Warning: ob_start(): non-static method wpGoogleAnalytics::get_links() should not be called statically in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/19838/domains/westportdance.com/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-analytics/wp-google-analytics.php on line 245
westport's academy of dance blog » students

SPECIAL FEATURE

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…

our 5th annual production of alice (2018): full performance video

Enjoy this video showing our full 2018 5th Annual Production of Alice…

2018 -2019 season registration

Registration for our 2018 -2019 season is rapidly approaching…

westport minute man race 2018

What a fantastic event… check out the performance video here!

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

Original choreography by Courtney Polous, Alice – a fun and funky take on the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland. The program highlights jazz, tap and modern styles of dance. All rights reserved” (c) 2019.

2019-2020_blog_opening

Another Westport Academy of Dance season is rapidly approaching!

Enroll in person at the studio, online or via regular mail. Please feel free to call the studio (203.226.9987) or contact us via email with any questions.

academy_of_dance_craftwestport_blog

Please join us at The Westport Young Woman’s League CraftWestport 2018  at Staples High School where The Academy  is among the sponsors of “Family Fun Day” on Sunday, 11/4 – featuring activities and demonstrations for kids and their families…

Prizes, giveaways and performances featuring Academy dancers beginning at 2:00pm on Sunday!

For more information please click here…

Spring is here and so is Westport’s Academy of Dance 5th annual production of Alice! Original choreography by Courtney Polous, Alice - a fun and funky take on the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland.  The program highlights jazz, tap and modern styles of dance. All performances will be held at Bedford Middle School Sunday May 20th at 1:00pm and 5:00pm.

Please click here for tickets…


Watch the video trailer by clicking above!

What a fantastic event!  Thank you Tina Meehan and the members of Westport Young Woman’s League (WYWL) for this opportunity. Great job dancers! Thanks to Miss Caitlin for the choreography and for capturing this performance video.

Check out our Facebook post for images from the event!

Congratulations Grace!

30073587_10156430151487249_3259769438497477895_o

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!

academy_of_dance_2018_minuteman

The Academy is excited to be among the sponsors of the upcoming 40th Annual Westport Young Woman’s League Minute Man Race on Sunday April 22, 2018…

Some of our dancers will be performing at the event, and we invite all from our dance community to join us in support of this fantastic and super fun tradition!

 

Enjoy this full-length video of our 36th annual production of The Nutcracker. The Academy’s cherished holiday tradition performed at Staples High School in December, 2017.

(Full-screen view is recommended – please click the arrows in the lower right corner of the video player next to “HD”)

nutcracker_2017_blog

Staged every December for the past 35 years, this professional production includes Academy students that are enrolled in our ballet program. Our Junior and Senior Company members dance the leads with the addition of professional male dancers in their appropriate roles. The Academy’s Nutcracker has become a Westport tradition that fills the holiday season with sweet treats, from tiny angels and brave soldiers to delicate dew drops and radiant sugar plums.

This year’s guest artist is New York City Ballet Principal dancer, Ask la Cour.

Performed at Staples High School on Sat. 12/2 at 3:00 & 7:00pm, Sun. 12/3 at 2:00pm.
Ticket holders for the Saturday, 12/2 3:00pm performance are invited to meet Ask la Cour after the show!

Please call 203.226.9987 or visit westportdance.com for more information.
Tickets for all performances can be purchased here

Enjoy these video clips from last year’s performance!

Dancers, teachers, parent volunteers all getting ready for the coming weekend!

Check out this video from in-studio rehearsal!

What a pleasure it was to be a apart of the kids fun zone at CraftWestport last weekend! The Academy was thrilled to be a sponsor for such a wonderful community event. Thank you to our Jr. & Sr. Company dancers who performed two terrific dances choreographed by Academy teacher Caitlin Roberts. Everyone did such a wonderful job!

Please enjoy this special 360 video of last weekend’s performance.

 

Enjoy this video commentary from Academy students and parents as we all look forward to our upcoming 2017-2018 season!

westport_academy_of_dance_2018_blog_open

 

Enroll in person at the studio, online or via regular mail.

Please feel free to call the studio (203.226.9987) or contact us via email with any questions.

GraceB

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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZISGu1xSb6Y&feature=youtu.be

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

 

Alice is this weekend! Check out The Inklings behind the scenes video interview and get your tickets today!

https://vimeo.com/216200064

westportdance_alice_blog_2017

Spring is here and so is Westport’s Academy of Dance 4th annual production of Alice.  Original choreography by Courtney Polous, Alice - a fun and funky new take on the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland.  The program highlights jazz, tap and modern styles of dance. All performances will be held at Bedford Middle School Sunday May 14th at 1:00pm and 5:00pm.

Please click here for tickets…

Watch the trailer from last year’s performance here!

westportacademyofdance_summer_blog_2017

Join us at the Academy for various summer dance camp programs. Short-term sessions and private instruction also available for all ages and levels.

Download the appropriate forms per age group here… Please email us or call the studio (203.226.9987) with any questions, or for assistance placing your dancer into the appropriate program.

