Our school has been a leader in dance education for over 60 years. We believe our success comes as a result of solid training and quality service, as well as our underlying belief in the strength of our organization. We have created these policies to offer our students and their parents a clear understanding of their commitments and responsibility to the school. We take our roles as mentors and teachers in your child's life very seriously. It is our objective to inspire a passion for the art of dance in every child who passes through our doors.
The Parents Book of Ballet: Answers to Critical Questions About the Care and Development of the Young Dancer by Angela Whitehall and William Noble is the quintessential guide to dance from preschool to professional. This thorough guide explains why classes are structured the way they are from the earliest levels to professional classes, the importance of the syllabus used and critical questions to ask when considering where to study dance. Give it a thorough read and always feel free to reach out to our staff with questions!
OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
Pottstown Dance Theatre focuses on the growth of students as individuals. We believe that since dance is a performing art, performance experience is integral to dance education and our teaching curriculum and dance lessons span the entire year. We do not just place a heavy emphasis on a spring recital. We offer a variety of enriching opportunities for students to both perform and further their skills.
We place students in the level that will challenge the student technically, yet build and maintain self-confidence. It is common to remain in the same level for more than one year. This does not indicate any failure; students are most successful in the long run when they progress at their own pace. Many times, fundamental levels need to be repeated to ensure mastery; and advanced skills require constant practice to maintain consistent success.
We welcome the student who works toward a career in dance, as well as the student that dances purely for the joy of movement and the benefits that transfer into daily living. The focus of the school is on training dance students to be their very best while under our tutelage, regardless of long-term goals.
Through dance, we hope our students will develop a self-discipline that will last them a lifetime. We also try to instill in our students a general knowledge and love of different types of music. In this time of technology. many children do not get the physical activity they need to stay healthy and in shape. At PDT, we offer a fun physical activity that targets all muscles of the body and also enhances stretching and flexibility skills.
The school offers classes in Ballet and Pointe, Tap, Modern, Jazz, African, Hip-Hop, Creative Movement, Irish, Break Dance, Highland, Musical Theater, and Pilates. We base the ballet program on the Vaganova Syllabus, as set up by the school of the Kirov Ballet in Russia. CLICK HERE for more specifics about the classes we offer.
We offer intensive classes for students which our instructors have identified as having some natural ability that needs/deserves to be developed/ This program includes three ballet classes weekly and at least one other technique. You are under no obligation, but it is strongly recommended. Graduate students from this program have gone on to dance at Youth American Grand Prix (international dance competition) have been chosen for pre-professional programs at PA Academy of Ballet, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Rock School, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance (NYC), American Ballet Theatre, The Bolshoi Ballet (NYC), The Joffrey Ballet, The Cleveland Ballet and have become dancers in Momix, Paul Taylor Dance Company (Kennedy Center Honoree), Atlantic Festival Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. Some have received full scholarships to the Juilliard School in New York, danced for Alvin Ailey, Beyoncé, and have become teachers, choreographers, and dance artists in their own right. Some dancers have even received college scholarships to major in something other than dance; they were merely asked to work on their college dance teams. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Intensive Program.
All dancers ages four and up will have the opportunity to perform in the End of Year Demonstration Concert.
Our Academy program meets weekly earlier in the day than our regular classes. Currently Academy meets Monday from 3:30 - 4:45 with unlimited classes in the evenings. Dancers study with Ms. Michelle and at times, guest instructors. Homeschooled students often easily enjoy the extra time, and many schools allow students to take a 'study hall' in place of gym since this is such an intense physical schedule, allowing for homework to be done in school itself. Students may arrive no later than 3:45 to assist with bussing schedules. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Academy Program
The PDT Repertory Ensemble was founded in 2012. The company gives dancers ages 7 and up two to three performing opportunities annually including "The Nutcracker". One of the long-term goals for this organization is to prepare willing students to work for and compete (if they so desire) on a more international and advanced level. Interested dancers may work toward performing at the "Youth America Grand Prix Festival" where professional schools come and award scholarships, dancers from around the world learn form each other, and students get master workshops with international stars. If you would like to see how this organization works, we encourage you to watch the documentary film "First Position". The film focuses on students working as soloists, but the organization has ensemble opportunities as well. We are working to raise the bar and make our dancers stronger, both technically and artistically. We also encourage parents to read "The Parents Book of Ballet" by Angela Whitehall and William Noble, cover to cover but paying stronger attention to Chapter 15: The Regional Ballet Experience, as this will give you an excellent understanding of our vision.
Rep Ensemble season runs each year from January to December with auditions happening in mid-December for the upcoming season. Information will be posted about auditions and rehearsals on the Rep Ensemble bulletin board at the studio, emailed to current members, posted regularly on our members only Rep Ensemble web site page and also posted on our social media as necessary.
There is a once yearly registration fee of $20 payable when the student registers for classes.
