school

“And Lydia Johnson Dance, a company based in South Orange, N.J., performed a show of Johnson’s works that demonstrated perhaps the most organic choreographic fusion of ballet and modern-dance techniques ever invented.” Lisa Jo, Sagolla Backstage Magazine, 2009

New Jersey's Top Dance Program

The Lydia Johnson Dance School is honored to have been selected as the best dance program and one of only 4 arts programs praised in the October issue of the Millburn/Short Hills Magazine.

Lydia Johnson Dance (LJD) teaches a unique blend of dance technique and choreography. Unlike most other dance programs, LJD believes that technique is best learned as children use their creative energy to compose their own dance works. In discovering the power of different movements and vocabularies, students become motivated to increase their technical range.

Equally important is the focus on correct alignment as the base for ongoing technical training. All too often in commercial dance settings students work incorrectly and these habits must then be unlearned before a serious young dancer can progress. LJD does not teach pointe work, but families may consult with Lydia at any time to make decisions about the best course of action for their young dancer's growth. Lydia is happy to help families place students who need to move forward into higher levels of pre-professional ballet.

The works presented at the end of each class series are totally choreographed by students using the compositional techniques that have been worked on throughout the semester. The beauty and depth of the choreography LJD students create is unique. LJD does not “teach to the recital,” meaning that our curriculum continues to develop throughout the entire semester, rather than stopping at a certain point and drilling for a recital routine. Open classes are offered at the end of each semester in addition to our showings of student choreography.

All LJD teachers are trained in our method, which integrates the creative process of composing dance into the technical curriculum of each dance class and style. Artistic Director Lydia Johnson is a frequent presence in the School, inspiring students with her hands on style and positive energy. The students are invited to connect with the professional Company through teachers who dance in the Company, workshops, and the opportunity to see the dancers perform. LJD offers backstage tours for our older students during our New York season.

LJD offers a unique Dance Camp for three weeks each July which allows students an extended opportunity to both increase their technical skills and to add to their understanding of the composition process. The non-competitive, nurturing and fun summer environment of our Camp includes snacks on the patio, sharing of dance videos and discussions of choreographic ideas, Pizza Fridays and movement games. An extended day is available in conjunction with Geralyn's Art Studio.

Please email info@lydiajohnsondance.org with questions on our classes or curriculum!

classes

All classes and school performances happen at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd in Maplewood.

Special Four-Week Workshop

Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz in ONE class!

Mondays: May 14, 21 and June 4 and 11

This exciting class will include a ballet barre given by Tammi Shamblin and a contemporary- and jazz-oriented center taught by Camille Mireku. This format will allow dancers to experience the direct ways in which a strong ballet base affects a dancer's technique in a number of other styles! The additional jazz combinations will be Broadway jazz-based and thrilling to dance!

Mondays 4:30-5:30 grades K–2
Mondays 5:30-6:30 grades 3–5
Mondays 6:30-7:30 grades 6–12

Total Fee for the 4 Class Workshop: $116. Register online or by mail.
(Considering donating $24 to the LJD Scholarship Fund and making your total $140)

News About Classes and Performances

Remaining Fall Classes

Monday classes meet 12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 1/5, 1/12, *1/26 – weather makeup

Tuesday classes meet 11/25, 12/2, 12/9, 1/6, 1/13, *1/20-weather makeup

Thursday classes will meet 12/4, 12/11, 12/18, 1/8, 1/15, 1/22*-weather makeup

Friday classes will meet 12/5, 12/12, 12/19, 1/9, 1/16, 1/23 and 1/30.

Saturday classes meet 12/6, 12/13, 12/20, 1/10, 1/17, *1/24-weather makeup

Winter/Spring 2015 Class Schedule

Monday Classes begin February 2

Mondays / Ballet

4:00 - 4:45 PM: Intro to Ballet and Choreography

This class focuses on the basic structures of early ballet technique while allowing children to experience a joyous exploration of movement! The choreography portion of the class encourages a growing awareness of the use of shapes and levels as creative tools. The class does not culminate in the usual recital, but rather there will be an open class at the end of the semester.

