Aspiring ballerinas learn from beloved cartoon

Sara Van Cleve
Posted 8/30/12

Angelina Ballerina, the little mouse with big dreams of becoming a ballerina, has found a new home at the Westwoods Center for Performing Arts. …

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Aspiring ballerinas learn from beloved cartoon

Posted

Angelina Ballerina, the little mouse with big dreams of becoming a ballerina, has found a new home at the Westwoods Center for Performing Arts.

Westwoods, 6452 Fig St., Unit D, in Arvada, is the first dance studio in Colorado to launch the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy, an international ballet program for children ages 3-6 based on the popular book series and PBS program about the dancing mouse.

The Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy incorporates stories from Katharine Holabird’s books into the weekly lessons, and children learn the same things Angelina does as she progresses through ballet.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to introduce young kids to ballet,” Westwoods director Shannon Wilson said. “Angelina is such a fun character. She talks about not just dance, but life lessons and nutrition. It’s a fun way to get kids introduced to dance and get started with that too.”

Wilson said the stories teach children how to be a good person, to love and respect their parents, to be kind to their friends, how to be healthy and more.

Classes are once per week for 45 minutes and, though parents are not allowed in the room, they can watch their little ballerinas via monitors in the waiting rooms.

“I’m excited,” said 4-and-a-half-year-old Reagan Williams, who is taking the class with her 3-year-old sister, Reese. The two were eagerly waiting for their first class to start Aug. 22.

At the beginning of each class, the girls, dressed in pink tutus, sit and listen to the instructor read a portion of an Angelina Ballerina story. Then the tiny dancers stretch and dance to the music of the “Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps” TV program. Angelina talks the girls through some of their exercises.

“Reagan took ballet here last year, and she loved it,” said Jodi Williams, mother of Reagan and Reese. “They both love Angelina Ballerina, so it worked out. Westwoods is a great school.”

The ballerinas-in-training study under the guidance of an instructor and Angelina for nine months, focusing on a different book each month.

At the end of the class, the students perform in a recital with Angelina-related costumes and music.

“I think it’s a great way to connect children out there with someone with the same likes and dreams, someone to look up to, even though she is a cartoon character,” Wilson said.

Westwoods currently offers two sections of Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy, with about 20 girls enrolled so far.

The class is open to boys ages 3-6 as well, but only girls have enrolled so far, Wilson said.

Westwoods will accept registrations through December for the next sections, and will add more classes as needed.

Angelina Ballerina I for ages 3-4 is currently offered at 9:15 to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Angelina Ballerina II for ages 4-5 is offered at 3:15 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays.

The cost for the academy is $65 per month with recital fees at the end of the year.

For more information about the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy or to register a child, go online to www.centerofperformingarts.org or call 303-467-0334.

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