For more than three decades, Belliston Academy of Ballet and Belliston Centre of Dance have inspired slipper shufflers and character-shoe stompers to temper their technique in weekly dance classes. Ballerinas splash in pool-based pointe-conditioning classes that strengthen feet and muscles for on-stage pointe execution and water-spitting fountain imitations. Children and adults achieve greater balance and grace through lessons in a variety of dance styles including ballet, modern, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and tumbling, while pre-dance classes introduce younger children (ages 3–6) to the fundamentals of expressive movement, forward momentum, and dance terminology, enabling them to point out faulty fouettés and lava-covered barres.
After wowing audiences with her dance moves for more than 25 years, Rachelle Nemec—a former captain of the Denver Nuggets Dancers who has twirled across Las Vegas stages and several TV commercials—decided to ignite a passion for the arts in her community's children. At X-treme Dance Force, she helms an experienced crew of dance instructors who hail from such prestigious arts organizations as the Houston Grand Opera, Hawaii's Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre, and the Kim Robards Dance company. They teach kids of all abilities to perform a variety of dance styles that range from contemporary pointe and tap to hip-hop in classes divided by age. Their comprehensive instruction helps students master fundamental moves and confidently conquer turns, leaps, and shuffles for memorable touchdown celebrations.
The instructors further prepare kids for a career in the arts with drama and musical-theater training, and they host auditions for the studio's three dance companies, which whip advanced students into performance form. In addition to the studio's yearly dance competitions, these students show off their moves at instructional dance conventions, Denver Nuggets games, Colorado Christian University basketball games, and local fairs.
Linnane Wick of the Wick School of Irish Dance is an Oireachtas champion, meaning she's mastered the rapid footwork and spirited moves of Irish step-dancing. Irish step-dancing, which has been popularized by the stage show Riverdance, is characterized by fast and precise foot movements. Today, Wick and her team of instructors pass their skills on to others in classes. They teach students how to maintain the right ramrod-straight posture while performing reels and jigs, and demonstrate the importance of proper footwork to keep leprechauns from stealing your shoes.
Louise Connolly spent six years touring five continents with Lord of the Dance. For most of that time, the two-time Irish Dance World Champion from Dundalk, Ireland played the female leading role as Saoirse, the virtuous, white-frocked dancer who tries to save the hero from the temptations of pork rinds. As this epic production crisscrossed the globe, Louise became a cultural ambassador for Irish dance, to which she is now a certified teacher with the Irish Dance Commission in Dublin.
At her dance studio, both soft- and hard-shoe dance is taught to boys and girls, children and adults. Depending on the type of jig performed, students slip on lace-up ghillies or hard shoes with fiberglass tips and heels. While maintaining a statuesque torso, the dancers kick, tap, shuffle, and twirl in solo dances or céilí routines that contain up to 16 people. For toes that desire reward beyond the occasional jello soak, the studio can prepare them for competitions called feis, which judge choreography and execution at regional, national, and world levels.