Instructors: Tammi Shamblin and assistants

4:45 - 5:45 PM: Ballet and Choreography I (Grades 1-2)

This unique class is broken into two segments with prior LJD Company member and Ballet Tech Faculty member Tammi Shamblin teaching a developmentally based ballet class followed by a section focusing on our students expanding their understanding of choreographic elements. At this age children are able to compose using choreographic tools such as: levels, theme and variation, canons, movement dynamics and spatial design. LJD classes allow children to explore the process of choreography as a learnable skill. The class culminates in a showing of student choreography as well as an open class.

Instructors: Tammi Shamblin and assistants with periodic in-class choreography workshops taught by Lydia Johnson

5:45 - 6:45 PM: Ballet and Choreography II (Grades 3-5 including beginners).

This unique class is broken into two segments with prior LJD Company member and Ballet Tech faculty member Tammi Shamblin teaching a developmentally based ballet class followed by a section focusing on our students expanding their understanding of choreographic elements. At this age children are able to compose using more advanced choreographic tools such as: counterpoint, theme and variation, canons, spatial and stage design as well as to begin to add a deeper understanding of the dances links to music. LJD classes allow children to explore the process of choreography as a learnable skill. The class culminates in a showing of student choreography as well as an open class.

Instructors: Tammi Shamblin and assistants with frequent in-class choreography workshops taught by Lydia Johnson

6:45 - 7:45 PM: Ballet IV Technique (Grades 9-12)

Ballet classes at this level to reflect skill level as well as age. This is our most advanced class in Ballet and Choreography. The suggested age group for this class is 9th-12th grades. Some high school beginners may be more comfortable in our Ballet III, Following a technically challenging ballet class, our high school dancers are able to compose using advanced choreographic tools such as: canons, counterpoint, partnering, group partnering, theme and variation, spatial and stage design and musical awareness. Students at this age are choosing their own music for their dances with a sophisticated sense of the impact that music has on the compositional process. In class workshops with Lydia on the emotional impact dances have on the audience as well as issues of performance quality take on an increased importance here.

For those Ballet IV dancers wishing to work on a choreographic project, our Contemporary III class (Thursdays from 6-7:30) has a choreography component which is open to Ballet IV dancers. The choreography project takes place from 7:00-7:30 on Thursdays. Please email us at ljdschoolnj@gmail.com if you are interested in participating in the Thursday Choreography Project while a student in Ballet IV Technique.

Instructors: Tammi Shamblin and assistants with frequent in-class choreography workshops taught by Lydia Johnson

6:45 - 7:45 PM: Adult Ballet

Combined with our Ballet IV class, this class allows our “Adult Students” to focus individually on personal goals — whether they are joining for fitness, to increase technique or just the love of dancing. No experience necessary.

Instructors: Tammi Shamblin and assistants

Remaining Fall Monday classes meet 11/24, 12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 1/5, 1/12, *1/26 – weather makeup

Winter/Spring Session classes Mondays 2/2, 2/9, 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23, 3/30, 4/6, 4/13, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18, (6/1 weather makeup)

This class focuses on the basic structures of early ballet technique while allowing children to experience a joyous exploration of movement! The choreography portion of the class encourages a growing awareness of the use of dance technique as a creative tool. The class does not culminate in the usual recital, but rather the children will show short pieces of choreography at the end of the semester.

Tuesday classes begin January 27

Tuesdays / Intro to Ballet and Choreography

4:15 - 5:00 PM: Intro to Ballet and Choreography (ages 3 1/2 – 5)

This class focuses on the basic structures of early ballet technique while allowing children to experience a joyous exploration of movement! The choreography portion of the class encourages a growing awareness of the use of shapes and levels as creative tools. The class does not culminate in the usual recital, but rather there will be an open class at the end of the semester.

