The School of Nashville Ballet has expanded its class schedule for its youngest dancers in a new Children's Program to begin Jan. 17, 2012, and has announced new leadership to spearhead the expansion.
"With increased date and time offerings, more children ages 2 to 6 will have the option of attending classes to develop musicality, rhythm, movement skills, coordination, artistic expression and creativity through the School of Nashville Ballet Children's Program. By separating the Children's Program from the more rigorous Academy Division for older students, the School of Nashville Ballet can focus on the needs of young children and their families." The expansion is guided by new School of Nashville Ballet Director, Danielle Thienel and new Dean, AnDrew Parker.
"Offering quality dance education is a vital part of the mission of Nashville Ballet," Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. "We believe any child who wants to learn to dance and has fun doing so should have access to quality training, without auditioning, and our program changes will help us offer that opportunity to more students."
Program Addition and Class Expansion
The School of Nashville Ballet Children's Program will offer the following classes on multiple days at both School of Nashville Ballet locations-The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet in the Sylvan Heights neighborhood and the Brentwood Campus:
· Mommy and Me (ages 2 – 3) encourages grace, coordination and a real love for dance, music and the spoken word, as well as language development, reading readiness and cognitive development. Parents, grandparents and caregivers join children in creating dances and learning poems or stories.
· Joy of Dance (ages 3 – 4) is a fun way to foster a natural inclination for movement by developing control, coordination, gross motor skills, creativity and expressiveness in the young dancer.
· Creative Movement (ages 4 – 5) helps students develop a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem within an environment that encourage expressiveness and joy of movement. Children learn increased control and coordination in their movements.
· Pre-Ballet (ages 5 – 6) offers a fun and expressive way for children to develop coordination, creativity and musicality while beginning to learn foundational ballet vocabulary.
"Offering boys and girls of such a young age an opportunity to explore art and movement in dance classes enables them to learn about class participation, focus and confidence," Thienel said. "Students also have an opportunity to explore their talents and develop a lifelong love of dance."
The new Children's Program and all other programs and divisions of the School of Nashville Ballet will be administered by Thienel, Parker and existing School Principal Nicole Koenig.
Thienel joined the School of Nashville Ballet as School Director in October, after serving as interim School Director for two months. A former professional dancer with Lexington Ballet, Louisville Ballet and Nashville Ballet, Thienel retired from performing in 2002 to pursue a business career managing projects for a large commercial real estate company and to establish her own Pilates company. She applies her dance and administrative experiences, and her bachelor's degree in dance and marketing from Mercyhurst College to her responsibilities managing all aspects of School of Nashville Ballet operations, focusing on long term strategies, planning and growth.
Thienel oversees the School of Nashville Ballet, alongside Parker who has taken on the newly created role of Dean of the School of Nashville Ballet.
Parker applies his extensive experience performing, choreographing, teaching and directing dance programs across North America to his responsibilities teaching classes and overseeing all aspects of student instruction at the School of Nashville Ballet. His role also creates a liaison between the School of Nashville Ballet and the artistic staff of the professional dance company. He comes to Nashville from Canada, where he served several schools of ballet in various roles. While there, he earned a diploma from Canada's National Ballet School Teacher Training Program. He has also taught in dance schools across the U.S. after retiring from a notable career as a dancer with Milwaukee Ballet, Tulsa Ballet and Konstantin Uralsky's Ballet Iowa.