Growing up, the beginning of a new school year was a special time for me. I loved picking out my new backpack in the store, filling it with school supplies, and preparing for the new classes I would be taking — not only academics, but my dance classes, too. I would go shopping for new dance clothes and shoes and count down the days to the first class of the year. I cherish these memories and encourage children to try out a new extracurricular class or hobby this year. From fencing, skating, and gymnastics to sports, music, and theater, check out the following offerings:
Alexa Lane Performing Arts Studio
112 Main Street, Norwalk
The teaching philosophy at the studio focuses on developing well-trained performing artists in acting, voice, and dance. The acting program covers the skills needed to perform on stage and on-camera. Dance classes are designed to develop a strong classical dance technique. Vocal technique specializes in contemporary, pop, and musical theater.
Arena Gymnastics, Stamford
911 Hope Street, Stamford
Gymnastics at Arena is fun! Participation at any level has a positive effect on children’s self-esteem and builds their overall confidence. The very nature of gymnastics develops strength, flexibility, agility and coordination. The Arena has a low student to teacher ratio combined with 13,000 square feet of state-of-the-art equipment, including multiple trampolines and pits with gymnastics programs for kids of all ages.
Ballet Etudes Company
509 Westport Avenue, Norwalk
The Studio Ballet School is the training facility for the Ballet Etudes Company, and provides exceptional training and performance opportunities for its students. Under the direction of Nanette Vallas, The Studio continues to foster a community environment. Committed to individual excellence, The Studio faculty brings decades of experience and professionalism toward the training of its students. Classes include pre-ballet, advanced, pointe, and more.
1 Blachley Road, Stamford
Children should engage in sports as part of their extracurricular mix because they teach all sorts of lessons and life skills. Winning, losing, teamwork, practice, discipline, and listening to directions are all critical parts of sports beyond the fitness element. Chelsea Piers offers a comprehensive variety of classes, and a staff that values all the elements of sports beyond winning and losing, and the ability to grow through high school.
351 Post Road, Darien
Crescendo Music offers music lessons for all instruments and voice, ages 5 and up, with the area’s top accredited instructors for the beginner to the advanced student. Improvisation, sight reading, and music theory are taught to give students a complete understanding of their instrument. Crescendo Music also offers sales and rentals of instruments, accessories and sheet music and houses an in store repair shop for guitars, bass, woodwind, brass and electronics.
John Cutrone Drum Lessons
9 Frances Avenue, Norwalk
John Cutrone offers drum lessons and ensemble playing classes for all instruments. Drum lessons include the use of a Mac computer to give the students a sense of playing with other musicians; John teaches privately in Norwalk and Ridgefield. Students have been accepted into college music programs at schools including the New England Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, Wesleyan University, New York University, Columbia, Berklee College of Music, and SUNY Purchase.
Darien Arts Center
2 Renshaw Road, Darien
Parents looking to enroll their children in a class as a beginner, to spark their creativity, or simply to improve their talents will find an artistic home at the Darien Arts Center (DAC). With expanded course offerings, and many new instructors, DAC continues to foster educational and entertainment opportunities including live music, theater events and art exhibits for all ages. Programs and events involve both professional and amateur talent, which enriches and inspires the community.
Darien School of Dance
49 Old Kings Highway North, Darien
Darien School of Dance, founded by American Ballet Theater (ABT) certified teacher Brigita Fulton, offers a diverse classical dance curriculum geared to children age two to teen, and includes classes in ballet, pre-ballet, tap, jazz and mom & me. The school’s affiliation with ABT ensures artistic training with the basics of dancers’ health and child development.
2420 Post Road, Darien
The Darien YMCA is a registered 501c3 charitable organization that has been a vital part of the community for over 50 years. Over 10,000 individuals, families, and seniors are impacted annually by the organization’s programs, which promote healthy lives through the development of body, mind and spirit. Programs include youth sports, gymnastics and swim teams, special needs programs, an after-school childcare program, youth and adult fitness classes and training center, and the Holly Pond Nursery School.
Olympian Fencing Studio
388 Danbury Road, Wilton
According to Galya Pundyk, Olympian Fencing Studio owner and head sabre coach, fencing builds mental and physical agility, speed and endurance. “Of all high school sports, fencing has the highest NCAA participation rate, and all of the Ivy League schools have fencing programs, which can significantly help students gain entry into these extremely selective institutions,” she says. Each class at the studio is designed to teach fencing technique and tactics through activities, games, and exercises.
Silvermine School of Music
36 Comstock Hill Avenue, Norwalk
The Silvermine School of Music (SSOM) will enter its 80th season in 2019. The founder, Juliet Shaw, pianist/duo pianist/thereminist, moved to Fairfield County in 1939 and immediately became active in the musical community. The SSOM motto is, “The pursuit of excellence in piano performance,” and the school continues to strive for that goal, teaching young students, privately, and holding performing workshops for children as well as duo piano classes for adults. In addition to the teaching classes, SSOM hosts the Silvermine Artists Series, a professional series, annually.
Stamford Twin Rinks
1063 Hope Street, Stamford
At Stamford Twin Rinks, there are classes for all ages and skill levels at one of the largest U.S. figure skating Learn To Skate USA programs. Robert Rode, general manager, explains that anyone can skate. “It’s a lifelong skill that allows kids to socialize and create great friendships,” he says. Rode adds that skating teaches kids balance, patience, persistence, and confidence leading to personal growth.
Walter Schalk School of Dance
67 Drum Hill Road, Wilton
The motto at Walter Schalk School of Dance has always been: “Dancing and sports go hand in hand.” Kids dance one hour a week and are invited to perform in a holiday spectacular and a professionally produced spring revue. The school believes in well-rounded students and strives to foster a lifelong love of dance that results in poise, discipline, confidence, and joy.
Wilton Dance Studio
941 Danbury Road, Wilton
According to Brenda Froehlich, director, dance is a physical and social activity: “Dance lessons can help children improve their social skills and enable them to communicate better, learn teamwork, develop a greater sense of trust and cooperation and make new friends.” Wilton Dance Studio provides over 40 classes per week in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, hip-hop, competition teams, and more. The studio is home to Wilton’s original December Nutcracker ballet.