Fall Classes Start
Our academic school year begins Tuesday, September 8th. Registration is available online. Returning families should use their email addresses to log into their existing accounts. Questions about placement? Call or email us.
We will offer in-person instruction for students 4 years of age and up starting Tuesday, September 8th. Families and students will need to abide by our COVID policies.
Students younger than 4 years of age – Parent n Me and Creative Movement 1 and 2 – will be on hiatus until conditions permit parents to enter the building. This is unlikely to be before November and may be as late as January 2021. Parents interested in a Zoom class for this age group should contact the office.
Our COVID Policies
To prevent the spread of the corona virus and ensure the safety of our staff and our families, CSD has instituted the following policies:
- Micro-classes: depending on the size of the studio, classes will now range in size from 4-8 students
- Parent n Me and Creative Movement 1 & 2 classes will begin when conditions permit parents to be in the building. This may be as late as January 2021.
- CM 3 classes will be held in person, although parents should be aware that they will not be allowed into the building.
- Temperatures are taken before entering the building. Students with more than 99.6 will be sent home.
- Only students and teachers will be allowed in the building.
- Masks are worn at all times.
- Distancing will be observed in dance class.
- NO make-ups; NO late arrivals.
- Students enter Lambert Hall through the playground but exit via the side parking lot.
- Students enter Grace United using the door that faces Yale, but exit the door facing 13th street.
- Depending on government recommendations and rules, CSD reserves the right to go to all virtual classes.
- To minimize contact between students of different classes, we have made some changes to the schedule. BE SURE TO DOUBLE CHECK YOUR CHILD’S CLASS TIME on the CSD website.
- CSD reserves the right to institute any new measure required by the level of spread in the community.
Samson Home School Academy
We have a limited number of spots left in our Samson Academy program. Samson Academy offers in-person instruction for students Kinder through Grade 4. Our micro-sized classes – maximum 6 students – allows for both greater protection against the corona virus, and individual attention to each student.
In addition to our special program for students wishing to preserve their spots in HISD magnet programs, we offer a full academic program, including math, language arts, science, social studies, music, art, and citizenship.
More information can be found at www.samsonacademy.com or by calling 713-880-5565.
Sept Unit Study – Balanchine
Our first unit study of the new school year is the work of choreographer George Balanchine, Russian immigrant and co-founder of School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet.
Classes On-line: Zoom and Youtube
With the stay-at-home order extended to April 30, we will begin streaming classes via Zoom as of April 6. We will continue to offer our classes and other programs on youtube. We are working every day to think of new ways to keep students moving forward. Keep your eye out for our emails!
As part of our on-going efforts to go above and beyond during the corona crisis, we will be posting several new programs online. These will include a program called The Reading Corner, a series of ballet vocabulary videos, and a series of rhythm videos. Watch your email for the links.
April Unit Study – Gumboot Dance
Our unit study for April is one of the dance forms from South Africa, gumboot dancing. Click HERE for more information.
Summer Registration Open
With the world in limbo, on-line registration for summer classes and camps is open but we have a new payment policy for summer programs. See below.
Frozen 2, Fairy Magic, Camp Cupcake, Princess, Paris, On Your Toes ballet camp and SING (the movie) jazz camp are all on our schedule. Info is HERE.
Change to Summer Registration: Pay When Session Opens
With the rapidly changing public health situation, we are no longer requiring payment to hold registration. We encourage parents to register NOW for summer programs. We will process payment only after these two conditions: 1) Finalization of summer schedule and 2) confirmation of registration.
Dance To Watch Online
Be Sure to “Like” Our Facebook Page
We often post things to Facebook that we do not email directly to you. Like our page so that it shows up in your feed. Don’t miss out!
“Four Things Parents Should Know In Choosing A Dance School” is a free publication of the Claire School of Dance. Click here to download the full brochure. Below you will find an abridged version.
For many parents, the world of dance is a mysterious place. Choosing a dance school, then, can be a uncertain process. BUT the four questions listed below can help parents find a qualified and competent dance teacher.
QUESTION ONE: What does the studio look like?
