Ballet academies across the city give kids a chance to explore the classical dance form
With MS Sreedhar’s annual recital, Dreams, scheduled for December 22, we round up some academies to sign up your tiny dancers to if they have fantasised about turning perfect plies and pirouettes on stage.
Shona Dee Dance Academy
A lawyer by profession, Shona D’sa started learning ballet at nine and was inspired to start her academy when she taught a friend’s daughter the basics of the art. She now trains children in classical and semi-classical ballet, adding elements of jazz and hip hop.
Popular for her relaxed vibe, her classes are open to all ages and sizes. Mum Anjana Chandran, feels the class has ‘transformed’ her daughter Hirankshi who has been a regular at D’sa’s classes for seven years. “She now handles auditions confidently and will perform in an upcoming school play.” D’sa recommends “a trial class to see if the child is really interested. And to ensure individual attention later.”
Ages four and up.Timings: Vary. Fees: Depends on the time slot and age group. (Rs.1,000-Rs.2,000 ) Details: 25588325
Yana Lewis Dance Academy
Founded in 2002 by Yana Lewis from the UK, the company focuses on various styles of ballet including classical, jazz, and a unique yoga and ballet combination style. The ballerina cum choreographer conducts classes at her own academy and across city schools. She even teaches underprivileged children at the Parikrama foundation.
Lewis’s classes focus not just on dance but on ‘teamwork, critical thinking, organisation and problem-solving’. And punctuality. “Kids need to come in early and stretch before class so as to perform to their full potential,” she says. Sharada Suresh, a parent whose two daughters attend the academy says, “My daughter trained in Europe before joining the academy so I was very fortunate to find a good professional ballet school here in Bangalore.”Ages four and up. Timings: Mon–Thu, 4 pm – 6.30 pm, Sat–Sun, 9 am – 12.30 pm. Fees: Rs.5,000 per term. Details: 8088006677
Latin Dance India
Latin Dance India founded by Sai Raja and Kirthi Kishore simply aimed to “get people dancing”. They hold ballet classes by Yana Lewis, apart from director Raja, with options for private or group sessions. Trained in various styles of dance, Raja has worked with Jackie Chan in the film, The Myth.
Kishore believes that kids should ideally start any dance training with ballet. “It helps them understand the importance of alignment and also prepares them for other dance forms, both Western and Indian.” Divya Nachani, whose son has been taking classes for the past four years, says that her son has improved his balance in other sports too. Ages four and up. Timings: 4.30 – 6.30 pm on Mondays, 5.30 – 7.30 pm on Fridays. Fees: Rs.5,000 per month. Details: 9448380213
The ballet courses at LVDS are conducted by Anirvan from the UK, and follow an international syllabus. They are also split into two different age groups. A pioneer of Western dance styles in India, Vijay believes that “parents should identify the right instructor and school, as the children are at a very vulnerable age and fear should not affect their performance”. Kriti Karanth, whose daughter has been going only for a few months since June, says she’s already noticed a difference. “My daughter is much more focused and disciplined.”
Ages four and up. Timings: 4.30 – 6.30 pm Mondays and Wednesdays. Fees: Registration of Rs.950 and Rs.2,200++ for eight classes.
One of the most intensive courses around is MS Sreedhar’s ‘Body Language’ classes at the Alliance Francaise, meant for the truly serious, feels Sugandhi Ramesh, whose two daughters have been studying dance with him for 13 years. “My daughters have plenty of confidence and a good sense of rhythm and movement,” she adds. But be prepared to be committed in his class. “It takes a lot of time and effort to perfect your moves, so be consistent with practices , even though it’s repetitive, despite exams or holidays”, he signs off.
Ages five and up. Timings: Mon – Fri 4.30 – 6.30 pm, Sat – Sun 7 pm. Fees: Rs.600 upwards per month. Details: 9844020801
Dreams, an exploration through dance, will be held at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall on December 22.
Entry by invitation only.
By Rashmi Rajagopal and Tia Raina