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Drop in and turn on with dance class for novices
Charlotte Ballet initiative for adults
Published Wednesday, March 27, 2019 11:20 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Charlotte Ballet’s Adult Drop-In Division offers six classes to improve access to instruction in multiple disciplines  to amateurs and novices.

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Adults can play, too.

Ballet classes are often associated with children or aspiring professionals, but what if you want to dust off your slippers, or wear a pair for the first time? There’s a place where you can.

Charlotte Ballet’s Adult Drop-in Division offers six classes Monday through Thursday for $16 each ($10 for students and seniors). Three classes take place at the Center for Dance, 701 N. Tryon St., with all three of the company’s tap offerings in Studio A at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St.

“We designed these classes with a drop-in schedule because adults very often face demands that maybe we didn’t face when we were 12,” said Charlotte Ballet Academy Director Ayisha McMillan Cravotta.

A dive into the minutiae of ballet fundamentals comes with the adult beginning ballet class offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:15-8:45 p.m.  

“It is formatted to really break down not only the vocabulary, but then the execution of the movement, so that it gives you a great confidence, as well as foundation,” said Lauren Skrabalak, who teaches the Wednesday class.

Phrases specific to ballet may appear confusing, but Skrabalak takes her students through the French terminology.

“Let’s just say, you’ve never known what a plie was,” Skrabalak said. “I will give you the French terminology. Plie means to bend, in that you apply that vocabulary to your movement in your body, and you’re actually bending your knees.”

Playtime does not end with responsibility. Dance demands the use of different mental and physical muscles, whether that stems from counting the beat or exploring a bit of French.

“It might be assumed to come from my mouth that there is nothing like dance training,” said Cravotta, the former principal dancer North Carolina Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet). “My background as a professional ballet dancer would kind of dictate that I would feel that way, but I’ve tried other wonderful types of dance trying to get physically active and keep myself going, but I feel like with dance instruction, it’s this wonderful challenge using my brain in a different way. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective and think a little bit differently.”

Adult Intermediate/Advanced Ballet classes take place on Tuesday and Thursday from 6:45-8:15 p.m. and 6:15-7:45 p.m., respectively. Introductory tap classes take place on Monday from 6:15-7:15 p.m. and 7:15-8:15 p.m., with the advanced class on Tuesday from 6:15-7:45 p.m.

“We try to put the building blocks together for adults to be able to engage, enjoy, return to something that was in their lives before, or it might be something new,” Cravotta said.

Power Dance, led by Tara Winston Conrad, is the only daytime class, offered from 10-11 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Cravotta described the class as “dance-based fitness.”

“It’s just a sense of joy, a sense of belonging, and a sense of connectivity,” Conrad said. “We’re going to work your butt off, and we’re going to have you dance really hard, but it’s going to be the funnest thing you do all week.”

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