The most important aspect of a dance studio is the floor. NEVER dance on a concrete surface. Dance floors should be “floating,” a layer of air under the dance surface. The best studio floors have a vinyl covering called “marley.” Other aspects of the dance room to consider are light, ventilation, and space for everyone to move safely.
QUESTION TWO: Who is the teacher?
Dance classes should be taught by a highly trained, empathetic adult. The teacher should have years of training, a high degree of expertise, and both enthusiasm and patience.
QUESTION THREE: What is the teacher teaching?
Classes for preschool age children should focus on fundamentals of movement such as space, time, rhythm, and direction. They should NOT be at the barre or doing more than the simplest of ballet exercises. Beginning ballet students, ages 8 and up, will first learn alignment, holding parts of the body in proper relationship to one another. Turnout should be taught with regard to safety. More advanced students will learn more complicated steps and rhythms. It is important that proper alignment and physical strength are adequately developed before more advanced material is added to the students’ curriculum. Parents and teachers who rush training may compromise a child’s physical safety and any future career in dance.
QUESTION FOUR: How many students are in the class?
The ratio of students to the physical size of the classroom should permit full movement for each student. Class size, especially for beginning ballet students, should permit individual correction. Bad habits can be hard to break and can limit future progress. Finally, the age range of students should be linked to developmental stages. Generally speaking, the younger the child the smaller the age range should be. A three year old is different developmentally from a five year old.
By asking these and other questions, parents can distinguish between the good and the not-so-good schools. They can make a more informed choice.
Contessa Moore and Vivienne Roselius, students at the Claire School of Dance since they were three years old and pictured here in their new uniforms, are moving to Level 3 this year. The two girls began taking class twice a week last year, when they started Level 2. Their diligence and excellent attendance allowed them to complete Level 2 in one year instead of the usual two.
In addition to taking class twice a week last year, both Vivienne and Contessa have taken summer classes the past three years.
This commitment has resulted in a quantum leap forward in their technical abilities. Their mothers also report a notable increase in both self-confidence and self-discipline, a response echoed by the girls themselves.
This summer, the girls performed in Pillow Chair, the CSD 2016 dance video project in which Vivienne and Contessa are the sole performers.
We look forward to more performances from these two outstanding students.
Photo Session Schedule
Saturday, February 13th , 2016
We are thrilled to have Houston Family Magazine’s own photographer Alisa Murray back with us again this year. You can see her work at http://alisamurray.com/.
The photo shoot takes place at our Grace United studio (1245 Heights Blvd, the building with “Grace United” painted on the side). Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment in order to get your “fairy crown.” Fairy crowns must be left at the school after the photo shoot. Students will get a fairy crown to take home after the Parents’ Day Demonstration in May. Toddler, CM1 and CM2 should wear either black or soft colors such as pink or white. Please do not wear patterns or strong or vibrant colors. Preballet and up should wear their dress code uniforms.
All photos will be posted to a password-protected website. You choose the photos you want and place your order. Photos will be mailed to your home.
If you cannot make the class time, you are welcome to come anytime during the photo session for your individual photo.
