Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Teachers

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Amy Hoggard

Amy began dancing when she was 6 years old; first taking classes at her neighborhood studios and then with the modern dance company at her high school. Amy had the amazing opportunity to spend a summer in New York City with her high school dance company. While there she took classes from the Martha Graham Studio, the Nikolai Lewis Studio, and the Merce Cunningham Studio. After high school, Amy spent three years studying dance at Utah Valley State College and performing in the dance company Syrnergy. She has also taken several classes and workshops offered at RDT, UVU and BYU since attending college. Amy has had many opportunities to choreograph; some of which have been for local elementary schools and community groups. Besides dancing, Amy enjoys spending time with her husband and four children.

Sarah Pecht
Ballet/Jazz /Lyrical/Contemporary

Sarah has been dancing since she was three years old. She has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Character, Hip Hop, Tumbling and Modern. She has studied at the Christiansen School of Dance, Utah Dance Center, BYU Summer Ballet Intensives, Ballet West Conservatory, and Southern Utah University. She received a Bachelor’s degree from SUU in Dance Education and Health Education with a Secondary Licensure in the spring of 2008.
Sarah has had many opportunities to teach dance, something she is very grateful for. While attending SUU she was able to be a part of the faculty at OnStage Dance Studio in Cedar City, Utah as the head Ballet instructor. She has had the incredible opportunity to teach at Thomas Jefferson Jr. High School in the Granite School District as a full-time Dance Teacher overseeing the Dance I and II classes in addition to the JJHS Dance Company. She will be starting her 3rd year there this fall. Sarah has choreographed many routines and solos for companies and studios throughout the state of Utah. She is so excited to be starting her 2nd year at Wasatch Arts Center. She loves the atmosphere, faculty, and most of all the students. She is so thrilled to work with these students to help them expand their knowledge, ability, technique, love and enjoyment of dance!

Brenna Kennedy

Brenna grew up in Utah where she started her training at Academy of Ballet Arts, then continued her dance education with Ballet West Academy where she was given many opportunities; including workshops with The State Ballet School of Berlin and contracts as an aspirant with Ballet West. Other training includes programs with Aspen Ballet, Long Beach Ballet, and City Ballet of San Diego. She received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the Ballet Department at the University of Utah.

Ariel Stephan
Jazz and Contemporary
Ariel has been dancing since age three with the BYU Children’s Creative Dance Program where she learned the techniques of Virginia Tanner and became learned in various modern techniques. She had many opportunities to perform yearly including a performance in Light of the World, in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. She continued her education with the Children’s Dance program until high school where she joined the drill team and dance company. After high school she went on to Southern Utah University. She trained in modern and ballet and also completed courses in creative movement for children, improvisation, dance composition, American character ballet and principles of choreography. She was given the opportunity to perform and choreograph in various student concerts and faculty concerts. She has also worked with various artists including Peter Chu, Susan Hadley, Joanie Smith from Shapiro and Smith Company. Ariel also attended the American College Dance Festival for three years and performed in the Gala. Her piece D’Press was selected for ACDF and was performed in the Gala. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a BS in Dance Performance. She was the assistant drill team coach for Pleasant Grove High School. Ariel continues to dance professional and teach.

Monday, August 15, 2011

About Us -Wasatch Arts Center

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We offer Professional and University Trained Instructors 

Emphasis on Technique- No Stressful Dance Competitions!

Modest Costumes, Music, and Choreography

Desk staff available during most class times to assist you

Our philosophy is to demand of each student the very best effort of which he or she is capable, and to give in return the care and attention the student deserves.  All can experience the joy of dance and the benefits of disciplining the mind and body that this art form requires.  Our primary goal is for the development of our students, their dance, music, or preschool education, and the enrichment that comes from studying the Arts.  Our family oriented, positive atmosphere builds self-esteem and the love of this cherished art form.

Classical ballet provides the foundation for all other dance forms.  It is the most demanding, most disciplined of all dance forms; but also the most rewarding.  With a solid ballet foundation, classically trained dancers can transfer their skills into jazz, modern dance or any other dance discipline they might decide to pursue.  Our program is specially designed to provide an increasing variety of special classes to make greater demands on the student with each year of study.  Besides Ballet, our curriculum includes classes in Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, and Musical Theatre. 

We Believe in Technique
Technique can hold back the most artistic dancer, musician, or actor or give him/her greater expression.  Because the basic steps of build from simpler to more complex, a problem of technique in one area will be magnified in other areas.  That's why learning the basic technique perfectly is so important.  With the proper instruction, virtually any child can learn proper technique and perform beautifully.  The training of muscles and mind must start early.  Building discipline, developing strength and stamina, achieving grace in movement is the work of years of study; a process that really never ends. 

We Believe Students Should Perform
The point of studying the Arts is to perform!  Performing gives students the confidence they need to succeed in a professional career of any kind.  Stage experience is available to all performers throughout their training at our year end showcase, enabling them to develop confidence, poise and stage manners.  The annual June performance involves all students studying at our school.  We believe that there's more to life than trophies, and that performances (rather than competitions) provide the best benefit for young dancers.

