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August 22, 2017 - 9:43am

Batavia Players opens new dance academy

posted by Becky LeFevre in Batavia Players, theater, dance, arts, news.

The Harvester 56 Theater, home of the Batavia Players, is opening a new dance school this fall. Classes will be held at the Robert Morris School in Batavia. 

The Theater has sponsored summer dance camps in the past, but the new academy will offer semesters of professional dance instruction to students of all ages. Patrick Burk, president of the Board of Directors of the Batavia Players, is enthusiastic about this new venture.

He said, “A dance academy seemed like the next step. Many of our productions need dancers of all ages and yet, there was no performance-based dance company in the area -- all dance studios were designed to provide a recital piece or pieces for their students at the end of the year. We want our dance students to obtain dance skills so they can learn a dance and perform it at any time. It allows us to be skills based and not recital based.”

Classes are not just for current theater participants, but are open all members of the community. Weekly lessons will be offered in Ballet, Tap, Jazz/Contemporary, and Theater Dance, as well as the opportunity for private lessons and one-time master classes on specific dance styles or techniques.  

The Harvester 56 Theater Dance Academy is directed by Rochester native Brianna Blair Kelly. Kelly began her training in Irish Dance and attended the School of the Arts in Rochester. Kelly holds a BFA in Musical Theater from SUNY Fredonia and an MFA in Choreography and Performance from The College at Brockport. Kelly’s connections at the School of the Arts and the College at Brockport have helped her to recruit an array of diverse teachers for the 2017-2018 season.

Instructor Alyssa Bourgeois was born and raised in Houston and will be getting her master’s in Choreography and Performance from the College at Brockport in the Fall of 2017. Instructor Kaitlyn Owens is also a Rochester School of the Arts graduate and is currently a sophomore BFA dance major at SUNY Brockport. Instructor Tatiana Amaye-Obu hails from Brooklyn and brings with her extensive training in Classical Ballet but is also well versed in Hip-Hop and African Dance. 

Kelly said, “I’m very excited and proud to be starting the Harvester 56 Dance Academy. It’s thrilling to know that we are establishing a creative environment that offers a new kind of dance education -- hopefully it will become the go-to place for comprehensive, supportive and affordable dance education for Batavia and the surrounding areas.”

More information about the academy can be found online at bataviaplayers.org.

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