|Teacher||Class (time)||Scheduled photo time|
|Ms Ashley/Linda||CM1 (Sat 9:30 a.m.)||9:30 a.m.|
|Miss Courtney||CM2/3 Sat 9:30 a.m.||9:45 a.m.|
|Miss Ashley/Linda||CM1 (Sat 10 a.m.)||10 a.m.|
|Miss Courtney||CM1 Sat 10:15||10: 15 a.m.|
|Miss Phoebe||Level 1 Sat 10||10:30 a.m.|
|Miss Courtney||CM3 (Sat 10:45 a.m.)||10:45 a.m.|
|Ms. Ashley/Linda||CM3 (Sat 10:45)||11 a.m.|
|Ms. Claire||CM3 Tues 4||11:15 a.m.|
|Miss Melissa||Preballet Sat 9:30||11:30 a.m.|
|Miss Melissa||Primary Sat 10:15||11:30 a.m.|
|Miss Melissa||Jazz Mon 6 pm||11:45 a.m.|
|Miss Courtney||Tap Sat 11:30||11:45 a.m.|
|Miss Phoebe||Primary Sat 11:15||noon|
|Miss Ashley/Linda||Preballet Sat 11:30||12:15 pm|
|Ms. Claire||Preballet Mon 4:15 pm||12:30 p.m.|
|Ms. Claire||Primary Tues 6 p.m.||12:45 p.m.|
|Ms. Claire||Primary Mon 5 pm||12:45 p.m.|
|Ms. Claire||Primary Wed 4:45||1p.m.|
|Ms. Claire||Level 2 Tues 4:45||1 p.m.|
|Ms. Claire||Level 2 Wed 6 p.m.||1:15 p.m.|
|Miss Katie||Hippity Hop Wed 4:45||1:15 p.m.|
|Miss Katie||Preballet Wed 6 pm||1:30 p.m.|
|Miss Katie||CM 3 Wed 4 pm||1:30 p.m.|
|Miss Phoebe||Level 1 Thurs 4:45||1:45 pm|
|Miss Phoebe||Level 1 Thurs 6 pm||1:45 pm|
|Miss Phoebe||Preballet Thur 4 pm||2 pm|
|Miss Ashley/Phoebe||CM 2 (Monday 4:30)||2 p.m.|
|Miss Ashley/Phoebe||CM 2/3 Tuesday 10 a.m.||2:15 p.m.|
|Miss Ashley/Phoebe||CM2/3 Mon 5:45 p.m.||2:15 p.m.|
|Miss Ashley/Phoebe||CM1 (Monday 9:30)||2:30 p.m.|
|Miss Ashley/Phoebe||CM1 Tuesday 9:30 a.m.||2:30 p.m.|
|Miss Ashley/Phoebe||CM1 Mon 4 p.m.||2:45 p.m.|
|Miss Ashley/Phoebe||CM1 Mon 5:45 p.m.||2:45 p.m.|
|Miss Cassandra||CM 2 Tues 4:30 pm||3:00 pm|
|Miss Cassandra||CM 2/3 Tues 6:15 pm||3:00 pm|
|Miss Cassandra||CM1 4 pm Tues||3:15 pm|
|Miss Cassandra||CM1 5:45 pm Tues||3: 15 pm|
Serianna Hixson, a student of the Claire School of Dance since she was four years old, has been accepted into the Ben Stevenson Academy of Dance at Houston Ballet, where she will begin classes in January 2016.
Serianna started taking creative movement classes with Ms. Claire at Country Day Montessori School. Serianna’s mother, Nicole Broyles, says she remembers that experience as a “sweet time, everything was about discovery.” Serianna’s dad, George Hixson, says “that was when Serianna first experienced dance and it stuck.” Serianna took a year of gymnastics and then returned to the Claire School of Dance, this time at the Heights locations, where she remained until this year.
Serianna, now a student at Johnson Middle School, says she always wanted to be a dancer. “My training here (at CSD) prepared me a lot for auditions. Broyles interjects, “She’s always gotten good advice here as well. One of her teachers, Jen Sommers, encouraged her to try out for Houston Ballet Academy, saying she probably wouldn’t make it, but that the experience of seeing the other dancers would put the work ahead of her into context.” Broyles continues, “It was good advice that prepared Serianna for the hard things ahead.”
Caroline Hamilton, one of Serianna’s classmates and now a student at the well-known ballet conservatory The Rock , was a role model. Just a little older than Serianna, Caroline set an example of the need to keep on working. “You have to work hard,” says Broyles, “in ballet the work ethic is fundamental and that’s true in the work world as well. People in the performing arts are great at sticking to the work, regardless of rejection, and coming up with creative approaches.” Hixson, Serianna’s dad, echoes this sentiment, “A work ethic applies to life in general.”
All members of the Hixson family concurred that one of the important aspects of the Claire School of Dance was its focus on the individual and its supportive environment. “There’s a sheltering quality that comes from being a small school that gives the girls a certain self-confidence,” says dad Hixson. “Even if you don’t end up being a dancer, that sense of knowing yourself prepares you for whatever you pursue.”
