Magazine article Dance Teacher

A Professional Touch

Magazine article Dance Teacher

A Professional Touch

Article excerpt

The Brookline Ballet School takes a boutique approach to pre-professional training. BY SUZANNAH FRISCIA

It would be difficult to walk down Beacon Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, and not notice The Brookline Ballet School. With its bright-pink exterior and large windows facing the street, it invites passersby to watch the dancers in class. When husband and wife team Trinidad Vives and Parren Ballard decided to open a pre-professional school in this upscale Boston suburb five years ago, they balanced scale-two studio spaces- against location and market. Having a school opposite a popular train stop meant higher rent, but it also meant visibility, and they felt it would help to be in a neighborhood known for its strong school system.

"Everybody that lives in Brookline is very focused on education and how important cultural exposure is to the kids," says Vives. "We felt it was somewhere people were going to value what we could bring to the school, and our background."

Both Vives and Ballard have a wealth of professional and teaching experience. They met while dancing with Cincinnati Ballet, and also danced with English National Ballet and Hamburg Ballet, among others. Vives served as associate director at Boston Ballet for seven years (after an eight-year stint as ballet mistress and associate director at Houston Ballet), while Ballard taught in the company's trainee and boys programs. When they decided to open their own studio, they were encouraged by two friends with business backgrounds, Renée and John Randall, who agreed to help underwrite it.

Brookline offers serious pre-professional students seven levels of training. It also offers creative dance for young children and open ballet and fitness classes for adults. It currently serves about 180 year-round students.

To keep up with scheduling demands, the studio offers classes seven days a week. …

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