Welcome to the Barbara Ellis Studio of Dance. We’ve been serving dancers of all ages in Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas for over 40 years. With a solid history in providing quality instruction, we’re proud to offer classes in tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and musical theater. With beginner classes starting for dancers as young as three… all the way up to an established and thriving adult program… BESD offers a warm and friendly environment where students can thrive. Listed are the classes offered at the studio on a weekly basis.
Ballet is a classical form of dance that dates back to the 17th century, but its timeless style of expressive movement has something to offer everyone. Whether you want to try ballet for pleasure or are more interested in becoming a serious-minded ballerina, BESD offers a variety of classes for all skill levels and ages.
While Ballet can be focused on and mastered as a dance form by itself, it also provides the building blocks, form and technique in order to succeed in all other forms of dance. You will learn and develop overall strength, poise and coordination as well as the foundations of balance, good posture, expression and flexibility.
Beauty, flow and elegance are inherent in the elements of ballet. Classes focus on overall body alignment and awareness with emphasis on proper usage of feet and legs and execution of turnout. Carriage and usage of the upper torso and arms is also stressed. Traditional barre work, center work and combinations are included in all classes.
Dancing “en Pointe,” or on Pointe, is a major goal in a ballerina’s dance life. However, dancing on Pointe, or on your toes, requires tremendous strength of the legs and feet as well as proper form, strength and alignment before making the transition. Students must meet teacher requirements and have approval before starting Pointe classes.
Tap focuses on rhythms and intricate footwork – creating a percussion instrument out of the dancer’s feet. Classes at BESD emphasize the development and strengthening of basic tap technique and terminology while incorporating the importance of rhythm and sound.
Beginning tap classes focus on learning single tap steps with clean and clear execution, as dancers progress, the steps are then combined into a series of combinations that compliment various styles of music. Just like Jazz vocalists who add rhythms to music by scatting, tappers do it by “scatting” with their feet. The difficulty of the steps coincides with the skill level of the class.
Students at BESD are generally taught “classical tap” or Broadway tap where the dancer’s arms and upper bodies are also utilized in order to blend movements of ballet or jazz into the tap routines. It can be a lighter-sounding version of tap with an emphasis on various levels of tone.
The “rhythm tap” classes offered at BESD tend to be a heavier or harder-hitting form of tap than Broadway tap, and the sounds are made not only with the bottom of the shoe, but also with the back, sides, and tips. Rhythm tap is a broad category that encompasses the hoofing styles of current stars such as Savion Glover and the late Gregory Hines.
Since tap dancing is a vigorous form of dance that requires physical fitness, many kids as well as adults like to tap dance for fun and exercise since it builds aerobic fitness as well as muscle control.
All “Combo” and “Ensemble” classes include tap instruction.
Jazz is an exciting and ever evolving dance form full of rhythm, syncopation, passion and life. It’s an essential part of musical theatre choreography and can be seen in dance competitions, music videos, and on television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance.
Jazz can be powerful and percussive, expressive and lyrical, or specific and stylized. The basic fundamentals taught in ballet are built upon and utilized to teach quality of movement and technique across the various forms of jazz dance styles. Classes explore body isolations of the head, shoulders, ribcage, feet and arms and focus on fluidity and proper execution of steps.
Classes at BESD teach basic-to-advanced jazz dance techniques and terminology with emphasis on jazz isolations, rhythms and performance.
This fun and entertaining class encompasses the wide spectrum of productions that are Musical Theatre. Shows like Grease, My Fair Lady, Chicago, and The Lion King are examples of diverse styles, but they’re all embraced under the title of Musical Theater.
This form of dance focuses on theatrical performance – stimulating artistic ability through dance movement, improvisation and interpretation of music. The use of hand props, make up and much more – it provides all the ‘must have’ qualities for today’s amateur and professional dancer.
Whether you want to tone your muscles, rehabilitate from an injury, or train for an athletic event, a Pilates Mat class will safely guide you in that direction. The Pilates Method helps to lengthen and strengthen muscles while building a uniformly developed body. Pilates focuses on core strength – abdominals, gluts, inner thighs – and practices moving from the “inside out.” It helps with posture, body alignment, control, balance, flow and strength.
Students gain a kinesthetic awareness of their own bodies so that they can integrate the ideas learned in class into their daily lives.