Dance Classes For Kids Offered at Paul Taylor’s Lower East Side School (Sponsored)

Instructor Reagan Wood works with students during a recent community day.

The following article was written by Rachel Berman of the Paul Taylor Dance Company:

On a Saturday morning at 551 Grand Street, home to the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the pitter-patter of little feet can be heard from inside the studio as Raegan Wood leads her tiny dancers into the Magic Elevator. Up, up, up they go to floor 357, emerging into the Jungle Room. “Everyone dance through the jungle!” shouts Ms. Wood as the children disperse across the room, becoming skulking jungle cats, graceful bright-winged birds, or even a towering tree around which monkeys scamper and snakes slither. Some students just choose to move sluggishly through the humid air. In this Level 1 class in the Youth Program, 4-6 year olds are learning the basics of modern dance, including creativity, musicality, and basic dance terminology. The program is a new addition to the Taylor School, offering modern dance classes with a focus on Paul Taylor’s signature style to young people ages four through teen. Since its launch this past September, the program has been so well-received that new class times are being added for the upcoming spring session.

The Taylor School has taught Mr. Taylor’s style to professional-level dancers since 1984, but this is the first offering of classes for children. After moving into their new home on the Lower East Side two years ago, the Company was eager to find ways to connect with our new neighbors. Following a series of well-attended free community workshops, the School decided to offer a regular schedule of children’s classes. The program consists of four levels, divided by age: 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, and 13-19 (plus new classes for non-professional adults beginning in February!). All classes are taught by Taylor Company alumni. The primary instructor is alumna Raegan Wood, who received her MA in education from Temple University, bringing both a superb knowledge of dance and a passion for working with children to the studio every day. Classes for the youngest set focus on creative movement and basics of modern dance technique, while older students learn the nuances of the Paul Taylor style and Company repertory. All levels emphasize the combination of athleticism and artistry that the Paul Taylor Dance Company is known for, exposing a new generation to world-class modern dance.

Because of the success of the Paul Taylor Youth Program’s inaugural session, new class times for 4-6 year olds, as well as teens, will be added this coming spring. In response to community interest, there will be classes for non-professional adults, perhaps looking to experience modern dance for the first time, or returning to it after many years away. Fitness and yoga classes are also in the works for the spring. All information about schedule and registration can be found at www.ptdc.org/school, and questions can be directed to me, Rachel Berman, at youthprogram@ptdc.org. Registration for new students is underway, with classes beginning February 6. Classes are filling up fast, so consider taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity for your children to learn world-class modern dance right in the neighborhood!