Lots of little girls dream of becoming a ballerina one day, but few actually make that dream a reality. When Heather Wysong and Laurel Tennant met over 15 years ago in a Northern California Ballet class, they had no idea that their quick friendship and mutual passion for dance would lead them down this very road.
Natural talent and years of training promised bright futures and solidified their dedication to their field. Professional contract offers from major ballet companies such as Ballet West and the Kirov Academy of Ballet soon followed. Their dancing contracts gradually transitioned into teaching careers at dance studios across the country, including Boston Ballet which boasts the largest ballet school in the United States. Both women are recognized for their skill, artistry, and ability to connect with children, and are certified instructors in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
As of September 21st, their next venture was launching North State Ballet, Chico’s newest dance facility focusing on classical ballet. The freshly built interior features brand new, state of the art flooring, barres, and mirrors in each of the large studios. The curriculum is intentionally devised, from the number of classes required per week to the uniform each student wears. In the Children’s Program, for example, the attached skirt on the leotard is specifically designed to develop the necessary muscle memory for proper arm and hand positions.
With classes available for children ages two through adult, NSB offers a program featuring a comprehensive syllabus and graded level system integrated with performance opportunities.
“This will allow us to not only create technically superb dancers, but also to instill a passion for expressing artistry, movement, and an appreciation for the artform,” says Laurel. “Our goal is to nurture and validate each student’s unique potential in an environment that is caring and supportive, allowing them to take the lessons they learn inside the studio and apply them into the rest of their lives.”
Supplementary classes including lyrical, contemporary ballet, dancer conditioning, and theatrical fencing are also available to students enrolled in their program.
“Ballet is the root of all dance forms. It supplies a foundation of grace, alignment, flexibility, and control that is utilized in all other movement,” explains Heather. “The changes and expectations within the professional ballet world demand versatile dancers who are able to adapt easily into contemporary or classical works as needed. We are so grateful to have Gabrielle Chaplin on staff to provide our ballet students with this enrichment training. Her 23 years of teaching experience in these genres combined with her developmental child psychology background is an ideal fit.”
Additionally, NSB is the only studio in Chico to provide a ballet class geared specifically toward boys who have a desire to learn the art form, as well as boys who wish to benefit their athletic endeavors with increased balance, coordination, flexibility, and muscle control.
Small class sizes promise attentive teacher-student interaction and hands-on instruction based on developmentally appropriate goals. Furthermore, the studio is located in south Chico, making it easily accessible to families from the various surrounding communities.
Colleagues and parents of students who have trained under Heather and Laurel in the past rave about their experience. Jodi Baird states that, “Their strength in technical training is rivaled only by their integrity, consistency, and nurturing of the whole child. They teach more than dance; they teach life lessons that enable children to grow and thrive.” Tina Rosenquist claims that, “There is truly no comparison to what Heather and Laurel bring to their students.” Numerous other parents, colleagues, and students give similar glowing reviews which are available on the Testimonies page of their website.
Whether you are seeking a future career in classical ballet or are simply trying out a class for fun, Heather and Laurel promise to provide a solid foundation in a joyful atmosphere.
For more information or to register for this program, visit their website at www.northstateballet.com, or call them at (530) 774-2364. Be sure to also find them at the upcoming Christmas Preview, where they promise an experience where imagine and creativity come to life.