Dance Training in the Big Apple
New York City is one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations, largely owing its popularity to an intoxicating mix of culture and nightlife. Whether it’s a Broadway musical, an off-Broadway production of a hot-off-the-press stage play, a trendy art exhibition in the Meatpacking district or a performance of La Traviata at the Met, you’re after- you can rest assured that you’ll find it in the Big Apple! Last but not least, dance studios and dance companies aren’t exactly thin on the ground either, and it’s precisely the latter category we will turn our attention to in this blog post.
NYC is home to some of the world’s leading ballet and contemporary dance companies. The city itself is inextricably linked to some of the greatest names in the world of dance: George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, David Howard, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham are just a few that spring to mind.
Therefore it’s hardly surprising that NYC is renowned for its outstanding dance studios. Let’s embark on a tour covering the most famous and outstanding ones among them.
Steps On Broadway
2121 Broadway, Upper West Side
Located on the bustling Upper West Side, Steps is a dance hub offering classes in ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, tap, theater dance, hip hop, ethnic, and body conditioning for all ages and levels. Founded in 1979 by Carol Paumgarten, Steps has since gone on to become the preferred destination for amateur and pro dancers alike.
Facilities include 10 fully-mirrored, sprung-floored, climate-controlled studios, dressing rooms with showers, a café, a theater and the Steps en Corps boutique where you can purchase Steps souvenirs to bring back home.
International students can apply online for the International Independent Study Program for dancers and dance educators aged 18-35. The program begins on the first Monday of every month, and applications must be received 2 months prior to enrollment date.
BAC Baryshnikov Arts Center
450 West 37th Street
Not strictly speaking a dance studio, the BAC is nevertheless a place for dancers to grow, learn and explore. Comprising 20,000 sq ft and with none other than Baryshnikov himself at the helm, this one-of-a-kind arts space located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan serves as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines.
BAC includes the 238-seat Jerome Robbins Theater, the 136-seat black box Howard Gilman Performance Space, four column-free studios and office space.
BAC’s main focus is placed on its residency program, enabling artists from various fields to engage in the research and development of new projects and collaborations.
Affordability not being one of Manhattan’s strengths, BAC’s After School student arts education program and Subsidized Rental program make for a welcome change.
Paul Taylor School
551 Grand Street
Paul Taylor, one of the founding fathers of American 20th century modern dance and a former dancer for legends Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and George Balanchine, founded his own company in 1954.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company yielded a fresh crop of talent including Twyla Tharp, David Parsons and Laura Dean, amongst others.
The Paul Taylor Dance School offers classes in Paul’s signature style and technique for all ages and abilities ranging from Taylor Tots all the way to Professional Classes.
Drop-in classes run Monday-Friday from 10 to 11.30AM at a cost of $17 per class. There is an option to purchase multiple class packages at a discounted per-class rate (5 for $80, 10 for $150 and 20 for $280).
PTDS runs biannual Intensives occurring in the winter and summer. Intensives require an audition, either in person or on video, and students must be 16 years old with a solid background in classical and/or modern dance. Those lucky to be admitted will have the opportunity to learn Taylor style through daily technique and repertory classes and gain in-depth knowledge by attending lectures on Paul Taylor and the history of his company.
Trisha Brown Studio
341 West 38th Street
Trisha Brown is a notable American postmodernist choreographer and dancer and a disciple of both Jose Limon and Merce Cunningham. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant and a United States Artists Fellow award.
The Trisha Brown Studio offers intensives, lectures, film screenings, master classes as well as residencies in many countries across the world. Check out the Set and Reset/Reset Residency at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, running from October 19-December 3, 2016.
Broadway Dance Center
322 W 45th Street
Broadway Dance Center opened in 1984 as one of the world’s first drop-in dance studios. BDC was forced to relocate in 1998 and a second time in 2007 when it was finally able to establish its current space on 45th Street.
BDC offers 350 weekly classes in a variety of styles ranging from ballet to voguing. The long list of current and former faculty members reads like a Who’s Who of the dance world.
Apart from the drop-in classes it is famed for, the studio also offers numerous workshops, master classes, intensives and various programs for children and teens.
International students can apply for the Visa Program which can be tailored to fit specific needs.
Broadway Dance Center has served as the shooting location for the Live from BDC instructional DVD series featuring classes taught by many BDC teachers past and present. The DVDs are produced by Tezoro Productions, a company founded by Michele Assaf, who is herself a former BDC instructor.
Read more about New Yok City’s best dance studios in part II of this blog post.