By Lucy Knight Andre
My mother was a dancer, and I was fed a steady diet of classical ballet growing up. I always looked at jazz, tap, character, and modern as necessary additions to my dance education, not as the main course. I loved being a ballerina, and even all these years later, nothing compares to the feeling of dancing. Ballet is in my blood, and when I had just one daughter, I was absolutely thrilled that she felt the same way. As much as I love watching my boys play endless sports, ballet was the sanctuary in the storm for both Amy and me.
From the moment she was born, I planned for the day when Amy would start ballet. Of course, it was important for me to choose the perfect ballet school. When she began demanding ballet lessons, I shamelessly used it as a bribe for toilet training. I had to follow through on my promise when she was not yet three, and I was ready. I had done my research and I knew exactly who to call. I knew of Bountiful School of Ballet growing up; several of my friends from Nutcracker and the old Fortuna School (William Christensen’s first ballet academy, and the precursor to what is now the Ballet West Academy) were students at BSOB. In the old days, several ballet schools got together to do summer workshops and training, so I had actually taken classes from Kate and Sandra before. I knew it would be a great place for my budding ballerina, but I had no idea the impact of that decision.
The day we walked into BSOB changed our lives. Amy spent sixteen years dancing there, and it became her second home.The teachers, students, and parents became family to us. Even after she graduated, when Amy came back to Salt Lake for college breaks, she made time to teach at BSOB, even if it was during her lunch break while doing summer internships. I could go on for hours about the camaraderie and support we both found there, about how they convinced me to teach a class or two — and stuck with me when I took them up on their offer — but that’s a subject for another day. I have been asked several times if we ever thought of moving Amy somewhere else, and the answer is a resounding no. And today, I wanted to share the reasons why.
I know there are a lot of good studios out there, but in my opinion, BSOB is a very special place. For those of you wondering what makes them unique, I would say the following:
1. They don’t cave into pressure to become something they are not. With all the competition studios cropping up, they have steadfastly and unapologetically stayed true to what they have done well for more than 40 years: teaching the foundations of classical ballet.
2. The teachers are not just experienced dancers, but trained teachers. They understand growing bodies, and they are careful to do what they can to prevent injury and promote health in their dancers. Ballet is a long exercise in patience and commitment to hard work, and the BSOB teachers have both in abundance.
3. It is clear the owners and teachers of BSOB are there because they love their students and they love ballet. Their philosophy is to provide quality instruction at an affordable price. Costs are low, recitals are free of charge, there are no hidden fees, and you’ll never be hit up for a fundraiser.
4. The development of the dancers is always a top priority. The teachers encourage and mentor students inside and outside of the studio. They promote outside opportunities to perform and support students who take advantage of those opportunities. They are not competitive or jealous; they know that love, loyalty and encouragement will reap the greatest rewards for all involved.
5. They teach life skills along with technique. Professionalism, punctuality, teamwork, patience, dependability, work ethic, and attention to detail are just some of the things dancers learn while at BSOB.
Choosing a style of dance and a studio is an intensely personal choice. When parents ask me where they should take their children, I always remind them that they need to do what is best for their child. However, one thing I know from a lifetime of dancing and teaching is that you can’t go wrong with Bountiful School of Ballet!