Photography by Kerry Long

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:

http://www.westportplayhouse.org/specialevents/communityevents#2017SlamJam

(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)

nutcracker_2016registration_blog-v2

Westport’s cherished holiday tradition

Performed at Staples High School
Saturday, 12.3.16 at 3:00pm & 7:00pm
Sunday, 12.4.16 at 2:00pm

You can order your tickets here…

Please contact us for more information: 203.226.9987

Watch the trailer from a previous performance
A very behind the scenes look at our 26th year

more than words

11.15.16

Wishing a very special congratulations to Courtney Poulos and the WAD dancers for their acceptance into the MORE Than Words exhibition.

Be sure to stop by the Westport Arts Center to view all the wonderful works that center around such an important topic facing our kids and adults alike. The exhibit is open until January 7th, 2017.

MORE Than Words/#Iammore

The Westport Arts Center announces the MORE Than Words/#iammore exhibition, featuring selected works by the community at large.   The works were designed in support of the theme of the Arts Center’s previous exhibition MORE Than Words – courage, resilience and empowerment in the face of bullying – featuring pieces by some of the most important contemporary artists of our time.

 If you would like to learn more information about please click here. #iammore

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/

2016_registration_open_blog

Another Westport Academy of Dance season is rapidly approaching!

Enroll in person at the studio, online or via regular mail. Please feel free to call the studio (203.226.9987) or contact us via email with any questions.

senior sendoff

05.19.16

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.

IMG_6340

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

westportdance_2011summer_blog

Join us at the Academy for various summer dance camp programs. Short-term sessions and private instruction also available for all ages and levels.

Download the appropriate forms per age group here… Please email us or call the studio (203.226.9987) with any questions, or for assistance placing your dancer into the appropriate program.

artist brigade

04.11.16
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

 

 

 

 

Thinking about your summer dance plans…Check out what these 3 dancers experienced last year. 

188696

Name: Miranda Saunders           Age: 17

 Where did you dance last summer (2015)?

Joffrey Ballet,  Jazz and Contemporary NYC

Did you have to audition for this program?

yes

Why did you choose this program?

I had never attended a program in NYC and thought it would be a neat experience. It was also a convenient program for me because I was able to pick and choose the weeks I wanted to attend so as to fit my own summer schedule. Also, I had never attended a jazz and contemporary summer program, so I wanted to give it a shot!

 What was your favorite experience?

For the ballet program, I got to stay in an apartment in Greenwich village. My roommates were great…one from Belgium, one from Mexico, and our very own Jane Schutte. The apartment was kind of dumpy, but living in the village was really fun! I lived in the financial district for the jazz and contemporary program…although the housing was much nicer, I preferred the excitement of the village. The teachers at both these programs were pretty awesome, and I had a new teacher for nearly every class. I even got to take a variations class taught by NYCB principal Maria Kowroski! Some of the teachers were tough, but I think I learned a lot from all of them.

I found it refreshing to go to a program with dancers from all different backgrounds and from all over the world; in the ballet program, I had classmates from Japan, Argentina, and Brazil!

One thing I really disliked about this program is that my schedule would leave me with 2-3 hour breaks. I’m not sure why this was because there was plenty of studio space and staff…but it really dragged out the day and I found it very irritating to have to completely warm up again after the breaks.

 What kind of dance genres did you do?

The ballet program: ballet, pointe, pas de deux, variations, modern

Jazz and Contemporary Program: ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, improvisation, improvisation with voice, Horton, Cunningham, hip hop, street jazz, modern, African…

Did you learn anything new during your experience?

I learned a lot at the jazz and contemporary program because I was introduced to so many different styles; I was definitely forced out of my comfort zone. Many of the students at the program were committed trainees who had more experience in different styles of dance than me, so I think I was able to learn a lot from watching them.

 How long were you away or how long did you participate with this summer program?

2 weeks Joffrey Ballet NYC

2 weeks Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary NYC

 American_Ballet_Theatre_logo

 

 

 

 

Name: Amanda Kenner Age: 16

Where did you dance last summer (2014)?

American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive  in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Did you have to audition for this program?

Yes

Why did you choose this program?

I auditioned for ABT’s summer program, and was placed in North Carolina which is a fairly high level, so I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

What was your favorite experience?

My favorite experience was the final performance at the end.

What kind of dance genres did you do?

There was a heavy emphasis on ballet, but we also took modern, jazz, yoga, pilates, and character classes. We also took classes about specific parts of ballet, like mime, variations, port de bras, and even walking/running on stage.

Did you learn anything new during your experience?

I learned about ballet mime and taking notes on choreography and corrections, besides just improving my technique. I also learned how to warm up properly, which doesn’t mean just stretching.

How long were you away or how long did you participate with this summer program?

4 weeks

CPYB_Logo-300

 

 

 

 

Name: Carolyn Cassell Age: 13

Where did you dance last summer (2014)?

CPYB in Carlisle, PA

 Did you have to audition for this program?

 We didn’t have to audition to get it, but to get a level.

 Why did you choose this program?

 Because a lot of my friends were going and the teachers said it was really good.

 What was your favorite experience?

 Having lessons with new teachers because they had a different style of teaching.

What kind of dance genres did you do?

 Mostly ballet and one class of modern a week.

 Did you learn anything new during your experience?

 I learned a lot more about technique. 

 How long were you away or how long did you participate with this summer program?

5 weeks.

DSC_1312