The new program for children and adolescents at Center de danse Areté involves trying out different forms of dance. The goal of the program, according to owner Kristina Mola Kuvshynov, is to train a well-rounded young dancer by offering a variety of dance styles ranging from ballroom to ballet.
Los Altos-based Areté previously only offered dance lessons for adults, but that changed soon after a space became available next to the Mola Kuvshynov studio at 979 Fremont Ave. at Loyola Corners. She said it was the perfect opportunity to establish a youth program, so she developed the business.
“I felt really anxious to try and grow during COVID, but it seemed like it was the right move for the studio as a whole,” said Mola Kuvshynov, who launched the new program in August.
Already teaching adult classes at the studio, Alejandra Serrano was delighted to also become a ballet teacher for children and adolescents.
“I thought adding kids to our studio would definitely make it a lot more fun,” Serrano said. “I was very excited.”
The youth program offers two main routes: ballroom and ballet. Ballroom classes for grades K-3 and 4-8, respectively, are offered Tuesday and Thursday afternoons; ballet lessons for 8-15 year olds take place on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Ballet can complement the ballroom track and no previous experience is required.
“We encourage the kids who are in the ballet to do the ballroom and the kids who are in the ballroom to do the ballet so they can benefit from the best and grow as dancers,” Serrano said, “because these two dance styles are similar in terms of skills like posture, strength, musicality, and flexibility.
In addition, the studio offers creative and contemporary movement classes during the week, as well as workshops with a different theme each month, including musical theater, jazz, salsa, hip-hop, flamenco, dance. Ukrainian folk dance and polka.
“We decided to incorporate workshops as a way to allow children to experience different dance forms and styles, and to support artistic growth,” Serrano said. “It’s also a fun, social and creative way for kids to spend Friday afternoons doing something different. “
According to Serrano, one of the reasons behind offering a wide variety of dance styles to children was that the styles “complemented” each other.
For example, Serrano said she trained in classical and contemporary ballet throughout her youth. When she started ballroom dancing two years ago, she found that her knowledge of ballet had greatly helped her understand ballroom dancing.
“Ballroom also helped me understand ballet skills from a different perspective,” she added. “I would like children to be exposed to these different styles that complement each other early on, so that they can develop into dancers who understand the healthy and fundamental ways of moving.”
Mola Kuvshynov stressed the importance of “natural and organic movements in explaining the mechanics of the body”.
“Especially at a young age, a dancer doesn’t know how he wants to use his dance, or his body, in the future,” she said. “A truly pure training in biomechanics will create a solid foundation for a
a lifetime of healthy motor skills, whether they stick to dancing, practicing martial arts, or becoming a firefighter.
The youth program caught the attention of Daniel Reouk, a Los Altos resident looking for a beginner’s ballet program for his daughter, Lea. The 6-year-old had been interested in ballet for some time, he said, and they chose the Areté program because of its proximity and Serrano’s teaching.
“(Serrano) seems to have a very sweet and pleasant personality, and I have very good vibes in my daily communication with her,” Reouk said. “She seems to take care of Leah and she wants to see her grow up.”
Léa takes the ballet class on Monday and the contemporary class on Friday. Reouk said he appreciated Serrano’s willingness to adjust his lessons for Lea as the program is designed for ages 8 to 15.
“I think (Serrano) likes Lea, and Lea likes her a lot too,” Reouk said. “(Lea) loves working with her and she always wants to go; she is very excited about the class.
In the near future, Mola Kuvshynov hopes Arete will increase what she has called her “community presence” for the children’s program. Ultimately, Mola Kuvshynov envisions a children’s and teenage performance group representing the studio and serving the Los Altos community.
As for Serrano, his goal as an instructor for the program is to create “a specific place for kids to make it their hobby or their passion, or whatever they want to do,” she said. declared.
“I believe our classes are fun and (create) a healthy mindset for the kids,” added Serrano, “because the kids are so young and it’s important for you to make it as fun as possible.”
Areté demands that students wear masks and Mola Kuvshynov said the equipment is cleaned between lessons.
For more information about the studio and its classes, visit aretedancecenter.com/kids.