Broyles chimes in, “That warm feeling of support, of community, of being challenging but comfortable is, I think, unique to the Claire School of Dance.”
Broyles also credits the dance program at Johnston for Serianna’s progress. “At Johnston, Serianna takes class every day. That has definitely made a difference. Then too the dance teacher at Johnston, Mr. Peters, is demanding. He makes the students take responsibility for their own development.” Broyles smiles. “Something all dance teachers have in common, I think.”
When asked for her strongest memory of CSD, Serianna says “getting a solo this year helped improve my focus because I could focus on my own dancing. I got a lot out of recitals too because you can see how much you’ve grown year to year. Performing gets you ready.”
Caroline Hamilton, long-time student at the Claire School of Dance, has been accepted into the The Rock’s year-round program. The Rock, a ballet conservatory in Philadelphia, is perhaps best known for training Michaela DePrince, an award winning contestant of the Youth America Grand Prix in 2011 and subject of First Position, a documentary on the Grand Prix competition.
Caroline studied at the Claire School of Dance for ten years, starting when she was four years old. Says Caroline, “I started dance because I wanted to be a ballerina. I enjoyed my classes. I had fun and teachers who were very nice. Then (at age 12) I went to my first Houston Ballet audition. It was an eye opener. I realized that not all students have the happy experience I had. That audition also made me realize how much work I had to do. It helped me find a ‘this is what I’m going to do’ focus.”
After two more years at the Claire School of Dance, Caroline spent an intense year at Houston’s Movement Lab, then began applying to schools outside Houston. “My past CSD teacher Amaris Sharatt gave me a list of schools to apply to, places that would be interested in me, a tall dancer.” Accepted into summer intensives at Alvin Ailey, ABT, and The Rock, Caroline made her decision based on several points. “I got a great family vibe from the Rock”, says Caroline. “They also give hands-on corrections, something I learned to appreciate about the Claire School of Dance. The teachers here (at CSD) want you to “get it” and they will work with you until you do.”
“I took my preparation for granted. My teachers at CSD went slow and made sure I learned to do things correctly. Miss Patty used to bring an anatomy book to class, to show us why we needed to do things a certain way.” Caroline mother, Martha Meyers, interjects “It’s one of the things about the Claire School of Dance that has always been important to me, that training here is appropriate to each student’s physical development. Caroline has never been seriously injured and the one time she had a minor sprained ankle, her teachers never forced her to “work through it.” Instead, they carefully rehabbed the ankle before allowing her to take class normally.”
Meyers continues, “It’s one of the things that kept me coming to the Claire School of Dance – all the teachers are such high calibre and they’re so amazing (in their commitment to the girls). They’ve gone to fit pointe shoes. They’ve taught the girls how to sew their ribbons. They’ve gone to auditions with the girls.”
Meyers didn’t start out with the idea that Caroline would become a professional dancer. “I wanted her to do something athletic,” she said. “What has been important to me, in addition to Caroline’s enjoyment, is that studying dance at CSD has taught Caroline how to work. That it’s not enough to just do a movement. You have to do it correctly and you have to do it correctly 4,000 times. It’s also taught her resilience. This is a hard industry. You’re going to get rejected a lot. It’s hard. There have been a lot of tears. You just have to keep trying.”
One of the things that Caroline treasures most about her time at the Claire School of Dance is the relationship between younger dancers and older ones. “I remember how I looked up to the older dancers and how open they were to us younger ones. I asked one of the older dancers to tell me about pointe shoes and then several years later I was the one telling a younger dancer about them. It’s a circle.”
Says Meyers, “My experience was that the older girls were so kind to the younger ones. That’s a culture that is carried on. There is a history of kindness of older students to younger ones that I think is special.”
Caroline offers a word of encouragement to younger dancers. “Definitely go for it. You’ll get great training at the Claire School. Take it seriously. You should make the most of this great opportunity.” She goes on, “One of the things I’ve learned as I’ve gone to class at other schools is that I’ve received great training. I’ve been blessed.”
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Claire School of Dance is Certified by the American Ballet Theatre