With summer quickly approaching, many San Marcos dance studios are offering specials to help students get fit and perfect their skills.
San Marcos is home to the Central Texas Ballet Conservatory (CTBC), First Class Dance Center (FCDC) and San Marcos Dance Studio (SMDS). Each organization offers a diverse mix of classes to fit any student’s interest.
Karen Elliott, SMDS owner, said the company’s summer classes and camps are designed to give students the most instruction time for their money.
“For the summer we offer six one-hour classes throughout six weeks for only $100 with no registration fee,” Elliott said. “Then, we offer various summer camps for $150 each.”
Elliott said SMDS offers instruction in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and contemporary throughout the summer for ages three to adult.
“Our main mindset as a studio is that anyone can take dance,” Elliott said. “Here, there are no premeditated ideas of what dancers should look like, and we want any and all shapes and sizes coming to experience the art of dance.”
Elliott said summer is one of the best times for new students to join.
“Summer is the perfect time for those first starting dance or starting back up from taking time off,” Elliott said. “With no upcoming performances to worry about, like recitals, the student is able to completely focus on learning technique.”
Having a dance studio close to campus is essential for students looking to get fit or grow their skills, she said.
“Having local dance studios available is not only convenient in commute, but the students are able to have human interaction,” Elliott said. “Anyone can YouTube dance moves these days, but having a studio makes for a better learning environment.”
Ryan Rodriquez, 11-year-old student at SMDS, said the studio has a fun and positive atmosphere, which makes attending classes less intimidating.
“There is definitely a positive atmosphere here that brings you in,” Rodriquez said. “(Elliott) works so hard to achieve this kind of atmosphere to make it the best studio possible, and to me, it is.”
Caitlin Kelly, CTBC owner, said each studio in San Marcos specializes in something different.
“Throughout San Marcos there are a few dance studios,” Kelly said. “Some focus on competition, some focus on expanding genres and we focus on ballet.”
Kelly said CTBC is a pre-professional ballet studio that provides classes for ages 18 months to adult.
“Our summer rates are really competitive,” Kelly said. “All-day sessions throughout the summer are only $200.”
Kelly said the studio designs their classes to be fun for all ages by using games as a tool to help students learn ballet techniques.
“Seeing as we offer classes for ages as young as 18 months, we like to provide things such as Mommy & Me and Daddy & Me classes,” Kelly said. “By having dance games incorporated within lessons, the student is able to obtain ballet terminology better.”
Kelly said she created CTBC as a way to offer ballet classes to anyone willing to learn.
“Anybody who wants to dance should dance,” Kelly said. “It’s so nice being able to provide a home away from home for students and to have a safe, fun-filled environment for them to learn.”
Leah Smit, CTBC dance instructor, said she is proud to be working in such a structured ballet studio.
“Along with being a place for kids to go, and an outlet for students to grow as dancers, it’s so wonderful having a ballet-based studio because ballet really is the foundation of all other dance as it provides discipline,” Smit said.
Smit said she strives to teach people that anyone is capable of learning how to dance with the right motivation.
“People tend to see dance on a platform, and that the only way of participating is being an audience member,” Smit said. “I always hear people say ‘I could never be a dancer,’ when really anyone willing to work for it and learn is capable.”
Smit said the variety of classes CTBC offers are designed to help people at any skill level recognize their potential.
“If you’re interested in dance—even slightly—we encourage you to at least try it out,” Smit said. “We have a lot of different classes that accommodate to a lot of different people.”
Elliott said learning dance can provide people with much more than exercise.
“Dance emphasizes respect and discipline,” Elliott said. “It provides techniques and values for life, not just for professional dancing. It’s an art form that can bring people together and benefit an individual for life.”