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Contemporary dance in a classical ballet school

Performance piece in Surealia, choreographed by Kristen DeBellis to the song "Nothingness."
Performance piece in Surealia, choreographed by Kristen DeBellis to the song "Nothingness."
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Within the space of a few minutes the dancers of Studio Roxander go from wearing pointe shoes, pink tights, and black leotards to being dressed in half-sole jazz sandals, shorts, and loose-fitting tops. This transformation from ballet to contemporary attire is in preparation for jazz class. Time for cross training!

Classically trained ballet students can easily get stuck in the routine of only taking ballet technique classes. However, with contemporary-style ballet becoming an increasingly important part of today's dance world, it is vital that they be introduced to different kinds of movement like modern and jazz. Although these styles often feel foreign to classically trained students at first, the experience makes for more well-rounded dancers and even strengthens their ballet skills. Contemporary dance takes students out of their comfort zone but training in both classical ballet and modern makes the transition from rehearsing Nutcracker variations to working on a contemporary ballet piece a smoother one.

Through a combination of contemporary classes, jazz classes, and the yearly performing of an original, modern ballet, Studio Roxander's training program ensures that their students will not be short on contemporary dance experience. Each spring, David and Elyse Roxander teach their students choreography from their vividly unique modern ballet, Surealia, giving them a taste of what it is like to combine modern movement with pointe shoes! During this spring's Surealia, the Roxanders also inserted a piece that was choreographed by the studio's contemporary teacher, Kristen DeBellis, which was performed completely “on flat” and showcased DeBellis' impressively singular style.

Although Studio Roxander is unfailingly faithful when it comes to offering classical ballet instruction, contemporary and jazz have undoubtedly found a place in the curriculum, providing the student's with valuable cross-training and a well-rounded dance experience.

To learn more about the contemporary and jazz classes that are offered at Studio Roxander visit