By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Since moving to a new location at St. Mark’s Church on-the-Bowery last year after more than three decades in its old space, New York Theatre Ballet has been trying to come up with new ways to get involved with the community. To that end, the school has recently started offering pre-ballet classes for children as young as three and four years old, as well as expanding its adult program for women of all ages.
However, while NYTB founder and artistic director Diana Byer said the adult classes are held in a welcoming atmosphere for anyone who “has never put on ballet slippers,” the younger students are held to a much loftier standard.
“It’s very professional,” she said. “It’s not a play date and it involves serious training. We teach them that their behavior affects everything around them and we have real expectations for the students.”
The company’s interest in getting young children involved in dance and theater is evidenced through the classes that start at such a young age but also through the performances that are tailored specifically to kids.