I asked my husband to find a place where my daughter could learn ballet. He made some calls and talked to the owner of Laurel Ballet. He was very impressed at everything she told him our daughter would learn about dance and live at Laruel. It has been 7 yrs and her two sisters dance now also. The girls all dance beautiful, but more important , they are exposed to teachers that care so much for them and teach strong morals and self esteem. They have made wonderful friends and feel part of a family at Laurel.
Five years ago I was looking for a ballet school for my daughters to attend. It so happened, at the time, that a gentleman was doing work at our house and brought up the subject of ballet when he saw that we had 2 daughters. He stated that his daughter attended Laurel Ballet for several years and had gone on to dance with a professional ballet company. He raved about how well she was prepared with ballet technique and how the instructors genuinely cared for the girls. I decided to try the school and have been very pleased with their instruction. The girls have become very disciplined and motivated as they continue to grow and learn ballet. They have been told, "Don't be ordinary, but be Extraordinary!!"
I am a mother of four daughters who have all had the privilege of attending Laurel Ballet. When my oldest daughter was four I thought I would fulfill my motherly obligation of allowing my daughter to "try" dance. Why not ballet? I thought, I could avoid all that jazzy, tappy stuff plus ballet may help her in sports, I had hoped my kids would eventually play. Well, seven years later my ex-Olympians are still dancing. Who knew! From my daughters 1st class she was hooked and I was as well. While observing my daughter in class I remembered thinking this is probably the closest thing to New York ballet I could ever hope to find in Greensburg, PA. I couldn't believe the quality of teaching coming from such a humble environment. It's original building was not fancy or showy but focused on what mattered, educating young girls in ballet technique. Still today, ballet continues to be an extension of my childrens education. The classes they attend are both physically and mentally demanding. The instructors expect a strong work ethic and with such a depth of education and experience, it's not by accident that Laurel Ballet performances are of exceptional quality. Each performance wether it's the annual Nutcracker or Spring performance I walk away thinking, they will never top that one, yet they do! I still remember watching the 1st years performances and thinking the older dancers must be guest professionals. Only later to read in the program that they were merely 8th & 9th graders. Wow! Evenmore, to see a sophomore in high school as Sugar Plum is really amazing. Stumbling upon Laurel Ballet was the best mistake I ever made. I couldn't imagine where my daughters would be without it. Probably lost on some soccer field. With todays financial strains and demands I only hope our family as well as others in the Greensburg community can continue to be graced with it's presence.
This school provides an incredible opportunity for girls to learn determination, perseverance, and discipline. It also helps the dancers make great, strong friendships that really last a lifetime. I met my bestfriends here! I am so lucky to be a part of this program, for I get the chance to perform in a theater at least two times a year and dance for Greensburg! It's such an amazing experience, and I am always excited to come back to Laurel to see what they have in store for me! The teachers are fantastic because they really get to know each and every one of the dancers. Thank you Laurel Ballet :)
I have been dancing with Laurel Ballet for almost twelve years and love every moment spent at the beautiful studio. The technical and artistic focus at Laurel distinguish it from any other local ballet school. One aspect I truly appreciate is the opportunity to perform a variety of full length classical and contemporary ballets including the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Firebird, and many others. During each session, I am exposed to many dance styles aside from ballet, too, such as jazz, character/folk, modern, and contemporary. Everyday I am challenged to improve my technique and encouraged to reach new heights artistically at Laurel Youth Ballet.
When my eldest daughter was 5, I was looking for a dance school that would teach technique rather than get students ready for a recital. It was then that I was introduced by a friend to Laurel Ballet. I got so much more than what I was looking for! My daughter not only was taught proper ballet tech, but she gained confidence, discipline, learned commitment, and developed true friendships. A year later, I enrolled my younger daughter at age 3. Twelve years later my younger daughter is still dancing with LYBPC. The memories that have been made at Laurel are our fondest. Although my older daughter no longer dances, the life lessons she learned at Laurel will always remain a part of her. The excellent staff teaches these girls about commitment, and discipline. They learn musicality, an appreciation of art, and a love for dance. The experience they had dancing with guest male dancers and a full symphony orchestra is immeasurable! I am so grateful that my daughters have been a part of something so wonderful!
