With 30 years of dance experience behind her, Maria Calegari started from the top. And luckily for locals, the former New York City principal ballerina decided to open her own ballet studio.
"I do think our experience sets us apart," said the professionally trained ballerina, and owner of the CaleCo Ballet Studio. "Oh, and the studio, you have to see it to believe it," added Calegari. The North Salem studio is in the same building as historic Union Hall, evident by the cathedral ceilings.
A relatively new option in town, CaleCo Ballet Studio teaches students from ages three to 18, from beginning levels to more advanced levels. "We’re trying to train the younger ones in a creative safe environment but where they're still getting the fundementals, then we’re going up to the pre-professionals," she said.
Maria and her husband, Bart Cook—also a professionally trained dancer—are part of a small group of choreographers authorized to teach the professional choreography of renowned George Balanchine, founder of the New York City Ballet, and Jerome Robbins, choreographers of such shows as West Side Story.
The dancing couple has trained with these professionals, who in turn gave them permission to showcase their famous choreagraphy.
CaleCo offers ballet at varying different levels of difficulty, and this year is starting a Jazz and Lyrical class. "We're happy to add this, because I know they all love it," said Calegari, who decided to have her own studio to combine her dual loves of dance and children. "We're just growing."
"I couldn't imagine anything better than having my daughters learn from true professionals," said Karen Lustig, of Cross River. "My girls have not only had a wonderful introduction to ballet but unexpected and very much appreciated lessons in poise, grace and artistry."
Lustig also added that CaleCo is quite the opposite of a competitive, pressure filled dance studio, with an end of year recital. She was struck with the elegant and simple approach. "The year-end performance was breathtaking," said Lustig, mother to six-year-old twins that dance at CaleCo and attend
From North Salem to Bedford Hills, offers a much different style of dance—with Tap, Hip-hop, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theater and 'Jumps and Turns' classes offered at this studio.
Along with various types of dance here, there is also the option to join one of the seven dance-style specific companies, or The Competitive Edge, The Pulses's national winning competition team.
Regardless of the "unique mix of classes...everyone gets trained the same way, including the companies and the recreational dancers," said dance studio director, Jennifer Dell, who made it clear that there is no segregation between individuals who dance more for fun, and those who take classes in addition to being in a company or on a competitive team.
"We have more students who are just there for their love of dance," said Dell. "Whether they take one class a week or every day it puts aside the drama of growing up."
New to The Pulse is a dance-wear shop along with a homework space, fulfilling Dell's dream of the studio being a "safe haven for kids growing up."
The Pulse has an annual end-of-year recital in May and Master classes at the studio throughout the year. The Pulse also has a Choreography Night where dancers can get together and showcase their own dances.
The Bedford-Katonah area is filled with different dance studios, whether you're looking to be a prima ballerina or a hardcore hip-hop dancer the opportunity is here.
Below are five local studios that you can check out for Fall registration. If we have missed one you attend or would recommend, let us know!
1. CaleCo Ballet Studio
2 Keeler Ln., North Salem, NY 10560
Classes begin Sept. 15, free trial classes are available the week before. See http://www.calecoballetstudio.com/ for more information.
196 Harris Rd., Bedford Hills, NY, 10507
Fall classes at The Pulse begin Monday, Sept. 12, and registration begins next week, Aug. 15. See more information at http://www.performthepulse.com/content/front2
3. Performing Arts Studio
131 Bedford Rd.,Katonah, NY, 10536
At the Arts Caravan, performers of all ages enjoy acting, ballet, HipHop, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theater, Nia and Tap. The 2011-2012 class schedule is available here, http://artscaravan.com/ registration is open for the Fall!
Saw Mill Club, 77 Kensico Dr., Mount Kisco, NY 10549
Registration is now open at Encore!, offering all different types of dance for all different ages from Dance and Play, to Street dance and Theater dance, there is something for everyone. Members of the Saw Mill Club receive a 10 percent discount to tuition. See for more information.
69 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
In Torrie Marie's philosophy, this dance studio promises to teach all dancers of all ages, abilities and all shapes and sizes. Along with offering classes in Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, and Modern, TMSD offers adult evening classes and private lessons upon request. See http://www.torriemariedance.com/Torrie_Maries_School_of_Dance/TorrieMarieDance.com.html for more information.