Instructors: Tammi Shamblin and Assistants

5:00 - 6:00 PM: Ballet and Choreography III (Grades 6-8 and older beginners)

The suggested age group for this class is 6th-8th grades, however the class may be a good place for older total beginners to start. High school students (9th- 12th graders) with no ballet experience will do well in this class for a semester in order to receive an introduction to the basic positions and forms of ballet.

Following the technique portion of their class our middles school dancers are able to compose using increasingly sophisticated choreographic tools such as: canons, counterpoint, group partnering, theme and variation, spatial and stage design and musical awareness. Students at this age begin to experience choosing their own music for their dances using a more thoughtful process than younger students. Lydia offersseveral in class workshops for this Tuesday class focusing on performance quality and compositional choices. This class culminates in a showing of student choreography and an open class.

Instructors: Tammi Shamblin and assistants

Remaining Fall Tuesday classes meet 11/18, 11/25, 12/2, 12/9, 1/6, 1/13, *1/20-weather makeup

Winter/Spring Session classes 1/27, 2/3, 2/10, 2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/24, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12, 5/19, (5/26 weather makeup)

Thursday Classes begin February 5

Thursdays / Contemporary and Choreography Workshop

4:00 – 5:00 PM: Contemporary and Choreography I (Grades 1-2)

This class focuses on a ballet-based contemporary technique. Using a floor-based warmup and progressing into a center and across the floor section using combinations from a variety of contemporary techniques, the class allows kids to experience the thrill of drop and release, full out modern movement! At this age children are able to compose using choreographic tools such as: levels, theme and variation, canons, movement dynamics and spatial design. LJD classes allow children to explore the process of choreography as a learnable skill. The class culminates in a showing of student choreography and an open class.

Instructors: Katie Martin and assistants with frequent in-class choreography workshops taught by Lydia Johnson.

5:00 – 6:00 PM Contemporary and Choreography II (3rd — 5th grades)

A technically focused contemporary technique class which allows for a full experience of drop and release modern movement, this class incorporates additional skills as students grow in their abilities to compose dances. Theme and variation, canons, movement dynamics, spatial design, partnering and group partnering are explored in depth. At this level, children are now using music as a part of their creative process as they experience the use of music as a springboard for choreography. The class culminates in a showing of student choreography and an open class.

Teachers: Katie Martin and assistants with frequent in-class choreography workshops taught by Lydia Johnson.

6:00 – 7:30 PM Contemporary and Choreography III (6th- 12th grades/divided)

A combined middle and high school class which breaks into groups allowing for each age and social group to work on their chorography projects with peers. This Contemporary technique class allows for a full experience of drop and release modern movement and incorporates additional skills as students grow in their abilities to compose dances. Theme and variation, canons, movement dynamics, spatial design, partnering and group partnering are explored in depth. At this level, students are now using music choice as a part of their creative process as they experience the use of music as a springboard for choreography. The class culminates in a showing of student choreography and an open class.

This class features our most in-depth choreography component, allowing a full 1/2 hour for exploration and study of choreographic forms.

Instructors: Katie Martin and assistants with frequent in-class choreography workshops taught by Lydia Johnson.

Remaining Fall Thursday classes will meet 11/20, 12/4, 12/11, 12/18, 1/8, 1/15, 1/22*-weather makeup

Winter/Spring Session classes 2/5, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/30, 5/7, 5/14, 5/28 (6/4 weather makeup)

Friday Classes begin February 6

Friday Mornings / Ballet for the Very Young!

9:30-10:15 am. Mommy and Me Dance Class (For toddling – 4 years old)

A wonderful chance for caregivers and young children to experience the joy of creative dance together in a fun and warm environment! This class will use imagery and varied music to encourage children to express themselves freely through movement. The presence of a caregiver allows these very young dancers to feel secure as they expand their range of expressive motion. The curriculum will include varied dynamics – such as soft and sharp – to begin the skill building which later, more formal, dance classes expand on.