As a teacher in a different discipline, I had a preteen student who was involved in ballet through Laurel Youth Ballet. Her maturity and discipline impressed me greatly as did her love for Laurel when she spoke of it. When my young daughter was old enough to begin ballet, I researched local options and determined that Laurel would provide a solid education in classical ballet, with valuable performance opportunities in a supportive atmosphere. At that young age, the proper ballet terms and movements were taught, and excellence was expected, with the older girls acting as role models. In addition to the learning of the art form, a portion of class time was allotted to improvisation to classical music, with the youngest students dressed in actual ballet costumes, owned by Laurel and used in its productions! This was a thrill for the young students, and that freedom to express themselves as they chose, to the music, gave birth to a love of ballet in my daughter which grew and became a desire to express herself in ballet as a professional. Those tiny dancers envisioned themselves for a few moments as Giselle, Aurora, and many other ballet heroines; from that, they gained a love for performing onstage. That desire was fulfilled beautifully and often in Laurel Youth Ballet's annual productions of the full-length "Nutcracker" and another full-length ballet from the classical repertoire. With the partnering expertise of guest male dancers, the Laurel Ballet girls were able to dance roles in ballets which are usually reserved for professional companies in sizeable cities. To achieve that, they aspired to roles and worked hard to deserve and master them, then performed them beautifully to the applause of their family, friends, and the community. In the audience, we met many patrons who had traveled many miles to attend Laurel Youth Ballet's productions, rather than the nearest large city ballet company's, because Laurel's were so good and yet more affordable. Laurel made fine ballet available to many who would not otherwise have the means to attend such performances, and it taught its own students dedication, teamwork, courage, artistry and much more in the process. Its scenery, props, music and costuming were amazing, given the budget and the fact that it is not in the heart of a large city. No one left disappointed; rather, they were quite pleasantly astonished at what such dedicated faculty and students could achieve. These are life lessons that serve young people well beyond the years spent in ballet classes. Although Laurel's students do audition for, and attend, many prestigious summer programs, many will opt for other careers after high school, with fond memories. Our daughter realized at age 8, at Laurel, that she wished to make ballet her career. This dream was supported by the Laurel faculty and by her classmates; all were supportive and encouraging as she worked very seriously to make that possible. This involved taking extra classes at various levels, some lower than her regular level, to build stamina and to refine her technique and artistry; this was understood and allowed. When studio space was available, she could avail herself of the flooring, barres and mirror, to practice. Additional forms of dance were also offered as supplements, because today's dance companies hire well-rounded dancers who have experience in modern, jazz, character, and more. She is so grateful for those opportunities and for their unfailing confidence in her ability to achieve her goals if she worked hard and well. In her teens, she was offered the opportunity to train elsewhere in a prestigious year-round program in a large city, and, upon embarking on that new venture, she found that the artistry and confidence that she had gained at Laurel served her well. Some of her new classmates had not had the opportunity to dance in full-length ballets at their former schools, and few had had partnering opportunities such as she had had since her youngest years. Although she was far away, her Laurel classmates continued to keep in touch with beautiful cards, photos,and care packages. They were top-notch young people as well as excellent dancers. Our daughter has trained in several great ballet schools in several cities since she ventured beyond Laurel, and she is currently living her dream as a trainee with a major ballet company in one of the largest cities in the U.S., a position granted after a competitive audition in which her confidence and artistry served her well. In every training situation, faculty and artistic staff have commented on her work ethic, which was fostered at Laurel Youth Ballet as she aspired to learn ever more difficult roles, transforming herself from a toddler in a tutu improvising to ballet music, into whatever was needed to meet the demands for a particular role, always fixing her gaze on the older dancers who set such a high standard, and especially on those who had gone from Laurel Youth Ballet into professional careers. Although ballet is extremely competitive, no one at Laurel ever said, "No. It will be too challenging." They said, instead, "Try, and we will help you." Although she now dances far away, they are still supportive, knowing that giving someone a dream should be followed by keeping that dream alive. As she continues to pursue her dream, she enjoys the benefits of physical fitness, appreciation of the arts, and confidence. Laurel Youth Ballet was such an important part of her life that it is hard for her family to imagine her without the gifts that it has given her. Funding for Laurel Youth Ballet will ensure that existing programs and facilities can be maintained and even enhanced for future dancers, and other children will never have to wonder what their lives would have been like without the gifts that ballet gives, through Laurel Youth Ballet- gifts for ballet and for life. Onstage and off, and someday as a dance educator herself, she hopes to pay it forward and give those gifts to audiences and to other young children.
