A unique class in SoHO
“DANCE TRAINING for the Soccer Boys”
WHERE can you find an exuberant group of young dancers intently leaping, spinning, stretching, AND doing plies, tendus and batements - in a big airy downtown ballet studio– discovering ways they can better coordinate their jumps, kicks, balances and dodges on the playing field? "BALLET FOR SOCCER BOYS” was created as an 8-class series vocabulary building offered Tuesdays at 5:30-6:30pm Rebecca Kelly Ballet studio on Broadway in SoHo. It is a serious beginning class for motivated boys, ages 9-12+, who have the interest and want the advantage to "cross-train" between sports seasons. But it also provides an accessible entry point for boys who may just want to try ballet.
“What is important for this group is motivation, curiosity, focus, and simply the desire to improve coordination and own more efficient movement skills“, says instructor Rebecca Kelly. "The idea all started with two younger brothers of two former ballet students in our youth program. They had been asking for a class for some time." Two years later the program launched in January of 2016. It now runs in two 8-week sessions from January to mid-May. Classes are small and productive and there is already a waiting list for 2017.
Dance is good for many things – speed, endurance, health, concentration, and the grace underlying high-level athletic prowess. “When the student is helped to "understand" that someone is always the youngest or oldest, the shortest or tallest, stiffest or newest, but that everyone can work hard and enjoy their own - and value each other’s - progress, that young athlete/ dancer thrives.” It’s also seriously good fun. But like all sports training, it takes time for some of the new knowledge to percolate. Some results are immediately obvious. Other benefits will turn up in action next fall when that student is back on the playing field.
What are the advantages of studying dance? Students are taught proper alignment, healthy muscle use and injury prevention through example, experimentation, feedback, challenges, and monitored progression in a dynamic but disciplined environment, designed to investigate why and how they can balance better, jump higher, land softly, and run faster. This experience through dance extends into and supports the skills athletes need to excel. “Students are encouraged to own their knowledge and take it with them,” says Rebecca Kelly.
Can the study of dance take you from bench warmer to starter? Kelly thinks so. “You only get better.” Rebecca Kelly is a choreographer, who directs Rebecca Kelly Ballet (RKB) founded in 1979, one of the last dance companies still operating in SoHo. While her main focus has been the creation of over 80 original contemporary ballets, with 30 years of teaching urban and rural youth as well, from New York City to the Adirondacks, she has had plenty of opportunity to consider movement.
Cross-training is key. Her company is no stranger to sports. RKB’s dance intensive summer camp, ONSTAGE, is located each July at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, where her company has been Artists-in-Residence since 1987. This has brought her contact with many elite, as well as amateur and recreational athletes. RKB has provided a “jump class” to world class ski jumpers to hone and compared methods in obtaining a powerful spring. She has choreographed for and taught “porte de bras” class (grace and ease in arm movements) to ice skaters. Rebecca Kelly Ballet has taught well over 1000 young people ages 7-17, the joys, the exuberance, and the prowess of dance.
Now she has turned her focus to young New York City soccer players – and who also do track, swim, karate, play piano, and more, and are very busy with school.