Teacher: Rayna Pomper

10:30 - 11:15 AM: Ballet for the Very Young! (ages 2 1/2 – 4 years, no caregivers required)

This class allows our youngest dancers to experience a joyous exploration of movement while being introduced to the basic structures of early, pre-ballet technique. Through the use of music, shapes, props, imagery, dynamics and the creative use of imagination, Ms. Pomper creates a unique atmosphere of exploration and warmth. The final class is an open class for parents and friends who wish to share what the children have been learning.

Teacher: Rayna Pomper and assistants.

Remaining Fall Friday classes will meet 11/14, 11/21, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19, 1/9, 1/16, 1/23 and 1/30.

Winter/Spring Session classes 2/6, 2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/10, 4/17, 5/1, 5/8, 5/15, 5/22, 6/5, (6/12 weather makeup)

Saturday classes begin February 7

Saturdays / Creative Ballet

9:30-10:15 Creative Ballet (ages 3 – 5)

This class for young dancers allows 3-5 year olds to experience both the basic structure of ballet and the creative flow of expressive movement. Taught by our beloved Sherrell Bush and designed by Tammi Shamblin, the class will include opportunities for creative dance work as well as the introduction of ballet positions. Music will be varied and young dancers will experience how it feels to move to different kinds of music. The semester will culminate with an open class.

Taught by Sherrell Bush with a curriculum for young dancers designed by Tammi Shamblin.

Remaining Fall Saturday classes meet 11/15, 11/22, 12/6, 12/13, 12/20, 1/10, 1/17, *1/24-weather makeup

Winter/Spring Session classes 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28, 4/11, 4/18, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16, 5/30 (6/6 weather makeup)

Master Class Workshop Series

2:00 – 2:30 pm

Holiday Nutcracker Master Class Just in time for the Holidays! A Nutcracker master class with our beloved pre-school teacher, Rayna Pomper.

Let your little sugarplums experience the joy and musicality of the worlds favorite holiday ballet — “The Nutcracker.” Rayna will lead your child through the magical snowy forest to the delectable land of sweets all while dancing along to Tchaikovskys iconic score. A great introduction for young dancers to one of the most famous ballets of all time!

Sunday, December 14 2:00 – 3:30 pm, ages 2.5–5 years

$25. Sign up now! Spots are limited!

To Register
On Line
:

Paying With PayPal: We are pleased to announce our new on-line registration system for those paying for classes with PayPal. Click here to access our new system. If you have any problems please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Should you have any problem completing the process, please contact our administrator Jennifer at ljdschoolnj@gmail.com. She will do her best to get back to you within 24 hours with assistance. Be assured that we will place your child”s name on the appropriate class list while we work through the difficulty and their class space will be reserved.

If your desired class is filled, please email Jennifer to be placed on the wait list. Openings and/or additional class sections may occur soon. Parents can also email for suggestions of other LJD classes that might work for their child.

Paying By Check: If you wish to pay by check download and print out our registration form. Please print, complete and mail in the form along with your payment.

Scholarship students: Those wishing to apply for a scholarship or tuition reduction must complete our scholarship registration form and forward to Lydia by September 1. After the 1st, applications will be considered if scholarships are available. Decisions will be made based on need and our limited scholarship availability. All families must complete the registration form even if they have received scholarships in the past.

Class Fees:

Fees for Monday and Tuesday Intro to Ballet, Friday Ballet for the Very Young, and Saturday Creative Ballet are $375. Other courses are $425 for one-hour classes and Ballet IV, and $450 for all other 1 1/4-hour classes.

2nd and 3rd Class discount: Two or three classes for the same child are $100 off for each of the 2nd and 3rd classes.

