Dear SBS Dancers and Families,
I am beyond grateful to announce Scarsdale Ballet Studio’s 29th Season!
Thank you for being patient while we were anxiously waiting to be sure that our re-opening could proceed as planned under the current NYS Guidelines. We are thrilled to say we can now offer our dancers the safest possible in-studio instruction and/or synchronous virtual classes. As a former ballerina, flexibility, strength, and “thinking on my feet” were some skills I learned that have stood me in good stead. I now look forward to continuing to pass these and other skills on to our dancers!
I have so much to share with you that I hardly know where to begin.
For a start, thanks to technology, ingenuity, and the brilliance of our faculty and redoubtable administrative staff (Michele and Liz) and the passion and generosity of an amazing roster of international master teachers, including our alumni, Skylar Brandt of American Ballet Theater, and Skyla Schreter of San Francisco Ballet, our July Intensive program was a great success. Carmen Banu, Aya Tajimi and I were able to safely teach daily in-studio, socially distanced classes. In the afternoons we had a carefully curated virtual program of enrichment classes, such as Yoga, Healthy Dancer and Choreography Workshops, and Acting for Dancers. Students who chose not to attend studio classes were present on Zoom on our classroom monitor. Several in-studio classes were led virtually in real-time by teachers from London, France, and South Africa.
Having successfully navigated all of the very real obstacles inherent in working in-studio in July, including wearing masks at all times, we are confidently looking forward to a safe, flexible return to classes in September.
Please rest assured that we have re-configured our studios and lobby to operate at less than one third of our usual capacity. The number of students present in each classroom ( Studios 2 and 3 are now functioning as one classroom) will be strictly limited to 10 dancers. Teachers and students will be distanced and contact-free. Everyone must wear a mask. There will be fifteen-minute breaks between all classes for cleaning and socially distanced arrivals and dismissals. We have installed TV monitors in both studios so everyone can be present either physically or virtually. Our dressing room is closed and the SBS lobby will be off-limits except for parents escorting children age six and under to their classrooms. All registrations will be contact-free. Details of our cleaning protocols, drop-off procedures, classroom etiquette, and so forth will be posted shortly on our website or may be accessed by email once you have registered. We are prepared to seamlessly move our entire program to Zoom in case of a health emergency.
In spite of these somber protocols, we aim to spread the joy of dance amongst all of our students and to continue to explore new ideas to make performance vital again.
On a closing note, this year of transition has led us to say farewell to one of our most cherished faculty members and to enthusiastically welcome two new ones.
Ellen Shea has chosen to explore new ventures, and she has written us a lovely parting note, which you can read on our blog.
At the same time, we are opening our doors to two remarkable people who have re-located to our area and are joining our faculty. I feel Garielle Whittle needs no introduction, but I am from another generation! Her resume says everything: “Former ballerina of NYC Ballet, Former Children’s Ballet Mistress of NYCB, Former Faculty Member of the School of American Ballet, Répétiteur for the Balanchine and Robbins Trusts.” She has dedicated her lifetime to ballet and I am honored to welcome her as a permanent teacher.
Our next new faculty member, Skyla Schreter, was a protegée of mine and also of Garielle’s! During her career at the San Francisco Ballet, she danced all of the Classic and Balanchine ballets in their repertory and she worked directly with the greatest of contemporary choreographers. She will teach Choreography Workshop as well as younger levels and Special Projects.
PLUS, we will be hosting Zoom master classes on a regular basis with renowned ballet professionals from NYCB and ABT as we share our off-hour studio space with them.