Ballet Theatre of Phoenix opened its new 7,800-square-foot dance studio this fall
“Phoenix needs an epicenter for all forms of dance, and now it is here,” says Jennifer Cafarella, Ballet Theatre of Phoenix school director. “I am excited that we have a purpose-built dance facility to accommodate every dance form.” Conceived by Venue Projects with architect Martha Baker of InKinetic, the state-of-the-art facility boasts four large dance studios with an emphasis on classical ballet instruction, training dancers from age 3 to pre-professional level, as well as holding ballet classes for adults; movement styles for all including contemporary and tap dance; and rental space for dancers and instructors to develop a wide array of movement—from yoga and salsa to belly dance and hip-hop. Here, Cafarella discusses how teaching dance has grown by leaps and bounds. ballettheatreofphx.org
During the months at home, what are some highlights you can share about the virtual teaching experience?
We have been able to attract people from the East Coast, and even Finland. Zoom classes emphasized to the student ‘how’ they learn, and many realized they followed other students while in class and had to focus on learning combinations on their own. I think that it was a great training tool for a few months.
What excites you most about the return to in-person teaching? I am definitely happier we have students in person now. By providing high-quality training that is based on each student’s individual physical, intellectual and emotional needs, we give students the tools they need to thrive in the world of ballet, or in any discipline they might pursue. The large lobbies and multiple bathrooms and lounges have helped tremendously to keep the 6-foot distance needed.
How can the public begin to enjoy the art of live dance again? We are performing masked at the November Herberger Arts Festival in front of an audience, which is very exciting for the children. And we are creating a Nutcracker film! We are rehearsing and filming our Nutcracker to stream or purchase. The school is so happy to continue the holidays with the tradition of The Nutcracker. No pandemic can stop BTP!
Photography by: courtesy of Ballet Theatre of Phoenix