With November come thoughts of holiday traditions, and for many Triad families, an annual favorite not to be missed is The Ballet & Performing Arts Centre’s magical presentation of The Nutcracker.
While BPAC students join the Winston-Salem Conservatory Ballet in presenting this enchanting performance in two full acts—each no more than one hour long, making it perfect for younger children—families will fall in love all over again with this spectacular blend of dance and music that epitomizes the Christmas spirit. Approximately 45 students auditioned for lead roles in last year’s performance, with over 95 auditioning for the corp and group roles.
Just as The Nutcracker is a favorite hallmark of timelessness and creative inspiration, so is the very mission of the BPAC, which has earned an impeccable 20-year reputation in the community as a beacon of excellence in dance education and production. Known for its strong dancers, unparalleled faculty, and diverse array of disciplines, BPAC first opened in Lewisville, but has been in its current Winston-Salem location for the past 18 years. With an exceptional staff of six teachers year-round, and guest artists who teach throughout the summer months, it’s no secret that a great dance teacher makes students love the art.
“I’ve hand-picked the best instructors for our school because quality is important,” says Natalie Mizell-Calvano, owner and Artistic Director, who is passionate about her job and mindful that dance is a skill that remains with students forever. “Even if you are not going to major in dance or become a professional, dance is a learned skill that challenges your mind and body,” she explains.
The talented students at the Centre are busy year-round, tucked away in the 5,000-square-foot facility that includes two dance studios, sprung floors to insure students’ safety, and portable barres. Its school-year program runs from August to June, and emphasizes a structured learning environment that encourages individuality, creative expression, and an overall appreciation for the art. Dancers ages three to 18 enjoy a wide variety of classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip hop, variations, stretch, Progressing Ballet Technique™ and conditioning. There is also a summer intensive class schedule, as well as summer camps, which are excellent opportunities for students to build on their technique in preparation for special performance auditions.
BPAC is also represented by a competitive dance team, where students who audition are divided into duets, trios, quartets, and other groups based on age, ability, and strength, along with those scheduled for solo performances. In fact, Natalie suggests that parents who are searching for the right studio for their budding dancer ask if the studio encourages competition. If your child is seeking a traditional ballet class, a competitive studio would not be the best fit.
While the benefits of dance training are many, they are also varied. For dancers of any age, this graceful sport enhances motor skills, musicality, discipline, structure, and the ability to work well in groups, as well as perform individually. As they develop culture, students also develop character, strengthening traits they will carry with them through life.
“We are so very proud of the many bright young dancers who have graduated from our studio with a solid work ethic, personal integrity, and a positive sense of self,” says Natalie.
With long rehearsals and personal dedication come amazing results. “I have had some students be painfully shy, and once they got on stage, they came alive!” shares Natalie. “Dance is a true confidence builder!”
The Ballet & Performing Arts Centre invites you to join their family! Visit the studio at 5365 Robinhood Road, Suite E, Winston-Salem, call 336-923-2585 to schedule a free trial class in your child’s area of interest, or register online at balletandperformingartscentre.org. The Nutcracker will be presented Friday, December 8th at 7 p.m. and Saturday, December 9th at 2 p.m. at Reynolds Auditorium, 301 North Hawthorne Road in Winston-Salem, and will also feature an abbreviated performance Friday, December 8th at 10 a.m. For ticket information call 336-923-2585 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.