We Believe in You...The Individual
Every child benefits from quality dance or music training, even though he or she ultimately may choose another career path.  In Performing Arts, children learn the cooperative teamwork necessary to produce a high quality work of art.  They develop creative thinking skills and the ability to push themselves to higher achievements.  They learn an immense amount about music and rhythm and are introduced to the French language through ballet and dance terminology.  These skills will enhance your child's academic performance as well as their physical well being.  Self-confidence and self-esteem continue to develop as a young person conquers new movements and grows more certain of his or her ability to apply themselves, work hard and master any task placed before them.  Growing through this artistic process helps a child find the pathway to personal integrity and self assured adulthood.  He or she enters society with the ability to do well at whatever life places in  front of them; and with the ability to maintain the uncompromising high standards absorbed by their training at the Wasatch Arts Center.

We Believe in Quality Teaching
Quality teaching pays close attention to your child's artistic development.  But of equal importance, quality teaching pays close attention to your child's health and safety, as well as their physical and emotional well-being.  The Wasatch Arts Center  is committed to offering the finest in performing arts education available in a fun and supportive environment.  All classes are taught by our professional, university trained faculty. 

Many teachers can pass along steps, but a truly experienced, professional teacher can guide a young performer through the gradual process of carefully and individually training their body; helping them not only achieve the unmistakable look of a ballerina, with long lean lines, but also an instrument that is technically strong, allowing freedom of movement and the capability of executing even the most rigorous exercises with grace and style. A good teacher also understands the honor and etiquette of the art, which must be preserved and continued through new generations and will lend insight from their own professional experience.

We believe that in building the students self-esteem, we will not only enable them to take chances and reach higher goals, but we can help build strong confident people who will excel in everyday life. We have a strong system of values at the Wasatch Arts Center and insist that our students respect and praise each other. When students give so much of themselves, doing what they love, it is comforting and meaningful to know that we are all among friends. Our goal is to utilize our experience and instincts to make a positive difference; never sacrificing our standards. We welcome enthusiastic families who would like to experience and benefit from the traditions of fine training in a nurturing environment.

We Believe in High Expectations and Hard Work
We deeply care about all of our students and want them to do their very best.  That is why we demand a lot from them.  The Wasatch Arts Center endeavors to help each student enjoy, cherish and treasure  the hours devoted to their training encouraging them to love the arts for the sheer pleasure and sense of artistic fulfillment, rather than only for a sense of technical accomplishment.  At the Wasatch Arts Center, we aim to instill a love of all art forms, so that one day our students will have a greater appreciation either as an artist or patron. 

Finally, We Believe in Making our Performing Arts Training FUN and ENJOYABLE!
Our instructors take great time and care to plan lessons for our students that are not only educational and challenging but FUN!  We believe the only way to encourage students to continue their dance, music, or preschool study is to make every moment, whether classroom instruction or performance based, highly memorable. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

F.A.Q. for Wasatch Arts Center

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Frequently Asked Questions F.A.Q.


If most dance studios seem to have friendly teachers, experience teaching children, and a big show at the end of the year, arent they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter at which place you decide to enroll? Yes!  There are four main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction your child receives, and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved with a dance program. Here are four things that every parent should consider before deciding on a dance studio for their child.


If you have attended a dance recital in recent years, you may have been surprised to see the costumes many of the students are wearing.  It seems that things have become a little out of control, and that dancers costumes are leaving little to the imagination.  Not only are the costumes inappropriate, but some of the song lyrics and choreography can make anyone feel a little uncomfortable.  At the Wasatch Arts Center we take this issue very seriously.  Our students dress modestly and appropriately for classes and performances.  It is very important to us that children not be asked to grow up too quickly, but that they feel comfortable in what they are wearing.  Students who are nurtured in a modest, wholesome environment will be able to excel in their field without any unnecessary pressures.


Many studios hire current high school students to teach many of their classes in Utah dance studios.  These instructors likely have not received the necessary training in order to effectively teach in a professional manner.  All of our instructors have college level training and/or professional experience. Our staff understands and accommodates many different learning styles in the classroom in order to best fit the needs of each individual dancer.


A proper dance floor is critical in the healthy development of young dancers.  A floor should have a certain amount of spring to it in order to protect a students joints and growth plates.  A sprung floor also helps reduce fatigue so that dancers can dance longer while better avoiding injury.  The Wasatch Arts Center provides a professional sprung dance floor for its students.  The floor consists of two layers of wood which float on top of over 4000 foam blocks. It is then covered with a marley type flooring which provides a controlled slip surface perfect for dancing.  This is the same type of floor used by many professional Utah dance companies, including Ballet West, Royal Academy of Dance in London, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.


A very important aspect of a dance education is to show what you have learned in a performance atmosphere.  The opportunity to perform in front of an audience can be an excellent tool in building self-esteem in young dancers.  Performance opportunities should be provided for students so that they are able to have an artistic and professional experience.  On the other hand, competitions may not always be the best atmosphere in which to nurture this artistic quality in dancers.  Performing in a sports type environment for a panel of judges distracts from the performance of a classically and professionally trained dancer.  Students at the Wasatch Arts Center participate in a year end showcase performance each June. Students are provided with a professional performance experience in a theater setting.  Students spend much of their classroom time focused on proper technique and then are provided with an outstanding choreographic experience.  Students at the center do not participate in any type of competitions.  The Wasatch Arts Center is home to two performing groups which are given additional performance opportunities in the local community. We believe strongly that dance should be preserved as an art form, not to be displayed in a competitive environment. -

-Wasatch Arts Center

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