The Laurel Ballet is one of the finest Companies in our community - a real gem with an excellent staff that is committed to QUALITY. Many Laurel Ballet students have advanced on to grand companies and have been presented opportunities that are often viewed as big dreams, impossible to reach. The caring staff not only instructs at a grand level while providing great Ballet productions; but nurture students, giving them a home and a place in the world of theater and dance. Just ask the Director how many Laurel Ballet students made it into highly competitive Summer programs this year all over the country, including the prestigious and ever demanding Joffrey Ballet. This company is the dream and reality of ballet students from all ages, all walks of life and all worlds. Thank you Laurel Ballet for providing such a wonderfully rich gift to our community. Katerina
My daughter began dancing at Laurel just before her fifth birthday. I was looking for a pure ballet school, one that didn't require a trip to Pittsburgh several times a week. Laurel came highly recommended to me by the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. I was NOT dissapointed! The teachers are experts in their field and consumate professionals. Each chold is a gem to the teachers! The outside professionals that are hired seasonally or for summer classes are always the best. This organization is the best pure ballet school that I know.
My experience as a dancer with Laurel Youth Ballet was truly extraordinary. After dancing with several other studios/academies for ten years, I attended a summer intensive at LYB and was immediately hooked by the artistic professionalism of the staff and the obvious accomplishment of the other dancers. I realized that this was a place that would challenge me to become a much better dancer in terms of technique, performance quality, and knowledge of the artform. I joined LYB the following fall and stayed for the next four years. The high-quality classes and performances are some of my fondest memories from my high school years. I found a home with the staff and fellow dancers and created friendships that will endure for the rest of my life. I've become an advocate for the arts and continue to dance and choreograph at the college level. My time at LYB will forever be a highlight of my performing years. My only regret is that I didn't join the company earlier.
Each time the curtain opens for a performance of the students at Laurel Youth Ballet Performing Company, I know that it will be a high quality, professional-looking performance. My daughters have had the opportunity to learn ballet for the past 8 years from the experienced and highly skilled instructors at Laurel Ballet. I am continually impressed with their level of dedication to promoting education in the performing arts.
I started with Laurel Youth Ballet at the age of three and during my several years with Laurel Youth, I have many fond memories. I vividly remember dressing up in my different costumes to perform in various ballets and all the fun we had performing. I also remember the discipline I learned and how my experiences and training taught me to appreciate and value hard work. I eventually switched to gymnastics. However, as a gymnast, I was trained by a Russian ballet master who, after coming to the US, was also the principal dancer for Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. My foundation with Laurel Youth paid off and helped me excel as a gymnast. Now that I'm an adult, I still love to dance and still strive to maintain the same technique and discipline that was instilled in me as a student at Laurel Youth.
Laurel Youth Ballet Performing Company is a wonderful asset to Westmoreland County. Speaking from personal experiece and being with the company in the past, the experiences that were given to me could not have been any better. I loved the dancing and the physical freedom of speak it allowed me. Growing up in a company like this gave me the confidence in myself that I still have today. I continue to push myself to strive to do the best I can. I made lifetime friends and lasting memories. It was a challenge and made my mind work as hard as my body. The staff was like a second family. They cared about us as if we were their own children. They made classes and performances challenging, educational, and fun. We did educational and cultural performances in schools and other public areas. The community always enjoyed the experiences and came back year after year. It is very hard to find good cultural fun these days. Our childrens' children would be lucky to have this experience. This company deserves lots of credit for what they do. Lets make it last for many more years to come!!
Dance is not one of my areas of expertise. I think I am exposed to the art form enough to know when it is good dance or bad dance, but that is about as far as I go. Laurel Ballet is "good dance," but that's not what I am reviewing. It's true tht I know little about dance, but I know an awful lot about young people and educational discipline. A teacher for 43 years (and counting) I have watched these young people assume responsibility and handle it with an aplomb tht would put adults to shame. With the exception of the very little ones, no one is backstage "shushing" these kids..or reminding them of what comes next. These young people are well trained and their product demonstrates their preparedness. Finally, they are happy to perform. They try their best; they succeed; they enjoy the success; they go back to work harder for the next time. It's wonderful to be occasionally be a part of this kind of education. Perhaps one or two of these kids will go on to dance professionally...but ALL of them will go on to be disciplined "performers" in whatever fields they find themselves. Kudos to the staff and to the kids!
Laurel Ballet has proven to be an asset the the community in so many ways, performing arts for entertainment while enriching the lives of our communities youth....an invaluable experience. The other workers, staff, and volunteers share an unsurpassed energy for their passion and avocation. This energy spreads quickly to those around them. I'v enjoyed every time I have worked with anyone from Laurel Ballet.
They're a wonderful organization committed to furthering the cultural experiences and arts education opportunities available in Westmoreland County. I have worked with them many times over the last ten years, and been extremely impressed by both the professionalism and personability of the staff. They expect their students to strive for the best, and they provide a warm and comfortable environment in which to do so.