Atherton | Menlo Park | Redwood City | San Carlos
Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap and Pilates
Ages 2 – adult
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At the Academy of American Ballet (AAD) We Offer the Best Dance Classes in Redwood City:
A Healthy Environment that Empowers Dancers
Joyful, creative, and developmentally appropriate classes
A studio you can grow with beyond kindergarten ballet
Training rooted in anatomical principles to support excellence and safety
We also offer contemporary dance classes such as hip hop, jazz, and tap with age-appropriate movement, lyrics, and costumes.
At the Academy of American Dance (AAD) We Believe:
- Training should start as an inward process instead of strict imitation of an aesthetic. Technique and artistry go hand-in-hand, and must be developed over time. Our curriculum is developmentally appropriate. Read this article by the Washington Post.
- A multi-generational dance environment has many benefits because everyone needs role models and community. Our youngest students work alongside wonderful teen role models in our Big Sister/Little Sister program and our teacher assisting programs. Parents can take from a variety of dance classes at the same time as their children.
- American dancers are well positioned to take advantage of the great wealth of knowledge of prior training methods from other countries, but we also know how to train in a healthier and more creative way.
A Supportive Community that Engages Parents
We Provide a Nurturing and Supportive Environment
Every student has the capacity to thrive and grow through dance. We have dance classes for recreational students as well as pre-professional. Traditional training methods coming from other countries are often rooted in a hand-picked model where students are selected on the basis of their innate physical potential. For example, many schools in Russia, China, and Cuba select their students based on innate physical match for ballet, so these teachers don’t need to understand anatomy like American teachers who need to be able to work with all students. We stand well-positioned at AAD to take advantage of other training methods such as Pilates, Feldenkrais, Progressive Ballet Technique, the Franklin Method, and EBAS to fully develop each student’s innate ability as many of our teachers are certified in one or more of these modalities.
We Need Tools to Understand How Our Bodies Move
At AAD our training is rooted in anatomical principles. We have tools that have been developed in the United States and abroad to give students a better understanding of how their bodies move. We have tools like Pilates, Gyrokinesis, and Feldenkrais. Did you now that most dance teachers have never taken any certification course in movement practices outside of dance? We need these tools to draw the potential out of our American students.
- We are very fortunate to have an onsite Pilates studio, Motio with exceptional trainers who are working with both the teachers and the students (from the Intermediate level through advanced) to help us build on our knowledge of biomechanics.
- The Academy of American Dance is proud to be the only dance school on the Peninsula that offers trio Pilates reformer classes to intermediate and advanced students. Almost all of the large AGMA companies such as, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and American Ballet Theater have Pilates reformers as a part of their rehab centers for dancers. We are very fortunate to be able to take advantage of this equipment while dancers are laying down their initial technical foundation, not just as a rehab tool. Some ballet schools offer Pilates mat classes, but cannot afford the capital investment of reformer machines. We felt the investment was a critical piece in progressive training techniques for dancers.
- We use a syllabus and teachers get regular feedback about their teaching to insure that the classes progress at the right pace. The Director, Julia Ball-Dugan holds is a former professional ballet dancer, has taught for 35 years, and holds an MA in Dance Education from Stanford University. In fact, in 1993, Mrs. Dugan started Stanford’s first ballet company.
We Avoid Extreme Flexibility that Risks the Safety of Dancers
The extreme flexibility that is currently being promoted in many schools and that is found on youtube is coming at the cost of extreme damage to the hips of young dancers. Over-splits 2 feet off of the ground is causing the femoral head to be flattened such that dance kinesiologists are predicting that these dancers will likely need hip replacement surgery in their twenties. See The Ballet Blog. Let’s really ponder what aesthetic is natural, expressive, and beautiful versus what is contortionist-like. These young bodies have a full life to live.
We provide age appropriate choreography and costuming
At AAD we always use clean lyrics, with appropriate performance attire, and age-appropriate movement choices for young dancers to protect and nurture their innocence. We offer contemporary dancers classes that use powerful movement choices that promote meaning and beauty to the world rather than just simply mimicking movement that is trendy, but that does not necessarily bring lasting value to the audience. We promote all dance as an art form that is not to be compromised.
Quality Performance Opportunities
We believe dance is best performed! AAD offers many performance opportunities throughout the year ranging from informal recitals, the BAJC student showcase, to our family-friendly Nutcracker ballet that sells out at the historic Carrington Hall in Redwood City. Every student at AAD regardless of age or ability is invited to audition and our performers typically range in age from 3 to 75. Advanced students can also join our performance company Ballet America for more intensive stage training and access to principal roles. We also have an adult ballet company. We are proud to serve the community by performing at Children’s hospitals, senior homes, and veteran’s hospitals.
Our students have successfully auditioned for competitive summer programs with prestigious companies like American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Lines. We have had students successfully compete and place in the prestigious YAGP ballet competition. We also have been awarded numerous scholarships and “Outstanding Soloist” awards from Regional Dance America (RDA). Watch our Outstanding Solist dancer featured in the pink tutu at the beginning of this PBS special RDA PBS special. We are proud to be a member of RDA, the largest dance scholarship provider in the United States. Our students have performed professional-level roles like Sugar Plum, Rose and Snow Queen in the Nutcracker with complete artistic and technical mastery. We are also very proud of the accomplishments of our students for whom dance has always been recreational, but have still gained so much inner strength, and self-esteem through our program.
I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.
— Mikhail Baryshnikov