By KAITLYN MEADE | A new ballet school opened last week in Battery Park City, focused on making ballet accessible to young children, as parents enroll their kids in dance lessons at younger and younger ages. Children’s Warehouse, a ballet studio for children ages three months to six years, opened its doors at The Club At Gateway, on 375 South End Ave., with free introductory classes.
The school’s founder and artistic director, Beth Vages, owned and operated Cape Cod Ballet in New England before moving down to N.Y.C. Vages said an increasing number of parents are looking for ways to enroll their kids in ballet at young ages.
She has opened locations in B.P.C. and Brooklyn, and hopes to find spaces in Tribeca, the Village, as well as the Upper East and West Sides.
Children’s Warehouse may be the newest addition to Lower Manhattan dance classes, but it is by no means the only option for aspiring ballerinas. The New American Youth Ballet, founded in 1997 in Battery Park City by Elizabeth Flores, has been a way to introduce children of all ages, incomes and levels to classical ballet. The studio often provides scholarships to students who cannot afford tuition.
“What sets us apart from other community groups is that we offer performing opportunities in classical ballets with a full orchestra… which is pretty rare,” said Flores. The upcoming studio-wide performance of Copelia will take place on June 15, she said, and the summer dance program begins July 1.
When asked if she felt there was a need for another studio in Battery Park City, Vages said, “I know there’s a lot of dance studios in New York. When I looked into it, when they did run ballet classes, it was more of a creative movement program.” She said that her teaching style is “more formalized,” familiarizing students with classical music and the traditional stories and fairytales.
But perhaps the main difference is the age of the students. Flores teaches teens as well as students children as young as 2, whereas Vages starts with infants and goes up to age 6.
“I believe once they are six years old, they are ready for more serious training,” said Vages, and that New York City provides many such opportunities for her students,
Children’s Warehouse classes are split into six levels: Baby Ballet for 3-11 months old, Tot Ballet for 12-23 months old, Toddler Ballet for 2 and 3-year-olds, Fairytale Ballet for 4-year-olds are once a week on Tuesday or Wednesday and are $450 per semester. Princess Ballet for 5 and 6-year-olds and Knight Ballet for 4 to 6-year-old boys are $550 per semester. The school will also offer 3-hour programs over the summer.
For more information on Children’s Warehouse, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about New American Youth Ballet, visit www.newamericanyouthballet.org.