Shall we dance? Register for DALA's dance classes

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By Special to the Monitor

Dance Arts Los Alamos (DALA) is proud to unveil its new fall schedule and to welcome new instructors to its faculty.

Following a successful summer of dance intensives and weekly classes, the fall session will open Aug. 18. DALA welcomes new faculty member Fletcher Nickerson, while tap instructor Patrick MacDonald returns to the dance company. As always, all levels of ballet and pointe will be offered, as well as creative movement, tap for all ages, jazz, contemporary repertory, Scottish Highland and pilates. Classes will once again be taught in White Rock and at Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church in Los Alamos.

DALA has offered top-quality dance instruction for the past 16 years and the 2008-2009 season will be no exception. Ballet, beginning ballet, and pointe classes will continue to be taught by Christin Severini, Valerie Silks, Lisa Jaegers and Marion Langan. Severini is a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre in New York City, having previously trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the School of American Ballet.

Silks will again offer her very popular Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet classes for young boys and girls Saturday mornings in Los Alamos while, simultaneously at the White Rock studio, Lisa Jaegers teaches ballet to a lively class of teenagers and adults.

A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Langan studied ballet at the Manor School of Ballet in Edinburgh and was three-time United Kingdom Scottish Highland Dance champion. Langan is planning to broaden the age range of her Highland classes to include new dancers as young as age 3. Classes are accompanied by live pipe music provided by Langan’s husband, Paul, a champion piper. Outside DALA, Langan is well-known for her early childhood dance program in several Los Alamos pre-schools and she continues to teach Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet to the very youngest of DALA’s dancers. Langan also works for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico.

Following the successful inclusion of hip-hop classes in the 2007-2008 session, DALA is very pleased to be able to continue this class, for boys and girls, and to welcome its new hip- hop instructor Nickerson. Nickerson currently teaches at Moving People Dance in Santa Fe and is a former member of Oxygen Dance Company in Chicago.

Patrick MacDonald will teach tap for all ages, as well as a new class in Musical Theater. Musical Theater is open to all those interested and involved in stage performance and will expose students to different dance styles, teach stage character development and cover audition techniques and combinations. MacDonald trained at the Casali School of Dance in St. Clair Shores, Mich. He moved to Los Alamos in 2004 and works in the Detonator Fabrication Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Creative jazz, contemporary repertory, all levels of modern dance, and pilates classes will be offered by Anita Gandy and Erica Gionfriddo. Gandy has been teaching, dancing and choreographing for 30 years. She has taught at DALA since 2001 and for the past two years has provided invaluable assistance in coordinating the spring recitals and “The Nutcracker.” Gandy has also choreographed shows for the LAHS Olions for three seasons and presented original choreography for the LA Fitness Center’s Bodybuilding Show. Gionfriddo’s modern dance and pilates classes both return this year. Gionfriddo is a member of Moving People Dance in Santa Fe. She trained at Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia and has also studied intensively in Spain and Taiwan. Gionfriddo is a certified pilates Mat Master Teacher.

Registration opens very soon for all DALA classes. Please visit the DALA booth near Ashley Pond during the LA County Fair and Rodeo from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, where forms and information will be available. Annual Registration week commences Aug. 11 and continues until Aug. 15. Please visit the DALA web site www.danceartslosalamos.org for exact details. Information about the Fourth Annual Dancers’ Resale, to be held Aug. 16, will also be available at the County Fair booth and on the web site.

Now in its 13th successful year, DALA will also be presenting “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 5, 6 and 7 at Duane Smith Auditorium. Auditions will be held from 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Aug. 23 at the White Rock studio. Please check the web site after Aug. 18 for exact audition times and further details.

Look out for DALA students and parents in the County Fair and Rodeo Parade, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.