For parents who want to see their children in a recital, will Contemporary Ballet Dallas give them that chance? “Yes, of course!” exclaims director Lindsay DiGiuseppe. Founded in 2005 by DiGiuseppe, Contemporary is located in Mockingbird Central Plaza and specializes in dance training, offering children and adult students a wide variety of classes in a positive and welcoming setting. Recitals might include the Spring Annual Concert or Holiday Show for your young dancer, but we asked Lindsay to tell us more about the opportunities for kids at her school.
Park Cities Lifestyle: How do you educate children in the art of dance as well as an appreciation for the arts?
Lindsay DiGiuseppe: Even at a young age, students that attend dance classes and play a part in performances learn an appreciation for the arts and movement, which instills the importance of the arts and physical training, among many other positive attributes. Dance is an art—a very physical one—that requires students to tap into their creative side and bring an aesthetic to their performance while not showing all of the hard work. We encourage students to attend local performances in dance, music, musical theater, and more. We also bring those attributes into the classroom, as appropriate, for the elementary and upper levels by incorporating our Company level students into younger level classes periodically. This engagement inspires the younger students and provides a platform for children to grow, create, and challenge themselves. We encourage creative dance time with the littles while making connections to performances such as Swan Lake or The Nutcracker, and encourage as early as elementary school dancers to create combinations or sequences while working together in classes, which also taps into their creative process choreographically.
PCL: For parents with clear performers on their hands, what will those kids benefit from most with the classes at Contemporary?
Lindsay: Contemporary instructors are skilled dance professionals and performers who have trained at top level schools, in tours, and companies that stretch the globe. Our instructors are from all over as well, and some grew up in Dallas and have returned to make Dallas their home after their performing careers. We hold auditions for our Pre Professional Companies in Ballet, Tap, and Hip Hop and Jazz, providing kids that have the dance bug an opportunity to train more intensely and perform more in large productions, in the community at local festivals, dance competitions, and solo competitions.
PCL: For the kids who might not be as interested long-term in dance, what will they benefit from most?
Lindsay: All children will benefit from learning movement technique, training, and discipline in a welcoming and positive atmosphere. Students also gain a strengthened understanding of social interactions, muscle memory, heightened mind-body connection, spatial awareness, teamwork, self-esteem, multi-tasking, the importance of exercise, and body awareness.
PCL: After all the students you’ve taught, what is Contemporary’s greatest achievement?
Lindsay: When I look back at all of the years of teaching and directing the school to date, I would say the best achievement is that we have dancers that return back home to us. We have graduates that go on to perform professionally in companies and students that pursue their undergraduate degrees who return to join our faculty years later or just pop in to attend our adult classes while in town. We have adult students that have never lived in Dallas, that travel for work, and attend adult classes periodically when they are in town. Former faculty and staff visit and attend classes. Dance Professionals on tour attend classes when in town. We are also a home for various dance companies. We train students in dance, but we are also training choreographers, performers, and creatives for the world, no matter what their path may be. It is nice knowing that Contemporary and I had some part in that journey. Contemporary spans all ages, levels, and barriers serving as a Dallas dance home, or hub, to so many.
“Even at a young age, students that attend dance classes and play a part in performances learn an appreciation for the arts and movement, which instills the importance of the arts and physical training, among many other positive attributes.”