A Guide for Parents
E-mail communication is a primary means of keeping our dance parents informed. Upon enrollment, please be sure your email address is able to receive mailings from the following addresses:
- firstname.lastname@example.org (School Director - Ann Marie Benshoff-Todd)
- email@example.com (Executive Director - Hellie Schussler
- Jack Rabbit Dance (our online registration company)
You may also contact Ann Marie on her cell phone at (419) 496-9847.
Download the REMIND APP for mass updates!
Concerns & Special Needs
Occasional circumstances may need special attention. Please use the following preferred methods to bring concerns to the attention of the director.
- Email, text, phone the numbers above.
- Studio mail boxes: located near the studio entrance
- Leave a message: with our Studio Receptionist
While personal contact may be necessary for follow-up, keep in mind the energetic schedule under which the director and faculty members work. If the teacher is "on the run" between classes, it is not a good time to approach concerns. It is better to leave a message to which the teacher may then direct full attention at a less hectic time.
The following concerns should be brought to the attention of the artistic director.
- Questions concerning progress — If your child is having trouble "keeping up" he/she may have been placed in the wrong level or perhaps a little special coaching is in order.
- Student/Teacher relationships — If your child is having trouble understanding a teacher's corrections, every attempt will be made to come to a satisfactory solution for all involved.
- Student-to-student relationships — Students are expected to conduct themselves properly and respect faculty and peers. If this is not the case, every attempt will be made to bring the parties to an understanding.
- Personal problems — Occasionally a student has a personal problem which needs special support. Please bring these concerns to the attention of the director.
At the end of the school year, we present an annual Spring Dance Concert which allows our students to gain experience on stage. This requires a great deal of extra work for our administrative and artistic staff. Students and their parents are expected to provide support and understanding to insure a good show by:
- Attending all classes.
- Attending all extra rehearsals as scheduled.
- Following directions as provided on special communications issued throughout the spring semester.
It is important to note that most of the expenses of costumes, accessories and properties will be defrayed by Ashland Regional Ballet.
- There is no additional fee attached to your tuition.
- There is no costume fee.
- Shoes, tights and leotards, and other basic dancewear must be furnished by the dancers.
- You may be asked to purchase special dancewear or other costume needs.
- Items that you are asked to purchase will be usable again as either class or street wear.
Funding the Spring Concert
As there is no fee charged for the work of the staff, and costume expenses are kept to a minimum parents are expected to support the school by purchasing tickets - the sole funding of the Spring Concert. Other fundraising events (Flower and T-shirt sales) are continuing support for the school and company.
Spring Concert Tickets
Information on how to purchase tickets will be made available during the Spring Semester.
Other Performance Opportunities which become available as students grow through the Ashland Regional Ballet curriculum:
- Concert In the Park — By Invitation
- Choreography Showcase — Students become eligible when they enter Low Intermediate Ballet Level.
- The Nutcracker — By Audition only (see below)
- Winter Into Spring Gala - By Invitation
- Cabin Fever Performances — By Invitation
THE NUTCRACKER - By Audition Only
Ashland Regional Ballet holds open auditions for supporting cast positions in The Nutcracker. Only students with the ability to uphold the standards of Ashland Regional Ballet will be accepted into the cast. Those dancers and their parents are expected to accept their roles with an understanding of the responsibility and honor that has been bestowed upon them, and make The Nutcracker a priority for the duration of rehearsals and performances. The audition process is an important aspect of dance education, but can be difficult for students and parents if the roles they desire are not forthcoming. Please do not attempt to undertake this avenue of opportunity unless you are willing to cheerfully abide by the director's casting decisions, and make The Nutcracker a priority until the end of the final performance. (Students must be in Ballet 2 to be eligible.)
Opus II Dance Studio is the official school of The Ashland Regional Ballet (ARB).
Enrollment in classes does not imply company membership in ARB.
ARB company members are selected through a special audition process.
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Some dancers progress faster than others. It is just a fact of life that different individuals are endowed with different talents and aptitudes. Dance is a complex art form, and it is often difficult to predict which student will become a great dancer. Natural physical facility is obvious at the outset, but there is much more involved in the training of a dancer. Desire, quickness of mind, perseverance, and artistic temperament are all key ingredients in the development of a successful dancer.
Dance for enjoyment
If your child wishes to dance "just for fun", then the intensity of the training may be more relaxed. The majority of dance students enjoy this type of participation. They will be included in the annual Spring Concert, and, at the appropriate grade levels, be eligible to enter choreography in the annual Choreography Showcase and to audition for The Nutcracker. (Acceptance in The Nutcracker cast is never guaranteed as part of your dance class enrollment.)
Dance as a Serious Interest
These dancers must train hard while they are young. If your child wishes to explore the possibility of a dance or dance-related career, they should attend daily ballet classes as well as every elective subject available by the time they are 12 years old. During the early teen years they should also audition for company membership in Ashland Regional Ballet, and consider auditioning for summer intensive programs. Dance must become a priority for this type of dancer.
Dance Education's Long-Term Benefits
Even if your child has only a casual interest in dance, the benefits are long lasting and enriching on so many levels. Much more than just dance is learned in dance school.
Please - Attend Performances!
Students learn by observing! At Ashland Regional Ballet we make it a priority to give our dancers opportunities to attend and participate in performances. When you receive information about a performance ... GO! ... You will have a great time, support your child's educational process, and lend your support to our local dance community.
You will know your child is doing well if:
- He/she looks forward to class. Dancers enjoy the hard physical work that is the essence of dance training.
- You notice home practice. While ballet students need the watchful eye of the teacher to practice ballet technique, students should practice stretching and strengthening exercises at home. These exercises will be a daily occurrence for one who wishes to dance well.
- You have a true dancer in the family if you notice bending, stretching, turning, leaping, and tapping occurring in your home on a constant basis!
To dance or not to dance ...
If your child has difficulty with the physicality of dance:
- Continue for as long as he/she enjoys the participation.
If your child dislikes the class:
- Continue to the end of the semester. A student may have a slow start. The class may not be what they expected if they had no prior knowledge of dance training. They may change their mind by the end of the semester if they stick with it, and even if they donâ??t, they will achieve a sense of accomplishment from completing the semester.
If you come to the conclusion that dance is not where you want to continue to invest your time and money, here are a few tips to help your student come to the completion of their dance training.
- Complete the semester in which they are enrolled. Our school year is divided into semesters, which allows a student to "gracefully" bow out after completing a semester. We feel, very strongly, that young people need to learn to follow through with commitments so as not to develop a "quitter" mentality. The break between semesters provides the students an opportunity to reassess their commitment before beginning the new semester.
- If you have been cast in a role, complete your artistic obligations through to the end of the performances.
- Make sure all financial obligations are met.
Former students in good standing will be welcome to return at a later time if they find that they miss their involvement in dance.
The decision "to dance or not to dance" is personal.
Each student must come to their own conclusions based on their own circumstances and interests.
The recommended ages to begin entry level classes are:
- Ballet Preparation — 1st & 2nd grade
- Ballet 1 & Tap 1 — 3rd grade or older
- Special Children's Dance Classes for kindergarten or a bit younger are offered through our Recreational Division.
Jazz, Modern Dance & Pointe classes become available as students progress through the Opus curriculum. (The above ages are suggested guidelines.)