Dance studios are not created equal! Did you know that unfortunately, both opening a dance studio and teaching dance do not require any special licensing or certification? Your children are your most important investment, and they are your legacy, so as a parent, we encourage you to do your research and choose carefully.
Below you will find out why the Colby Center for Dance & Performing Arts has been the trusted choice and premier dance studio in the Maitland-Winter Park area for two decades.
Over the past twenty years of family ownership, we have become a part of the lives of nearly 2000 young dancers in Central Florida. We are certified by both Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America, and we specialize in young dancers ages 2.5-6 and offer classes combining Ballet, Tap, and Jazz in the morning, afternoon, evening, and even Saturday for these dancers. We also have classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Acrobatics for dancers age 7 and up. Although our classes and rehearsals are often informal, usually noisy, and ALWAYS FUN, we are very serious about helping each child become the absolute best dancer they can and want to be. Every child at the studio will learn that hard work produces achievement and will experience the genuine self-esteem that comes with accomplishment of difficult and challenging skills under the direction of a positive, encouraging, and professionally-trained teacher. We limit class sizes to emphasize personal attention to all students.
We value the opportunity to be part of each of our student's lives. Along with providing the best possible dance training for each student, we encourage positive traits such as high morale, high self esteem, self-pride, responsibility, self discipline, teamwork, concentration, perseverance, and most importantly... the realization that if they work hard, they can achieve. We believe that children are our future and our most precious resource. They should be exposed to high quality and excellence in all that they do, and should understand that success in anything lies in not always being the best, but in doing your best! We pride ourselves in bringing out the "very best" in each dancer.
We happily contribute to the development of not just good dancers, but of good citizens and caring people. We believe that when given the choice between excellence and mediocrity, students will choose excellence more times than not. We hope you will join us & become a part of our Dance Family! When you invest in dance at our school, you invest in your child’s total education. We believe that a dance education is a wonderful asset to every child from the one-hour per week recreational student to the aspiring professional dancer. Some wonderful skills that dance develops are motor skills and coordination, builds self-esteem and confidence, socialization skills and teamwork, self-discipline, self-pride and responsibility, encourages concentration skills and many other benefits that last a lifetime.
The main focus of our school is our Recreational Dance Program, which comprises 75% of our school, and has been in careful development since 1997. However, if your dancer's interest in dance grows, the other 25% of our school's students are members of one of our two well-known teams - the Colby Dance Showstoppers, which perform throughout Central Florida, and the Jennifer Colby Dancers, a more intensive dance program, whose students and alumni have performed and competed all over the world. This program is for those wishing to study all forms of dance, have competitive opportunities, and increase their knowledge of the dance industry in general. While many schools produce "Competition Teams," we like to say that our Jennifer Colby Dancers are a team of Dancers that also compete - meaning that while we do a few competitions each year, those are not our primary focus. Our goal is to develop dancers that are ready for the professional dance world upon graduation if they decide to pursue careers in dance - and that takes careful training that goes beyond your typical competition team activities. It is a very exciting, close-knit team of dancers, and we invite you to learn more about this ever-changing program!
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We are proud to be DIFFERENT than a typical dance studio! Here are a few things that make the Colby Center a very unique & special place to bring your child to be educated in the art of dance:
* Our convenient Maitland school is located in a beautiful, safe, private building at 540 South Maitland Avenue in the city’s Cultural Corridor. We are just across the street from the Maitland Civic Center, Lake Lily Park, and the Maitland Public Library. As safety and security are becoming even more of a concern in our lives every day, it is important to realize that typical dance studios operate in shopping center spaces where their students are exposed to unsafe traffic every time they attend class. Colby Center students are not exposed to any such traffic or passers-by, and our lobby, classrooms, and full exterior of the building are monitored by video security 24 hours a day. Observation is available through closed-circuit television in our private lobby, to limit the distractions that direct observation can cause to class progress. Passers-by cannot see into the dance studio, and we encourage our dance students to wear cover-ups when entering & exiting the building for their own safety.
* We have three dance rooms (the largest is 30' by 40') with appropriate raised "sprung" flooring and the latest sound equipment - plus a lobby, offices, workroom etc. We were the first studio in the area to install custom-built ladder/Swedish barres for advanced training, and have also made many other unparalleled investments into innovative equipment for Pilates and flexibility training. By the end of the 2017 season, our largest dance room will also be equipped with a full set of aerial apparatus, with the aerial silks already rigged at this time.
* We are well-known in the industry for being one of the most organized dance studios in the U.S., as well as having achieved an unsurpassed level of convenience for our busy dance families. Our dance families do not have to drive around to find dance wear, shoes and tights, they do not need to find their own music editors or costume designers, and they don't ever drive to fittings or pick up a needle and thread to alter or mend a costume. They can relax in the audience at Recitals and competitions knowing their children are supervised, cared for and prepared backstage, leaving them calm to enjoy the performances their children have worked so hard on. We also transport all costumes, accessories, props, and music to all competitions for our JCD team, which is unheard of in the industry.
* Dance education at our studio does not stop at actual dance technique. We have spent two decades developing a finely-tuned method of preparing dancers at appropriate age levels for professional work, college interviews, auditions, public speaking, choreography, and more, while also developing a knowledge of music theory, dance history, and dance-related fitness and notation.
* Our school uses state-of-the-art technology and equipment to provide our students with educational opportunities through videos and several private study websites for our team members.
* Our Studio Director qualified by examination for membership & certification in both Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America in 1998, and travels several times a year to teach, judge or choreograph for other dance studios, national organizations, or professional shows. She also owns and operates a custom costume design & construction company, Legacy Designs.
* We emphasize age-appropriate curriculum, costumes, and choreography taught by a trained, experienced, and certified staff. All Colby Center instructors work under the curriculum developed by our director which fits the guidelines set forth by both Dance Masters and Dance Educators of America. This ensures consistent terminology and class structure for every student at our school.
* We are strong in ALL forms of dance from Ballet to Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, and Hip Hop. Our advanced dancers in the intensive/JCD program are also introduced at individually appropriate times to Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary, Stretch & Strength, Pilates-based Training, Musical Theatre and Pointe.
* Graduates of the JCD Competition Team are teaching dance, performing on college dance teams/companies, pursuing college degrees in the arts, and dancing professionally on cruise ships, for Disney in Florida and Japan, and in Las Vegas.
* In 2004, we were named one of America’s Top 50 Dance Schools by the two leading national publications in our field, Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit. We were very honored to be the first school selected from the hundreds in Central Florida and have been on the Dance Teacher / Dance Spirit honor roll ever since.
* Over the years, our JCD Competition Team has won more regional and national championships than we can even remember at dance competitions that place priority on proper technique, age appropriate material, scholarship awards, and membership certification (competitions are not created equal either)! Each time, we return to the studio more motivated than ever to produce beautiful, exciting and technically proficient works of art, and to keep our focus on EDUCATION, and LONG TERM GOALS despite the successes of today!