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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Ballet West Academy leaps into it summer programming – The Park Record

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The Peggy Bergmann Ballet West Academy wants to get young Park City-area kids moving and grooving throughout the summer.
The school, located at 2780 Rasmussen Rd., offers summer camps for ages 3 to 10, and the next sessions start on July 18 and Aug. 8, said the academy’s principal, Allison DeBona.
“Ballet West Academy has presented these types of camps in Salt Lake City for a few years, so it’s great to have the Park City campus included this summer to give kids another option for fun,” said DeBona, who retired this year as a Ballet West first soloist. “What Ballet West is trying to do is introduce kids who have not thought about dance to the ballet studio in ways that they can relate to. So these camps offer different themes to help kids learn about our environment in a fun way.”
The “Fantasy Camp: Superhero Academy” on July 18 is divided into two sessions and offered for ages 3-5 and 6-8. The sessions are held from 9:30 a.m.-noon, Mondays through Fridays from July 18-22.
“The goal for the number of students in each class is 12, and we cap out at 15,” DeBona said. “We’ll have two to three adults to manage the room, so each student will get individual attention, especially the younger ones.”
The next camp, “Build-a-Ballet: Little Mermaid,” runs from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Mondays through Fridays from Aug. 8-12 and will also be offered in two separate sessions for ages 5-6 and 7-10, according to DeBona.
“‘Build-a-Ballet’ is really cute because the kids can take on different duties behind the scenes — costumes, stage crew, choreographers,” she said. “It’s cool to give the kids authority to take on jobs and see how a production comes together.”
Registration for “Fantasy Camp” and “Build-a-Ballet” is now open by visiting academy.balletwest.org/summer-camp-22, and there is no deadline, DeBona said.
“We can take kids up until the first day of class,” she said.
All registrants should show up that first day ready to dance, DeBona said.
“We supply everything, but if there is something that the kids need to bring, the instructors will email the parents after registration,” she said.
In addition to the summer camps, the Peggy Bergmann Ballet West Academy will host an open house for potential school-year students from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8. 
“All families interested in sending their dancers to the Park City Academy can visit our studios on that date to see what we’re doing,” DeBona said. “The open house is also a welcome-back night for students who are currently enrolled. This is when they can come get their uniforms and see old friends.”
Placement classes will be available during the open house for students ages 11-18.
“We wanted to give dancers who may be interested in the school a chance to take ballet classes with me,” DeBona said. “Students looking to join any of our student division programs will have to take a placement class so we can make sure we place them in the right class. Since the programs run many hours a week, we want to make sure the kids are ready.”
In addition to the ballet classes, the open house will also offer a contemporary dance class taught by faculty member Kramer Snead, known for his work with Project Ballet and the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. 
“There will not be any placement classes for children looking to join any of our beginner-level programs,” DeBona said. “They and their parents can come check out the campus and register online.”
The open house will also give parents a feel for what the academy has to offer, according to DeBona.
“I have always said I want Park City to have a Ballet West school that is operating at the same caliber as the campus in downtown Salt Lake City,” she said. “I never want to see families feel like they have to drive down the canyon in order to get the best ballet training.”
In addition to DeBona and Snead, the Park City academy faculty includes DeBona’s husband, Rex Tilton, who spent 14 years as a Ballet West principal dancer.
Tilton and DeBona are also the co-owners, co-founders and artistic directors of artEmotion, a summer intensive choreography workshop.
“Many people know us as a duo with our work artEmotion,” DeBona said. “So, seeing us together at the school will be a familiar situation for some of our students.”
Other Peggy Bergmann Ballet West Academy faculty include Mary Ann Schaefer, a former dancer with the Indianapolis Ballet; DeBona’s brother Jordan DeBona, a Broadway actor, who will head up the Park City musical theater program; and Evelyn Cisneros-Legate, San Francisco Ballet’s prima-ballerina, the director of all the Ballet West academies in the state, who will come to Park City once a week for classes.
The focus of the academy is to ensure a world-class curriculum, DeBona said.
“There is a track for dancers who just want to have fun, and there is a track for those who see dance more seriously,” she said. “We want to make sure that these kids are improving from year to year.”
The academy will host college month in October for those who want to pursue dance in college or as a career, DeBona said.
“We are inviting representatives from three universities to visit us every weekend that month to talk about their programs,” she said. “We’re trying to elevate the training the kids can receive in Park City.”
DeBona also wants to provide a wholesome environment and allow academy students to dance as much as they can.
The academy will bring back its local “Nutcracker” suite and plan to present a contemporary showcase in the early winter months, she said.
“We will also do a spring show and dance some pop-up performances next year,” she said. “I want people to know we’re here, and I want them to know how dedicated I am in seeing the students get world-class instruction, whether they are super serious about dance or they are there just for fun.”

Peggy Bergman Ballet West Academy in Park City offers summer dance camps.
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