What’s new at DALA?

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By Special to the Monitor

What’s new at Dance Arts Los Alamos? Just about everything! DALA has enlarged its studio space in Los Alamos, expanded class offerings in both Los Alamos and White Rock, given a face-lift to the White Rock studio and appointed two new directors to the staff.

The dance space at Trinity on the Hill in Los Alamos has been enlarged to nearly double its original size. This involved expanding the specialized sprung dance floor and laying a brand new Marley covering. The larger sprung floor in this location will now allow for all levels of ballet, as well as other genres of dance, to be taught at the Los Alamos studio.

DALA’s Early Childhood program is designed to introduce dance in a fun and supportive environment with the goal of instilling a life long love of dance and movement. In addition to offering classes in Creative Movement, Tap, Hip Hop, Modern Dance, Musical Theater and Scottish Highland, DALA’s new fall schedule will meet the needs of ballet students at all levels who desire a more intensive program.

Dance Arts Los Alamos also announces the appointment of Christin Severini as Ballet Curriculum Director.  

Severini is a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in New York City and has performed extensively in numerous full length and repertory ballets throughout the U.S. and around the world. She trained at the School of American Ballet and North Carolina School of the Arts while on full scholarship and has worked with some of the leading teachers and renowned dancers of our time. Severini is an ABT Certified teacher who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive. She has been teaching in New Mexico for the last five years and enjoys sharing her love of dance with aspiring dancers of all ages and levels.

DALA also appointed Valerie Silks as executive director. Silks trained for 12 years at the New Jersey School of Ballet and STEPS on Broadway and continued her dance training as a ballet major at Butler University. She then went on to earn her degree in biology and chemistry from Boston University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of South Carolina.

Also a professional musician, Silks has served as organist at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal church for the last 19 years. She incorporates music appreciation and an understanding of musical concepts in all of her dance classes. Silks teaches Creative Movement, Ballet, Intro to Tap and Intro to Modern Dance.

Also teaching ballet this season is Lisa Jaegers. Jaegers received her primary ballet training on full scholarship at the Ellis-DuBoulay School of Ballet in Chicago.

Returning faculty member Erica Gionfriddo will teach Intermediate and Advanced Modern Dance as well as pilates. Gionfriddo received her degree in dance performance and choreography from Shenandoah Conservatory.

Anita Gandy, who has been on the DALA faculty for the last seven years, is teaching Beginning Modern Dance and Choreography. Gandy was artist in residence for A Wing and a Prayer Modern Dance Company in Reno, Nev.

Four-time National Tap Dance Champion Patrick MacDonald will teach tap at all levels as well as a Musical Theater class designed specifically for adults. He is well known to theatergoers in Los Alamos for his acting abilities as well as his dancing.

Alyson Niemeyer will return to the DALA faculty to teach Hip Hop. She has performed with Extreme Dance Company in Gainesville, Fla., and Children’s Musical Theater in Daytona Beach in the areas of tap, jazz, swing, modern, hip hop and lyrical dance.

Scottish Highland Dance Champion Marion Langan will again teach this energetic genre of dance to multiple ages of dancers. In addition to her work at DALA, Langan is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico.

Classes in all levels of Ballet, Intro to Tap and Intro to Modern began on Monday. All other classes will begin after Labor Day. Registration is ongoing and can be done online (www.danceartslosalamos.org). The entire fall schedule with classes in both locations can also be found on the website. Students new to DALA are welcome to try their first class at no charge. Please call the office at 672-9462 with any questions.

DALA is a 501-(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting dance in Northern New Mexico. Studios are located at 111 Longview Drive in White Rock and at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church in Los Alamos.