A Love of Dance
Dance Styles Taught at Italia
From classical ballet to modern to jazz, we offer classes in the following styles at one or more of our northern Shenandoah Valley locations.
Cecchetti Classical Ballet
At Italia Performing Arts, we specialize in teaching classical ballet using the Cecchetti Method. Developed by Enrico Cecchetti, an Italian native who rose to prominence as a professional ballet dancer in the 1880’s, the Cecchetti Method provides a comprehensive approach that emphasizes flexibility, strength, musicality, artistry, and a complete understanding of the theory behind each movement.
Dancers trained in the Cecchetti manner are known for their well-balanced movements, fast footwork, and clean lines. A number of professional ballet schools have historically used the Cecchetti Method, and trained dancers can be found in companies and countries around the world.
Miss Lorenza is fully trained and certified to teach the Cecchetti Method of classical ballet. In her classes, she focuses on developing students’ dance technique and artistry, from which she builds performance skills.
Commonly referred to as “acro” by dancers and dance professionals, acrobatic dance combines classic dance techniques and the athleticism of acrobatics. Acro moves include balancing, limbering, tumbling, and partnering, and dancers must be skilled in flexibility, contortion, and strength. Acro performances are often characterized by unique choreography that requires dancers to seamlessly blend musicality, emotional expression, and acrobatic movements.
Acro is most well-known thanks to its success in the contemporary circus circuit (Cirque du Soleil) but has also seen a surge of popularity thanks to TV shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew, and Dance Moms.
It is an especially challenging style for dancers to master as training is required in both dance and acrobatic elements
Tap is a form of American percussive dance emphasizing rhythms produced by the feet while wearing shoes with a metal “tap” on the heel and toe. Since tap dancing produces an audible result that is part of the performance, it is considered both a musical form and a dance form.
Unlike ballet, where techniques were carefully captured and taught in academies, tap developed socially over hundreds of years as a unique, percussive expression of American jazz music. On and off-stage, steps were shared, stolen, and reinvented, eventually leading to tap dancing as we know it today.
At Italia, our tap classes are centered around rhythm and timing as we bring classic spice and technique to the dance floor.
Like tap dance, jazz dance blends both African and European dance styles. It is a high-energy dance with a level of liveliness that sets it apart from traditional dance forms, such as classical ballet.
Like jazz music, jazz dance features improvisation. This allows dancers to create a conversation between the music and their bodies while still being a structured, stage-style of dance.
Our jazz classes offer training in strength and flexibility while also developing balance, coordination, and musicality. Merging today’s and yesterday’s music styles, jazz provides an avenue for expression and passion through fluid and upbeat movement.
Lyrical & Modern Dance
Lyrical dance brings jazz and ballet techniques together to create a halfway point between the two genres. Dancers develop physical, spatial, mental, and emotional awareness while matching the mood and lyrics of the music. Skills such as balance, flexibility, and breath control are essential to lyrical dancers who want to improve their technique.
This style of dance is deeply connected to emotional expression. The more a dancer can channel his or her emotions and utilize them in the dance, the more the audience can feel the heart of the dancer. Without emotional backing, lyrical dance feels void and empty.
With deep roots in the Broadway musicals scene, musical theatre is an expressive form of performance that combines dance, spoken dialogue, singing, and acting. Musical theatre places a high focus on musical interpretation; through movement, facial expressions, and voice, dancers tell a story on stage.
In musical theatre classes, students learn the ins and outs of musical theatre, including terminology and types of shows, while training in performance skills, dance skills, and acting skills. At Italia, our teachers welcome students’ ideas and encourage them in improvisation and teamwork as they learn how to respond to the action of the story and the song.
Italia Special Programs
Looking for more? Our special programs provide training beyond our classical ballet and dance classes.
Italia Dance Company
Showcase your skills as part of Italia Dance Company! The Company prepares show dances for its members and presents them at a variety of dance competitions and local performance opportunities. Italia Dance Company is open to Italia Performing Arts students ages six to eighteen.
Joining the Company
Before joining, prospective Company members and their parents should understand and commit to the requirements of being a member.
- Skills: Members must maintain strong skills in a range of dance styles. Current students will be invited to join based on their skills and their commitment. Dancers new to Italia will be asked to audition before being eligible to join.
- Commitment: Being a Company member is like joining a select sports team. Company members must take at least three technique classes a week in addition to biweekly Company classes. (Senior members are required to take Ballet Pro B, Intermediate, Lyrical and Acro is strongly suggested as their technique classes.) Students and parents should discuss and decide whether they are able to meet these time and effort commitments.
- Attitude: Students are expected to support and encourage one another at all times. Both in class and outside, students are expected to treat others, including competition judges, teachers, and other dancers, with the highest level of respect. Winning trophies is nice, but presenting ourselves with dignity is a requirement.
Finance & Fundraising: Parents should recognize there are notable costs involved in Company membership. In addition to technique class tuition, there are meeting fees, competition fees, extra costs for solo numbers, costumes, etc. Some of these costs may be partly met by fundraising events, in which Company parents will be expected to participate.
Dance in Italy
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to offer students ages 10+ and their families an immersive study abroad experience led by Lorenza Manara Marchi and Peter Kirk.
The program includes six days in Florence, Miss Lorenza’s beautiful and historic home city, and two days in Venice, Italy.
Program highlights include:
- Dance Workshop
Students are invited to attend a special dance workshop at the Hamlyn School of Dance in a historic palace in the center of Florence. Learn from the staff of the Hamlyn School with classes in ballet and other styles of dance.
- Grand Ball
The stay in Florence reaches its peak with a Grand Ball held at a villa outside the city where students dance for the rest of the tour group and some invited guests.
- Pisa & Venice
One afternoon in Florence involves a group excursion to nearby Pisa, Italy to see the famous Leaning Tower. Our trip ends with a two-day visit to Venice including a gondola ride, a tour of the lagoon islands, and a mask-decorating course.
Details and dates for our 2024/2025 programs will be announced soon.
Italia Dance Teacher Training Program – Coming Soon
For some, dance is both a personal passion and a professional calling. To support dance students who wish to become teachers and improve the standard of dance teaching for children around the United States, Italia Performing Arts will soon be launching a Dance Teacher Training Program.
The Program will offer full-time classes to aspiring dance teachers. Our robust curriculum is built on the best of Miss Lorenza’s background and studies in Italy and England, various American training programs, and her own experience training dance teachers.
In addition to dance technique classes, student teachers will be taught about how dancers’ bodies and minds develop and function, and how they can move in ways which are safe and appropriate for their ages.
More details coming soon.
Arte in Movimento Dance Company
When you feel called to dance, you must dance! But opportunities don’t always abound for early career dancers and choreographers. That’s why Italia Performing Arts supports Arte in Movimento Dance Company.
This non-profit group is composed of talented, professional artists seeking to elevate their art through training, mentorship, and collaborative performances.