Southern California Ballet's Expanding Programs Foster Diversity in Dance


92128 Magazine

by Lainey Kral

Southern California Ballet is focused on education, enrichment, and opportunities for growth, from the academy – which offers daily classes for ages three and up – to the company – which is by invitation and involves 15 hours of rehearsal each week and three annual productions. “As a nonprofit, our focus includes enhancing the community we serve,” explained Executive Director Kate Hirsh. This holds true for aspiring dancers and delighted audiences alike.

“Foremost at SCB is the best ballet training possible,” Kate said. “But nowadays, dancers must be versatile in many genres of dance, so we’ve added more variety beyond ballet.” In addition to Cecchetti curriculum ballet, creative and freestyle ballet, and pas de deux, the studio also offers modern, jazz, character, hip-hop, tap, and Broadway singing. As one mother shared on Yelp, “I love that when I pick up my kids from the studio, they are always happy. They love and respect their teachers and have fun while learning excellent technique.”

Classes are open to all ages, and Kate shared, “One of our most appreciated and best-kept secrets is our adult ballet and tap classes. We have daytime ballet on Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. and evening classes for ballet and tap.” The studio is also proud of its growing boys’ program, with free and reduced tuition opening opportunities for male students to discover the art of dance.

The company is already hard at work preparing for its 2016 presentation of The Nutcracker. This year, SCB celebrates its 25th year showcasing the beloved holiday favorite. “We have engaged Martha Leebolt, a graduate of SCB, and her dance partner Tobias Batley to restage the second act as well as rehearse and train dancers of the academy,” Kate said. “Martha and Toby are world-renowned dancers, have worked with top international choreographers, have won numerous dance awards, and are now guest artists performing throughout Europe.” This year’s The Nutcracker will also include new costumes for the youngest dancers – the rosebuds and butterflies in “The Waltz of the Flowers.”

SCB’s mission of community enrichment continues with The Nutcracker performances especially for local schoolchildren and seniors. Visit the SCB website to learn more and reserve tickets.