Lots of lessons wrapped up in dance classes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I just returned from a trip to New York City and Tampa where I observed a couple of our talented young dancers in classes and performances at two highly regarded summer-long dance intensives. Sitting in the airport, waiting on yet another delayed flight, I saw that airport people-watching truly emphasizes the physical benefits of dance training! The disparity between the students I had just watched and the people on the concourse was dramatic. How true the words of poet Alexander Pope, “those move easiest who have learned to dance.”

meryane martin murphyAt Andalusia Ballet we have many wonderful teachers who strive to develop our students talents to their fullest potential. The Academy of Andalusia Ballet offers classes for ages 2 and up. Our strong syllabus provides classes in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Modern and Tap as well as a fabulous Creative Movement Program for pre-schoolers. Our very youngest students learn to hop, skip, jump and leap, balance, bend and stretch to music in a fun creative environment. As our students mature, the classes become more structured and disciplined and expectations increasingly rise. Through the years, students work to develop the form, vocabulary, strength, flexibility and control of classical technique….all of which ultimately give one freedom of movement.

Ballet technique, like everything, is evolving. Today we dance bigger and faster, jump higher and turn with more strength, stamina and flexibility than ever. Current choreography is influenced by our culture, and contemporary works stylistically incorporate modern, jazz, ethnic and popular dance forms. What has not changed is that the innate qualities developed with classical ballet training are necessary for the understanding and artistic execution of any type of theatrical dance.

It is a great joy to be able to dance. However, the study of dance takes time, effort and discipline. It is not always “fun.”

For parents of young students reading this, your child will most likely not become a professional dancer with a famous company in New York, London or Paris…..no more so than the likelihood of them becoming a professional athlete or an Olympian, a Broadway star, a famous musician or even president of the United States.

Your child will however, be exposed to an art form of great beauty. Additionally they will:

• learn to see and appreciate good form and quality

• learn about themselves as they work to meet challenges

• learn to take corrections and work hard, both individually and in a group

• learn the importance of being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing; and, perhaps most importantly…

• they will be exposed to people of many cultures and have an understanding and feeling of connection to a global community united by the art of dance and undivided by race, gender, nationality or religion.

It is our goal at the Academy of Andalusia Ballet to provide a quality dance education for all our students. It is our hope that dance will be a joyful and meaningful part of their young lives that will stay with them forever.

The Andalusia Ballet Association, Inc. realizes the inspiration that Andalusia Ballet brings to our community and works hard to raise funds to make all of this possible: to develop and support our beautiful facility at the Church Street Cultural Arts Centre, to provide outreach programs to the area schools and scholarships for students in need, to engage the best teachers, dancers and choreographers, and to present quality performances that bring people from far and wide to our community.

As a supporter, a member of our audiences, parents of our young dancers or an Andalusia Ballet alumnus, I hope you will join us for our upcoming season…a season of Inspiration!


Meryane Murphy is founder and artistic director of the Andalusia Ballet.