress and how can I learn more about the available features and functions on related WordPress blogs?
The Westport Academy of Dance Blog is a customized online tool built on WordPress.  WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform that allows users to create and share information online.

Tip: If you research WordPress you will find tips and instructional videos that will help you master all of the available features and functions available on this platform.

Thanks for partcipating, and happy posting!