Refund Policy

We offer a complete refund after the first class has been tried. We offer a refund of the semester fee minus $40 after the second class. We offer a refund of the semester fee minus $100 after the third class.

After the third class there are no further refunds for dropping out of the class.

Special Events

During the semester dancers from the company will perform as guest artists, demonstrating partnering, phrasing and performing excerpts from LJD’s repertory. Our dancers all have extensive teaching experience and love to work with kids!

Instructor Bios

Ballet

Rayna Pomper has taught ballet for preschoolers and Kindergarten in a number of settings in New Jersey for the last five years. Ms. Pomper studied ballet herself at The Princeton Ballet and performed with the Company as a student dancer. She continued her dance studies at Connecticut College. Ms Pomper is a founding board member of Lydia Johnson Dance and has a deep, life-long love of dance and music, which informs her exuberant teaching of our youngest dancers.

Tammi Shamblin majored in ballet while at the University of Utah. Returning to her hometown of Sacramento, she danced with Sacramento Ballet and Capitol City Ballet. While there she choreographed and presented work, and taught children through adults. She currently is a member of the faculty at Ballet Tech, Eliot Feld's Public School for Ballet, located in Manhattan. She has taught for Brooklyn Ballet, Dance New Amsterdam, Young Dancer's in Repertory and she has recently enjoyed teaching abroad in Panama. In NYC, she has performed with LJD and ad hoc Ballet. She looks forward to another amazing season with the students of LJD.

Contemporary/Modern

Katie Martin, originally from Chicago, IL, began her early training at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts and the Lou Conte Dance Studio. She continued her training on scholarship at Point Park University and studied abroad in Paris, France. After moving to NYC Ms. Martin completed her BFA in dance graduating Magna Cum Laude from Marymount Manhattan College. While at Marymount she had the opportunity to perform with artists such as Benoit-Swan Pouffer, May O'Donnel, John Butler, and Erick Hawkins. Further training included the Hubbard Street Summer Intensive, American Dance Festival, and the Merce Cunningham School where she was awarded a scholarship.

Ms. Martin's professional career includes performances with the Long Island Dance Project, The Synthesis Aesthetics Project, and Lydia Johnson Dance. She is also a member of the Fly By Night Dance Theater.

In addition to performing Ms. Martin has always had a passion for teaching. While in Chicago she taught at the Trilogy Performing Arts Center where she also choreographed for the school. In NYC Katie has been on faculty at the Long Island Dance Project, Astoria School of Fine Arts, and most recently Ballet Academy East. Ms. Martin has been certified in the Barre Pro Method and will also be teaching soon at the Pilates Pro Studio. She is very excited to join the staff at Lydia Johnson Dance.

Creative Ballet and Sampler

Sherrell Bush has worked with LJD for the past four years and currently majors in both public relations and dance at Hofstra University. In 2010 she was appointed as one of the teaching artists for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Sherrell is a CHS graduate and prior member of CHS's dance troupe. She began working with LJD as an intern in 2007. After graduating from County College of Morris, where she majored in dance, she began teaching LJD classes at the Burgdorff Center, SOPAC and The Far Brook School. Sherrell is currently the assistant director of the LJD Dance Camp. She instructs in modern, jazz, and hip hop, and is deeply influenced by a wide selection of other dance forms. Sherrell has taught at a number of dance institutions across New Jersey

In 2006, Sherrell received a performing arts award for choreography and performance from CCM for a choreographic work that premiered at the University of Buffalo. She received a 2005 performing arts award for her debut musical theater role, as the Sour Kangaroo in Seussical the Musical. Other productions include Hofstra's University's, A Soldier's Tale, Annie Get Your Gun, NJ Dance Center's The Nutcracker, and various works for both CCM Dance Theater, Montclair State University Dance Repertory, Hofstra University Dance Repertory. Her music video and television credits include "So You Think You Can Dance" and the music video "Touch" for recording artist Kena Sage.

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