The Next Generation of Groundbreaking Dancers
Jim and Nancy, both former principle dancers with the Los Angeles Ballet, are a classic tale. Upon retiring from center stage, they could not walk away from ballet or dance so they opened their studio, The Portland Ballet. They brought with them an advanced level of expertise and strong connections to big names in the field. They soon attracted a wide array of local talent to join their faculty. Nancy is quick to remark, “this town is full of great teachers.” Their curriculum is rigorous and based on the Russian School of Ballet. Dancers start as early as age 3 with Creative Ballet. Soon they start moving through the levels, with each level sometimes taking multiple years to progress through. Level 1 students may take around 2-3 hours of class per week, while level 5 could be taking 15-17 hours. The Portland Ballet genuinely believes that it is “high expectations and standards that forge the next generation of groundbreaking dancers.”
One of the programs that makes The Portland Ballet unique is their mens program. While other studios and academies include men, TPB realizes that exceptional male dancers need male teachers and role models throughout their education. They were pleasantly surprised to discover the community agreed, and there was distinct interest right off the bat. Having no problem finding a powerhouse of male teachers in Portland, the men’s program has continued to grow and prosper.
The Portland Ballet has a show coming up on Thanksgiving weekend the features another exciting component of their program – a live orchestra. Anyone who has danced to live music knows that it comes with both joys and challenges. This will be the 5th year TPB has collaborated with PSU Orchestra for their holiday performance and is a very special treat for the performers on both sides.
When asked what their future looks like Nancy says “our highest priorities looking ahead are to do new things, push the dancers, and enrich the professional experience.”