The school year is divided into four sessions. Tuition is due the first week of each session. A discount is given to those who pay within the first week of the session. If payment is not received by the first week of each session, parents will be charged the un-discounted rate. If no payment is received by the third week of the session, the student will not be allowed to attend classes until the balance is paid in full. See the class schedule sheets for current rates.
No refunds or credits will be given for tuition and session tuition is due in full regardless of whether a students drops a class prior to the end of the session. In cases of severe injury or extreme illness, tuition issues will be handled on a case by case basis. If a student cannot be physically present for a class, it is their responsibility to attend on Zoom or attend a make up at another time.
If there are individual issues, please contact the front desk worker BEFORE the payment is late!
PDT is closed for several days during the year including the week between Christmas and New Years Day. The dates we are closed will be posted in advance on the class schedule sheets and these are already factored into tuition, therefore no make-ups are available for these holidays.
If you have any questions about if the school is open, please call the studio before venturing out. In the event of bad weather, classes will be held over Zoom at the same times whenever possible. If this is not possible, classes may be made up in-person or special make-up days may be held at the end of the dance year.
Attendance to dance class is very important because dance is a cumulative learning experience with each class building on the previous one. If your child will not be attending class, please call the studio to inform the teacher. The teacher spent a substantial amount of time preparing for each class, and when a student misses, it takes time away from the whole class to teach the child what was missed.
Regular attendance is necessary to maintain steady progress in the class. Poor attendance will result in poor training. Absences and tardiness can have a negative effect on the entire class. Please make sure to be on time; it is disrupting to a class when a student comes in after the lesson is in progress or needs to leave early.
Students always have the option to attend their class over Zoom if they cannot make it to the studio or are feeling under the weather. If they cannot attend over Zoom, missed classes can be made up by the student taking any class that is at or below their same level. Sometimes taking a class slightly above their level is allowed, but only with the instructor's approval. We encourage the families to keep track of absences. We also suggest that if a dancer has a make-up, they take the class in a different discipline other than the one in which they are familiar. We offer a wide range of styles, and using a make-up class gives the dancer the opportunity to try a new style.
The studio has a firm NO SMOKING policy in and around the facility. This includes the sidewalk and walkways outside the studio.
We ask that you maintain the high standards of a professional dance school by maintaining a professional appearance. Please keep in mind that the teachers need to see the dancer's body to make sure that the dancer's movements are correct and not causing damage or 'false' muscle memory. Dancers work harder and stay more focused when properly dressed for class. We want our students to be comfortable with themselves and their bodies. Denim and other fabrics that restrict movements are not acceptable. We require dance clothing to be worn in every class and rehearsal. School clothes are not acceptable. Dancers must always keep their hair pulled back for class. Some teachers may request certain colors be worn for their classes. Please abide by the teacher's requests.
Students are expected to be respectful and attentive in class to teachers and their fellow classmates. Polite behavior and good manners should be displayed throughout the class and in the lobby areas. Foul language or actions are not permitted.
Students should not gossip or make their own groups and should work in unison as a class toward a common goal. Good attitude, good grooming, good attendance and practice a home are expected from each student. We are a private studio and reserve the right to dismiss any student who disregards studio policy, shows inappropriate behavior, or upsets the harmony of the school.
PHONES and OTHER DEVICES:
The use of phones and devices is restricted to between classes only, not during breaks. Please keep your phones and devices in your dance bags until you can use them.
The dance studio is a drama-free zone. We encourage our dancers to support each other, not to gossip and hurt others' feelings. Please be respectful of others and use the old adage "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
During the year, if a parent or student has a problem that they would like to discuss with Ms. Michelle, or any other teacher, they must make an appointment. Parents may not just come in unexpectedly, or when a class is scheduled to discuss a problem. We will not discuss problems in front of other parents and dancers. Pleas speak first to the desk workers and if they cannot help, they will work with you to coordinate schedules. We value the parents' opinions and concerns, but we have a tight and busy schedule we must keep.
We have a small request fro you both as guardians of the generations we are teaching and as members of those generations. During faculty meeting, members of our team have expressed problems with student memory. Ms. Michelle, who has also noticed the issue, has been researching the problem and has found numerous articles on hiw the brain is being affected by technology. "Memory, once built up by verbal and reading culture matters less when everything can by summed up by the touch or a button and now voice recognition" as quoted by Jackie Ashley of "The Guardian after a symposium with neuroscientist Susan Greenfield.
We encourage you to read articles regarding technology and the human brain, keeping an eye on how much you rely on technology. It's not possible to hold a cell phone in one hand and dance with the other, or have an app that reminds student to keep their abdominals engaged and to hold their arms at shoulder height.
We ask that you encourage and practice memorization when appropriate and often, as that is the ONLY way to know dance sequences. We want our dancers to feel good after every performance, so we ask that you push to work the memory part of the brain to assist them in being able to do so.
A FINAL WORD FROM MS. MICHELLE:
We hope you are as enthused about the dance year as we are! We have a great reputation and only want it to improve! This is our passion. We want to nurture it and see it grow in every way, just as parents we are sure you want your children to grow and flourish! Happy Dancing!