Auburn Pointe School of Dance makes it possible to get a truly Classical dance education right here in Auburn. The school, owned by Auburn graduates Shelly and Reese Stansell, specializes in Ballet, Pointe, and Partnering, with lots of additional classes such as Jazz, Modern, and Contemporary Pointe.
"We opened the school because there was a need for a strong classical program in the area. Auburn has lots of great competition style schools. We just wanted something different" says Shelly. Having previously owned a dance studio in Tennessee, Reese and Shelly were encouraged by families all over Auburn to consider opening a classical program here. "We have been so blessed by all the positive feedback from the community with regards to our program. I think the area has a lot of families that can appreciate old school ballet".
Auburn Pointe has classes for ages 3 through adult. Utilizing the Vaganova curriculum for ballet, dancers master all the proper technique and terminology for their level. “We want to provide a program that gives dancers everything they need to go on to professional careers in dance if they choose.” Other classes within the curriculum at Auburn Pointe include Jazz, Modern, Contemporary Ballet, and Hip Hop. Every class keeps within the classical style of training and costuming, pulling from the deep roots of the great choreographers of the past, such as Martha Graham, Bob Fosse, and Alvin Ailey. Even the Hip Hop classes are clean and classic. "We feel that we can take something like Hip Hop, clean it up, and have a lot of fun with it." says Shelly.
Auburn Pointe staff have trained around the world under such programs as the Royal Academy of Dance in England, and the Broadway Dance Center in New York. "Pas de Deux instructor, David Coleman, has his Bachelor's degree in Dance Performance and Teaching from the University of Alabama at
Birmingham, with a specialty in teaching Pas de Deux. Pas de Deux is the name given to the duets you see in all the famous ballets. This is a specialty that David brings to the studio for our intermediate and advanced dancers.”
Shelly, who trained extensively in Ballet, Jazz and Modern, teaches a wide variety of classes. "I love Ballet. It is the best foundation for all dance skills. But I also love true Modern and old school Jazz. I want to educate our dancers about the other classic styles of dance out there--not competition style, but rather dance as an art form."
Other instructors include Carol Smith and Angie White, both Artistic Directors for the East Alabama Community Ballet which puts on the Nutcracker each year. "Both of these teachers have an extensive history with teaching dance and choreography" says Shelly. "We are so very pleased to have them in our program". Carol, a native of Sussex, England, began her classical ballet training at a Royal Academy of Dance school in England. "Carol is so kind, and so knowledgeable about dance. Dancers flock to her classes!" Mrs. White is also a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, which she pulls from for teaching advanced Core Conditioning classes for the dancers. "Angie is a Jack of all Trades. She can teach ballet with the best of them, but also has Jazz, Modern, and Pilates training that really rounds out the program", says Shelly. "And she's fun. The dancers love her."
On top of the highly skilled teachers, there is a new pre-professional studio that has been added on to the existing studio. "With all the advanced dancers coming to train here, we found it necessary to provide them with a state of the art studio that can accommodate the technicality of what they are doing,” Says Shelly. The studio is a massive 43 feet. The size is for the long combinations that are a part of advanced level classes, not for large class sizes. "Class sizes must be kept manageable in order to properly train each individual. We never want any dancer to get lost in the crowd."
Along with extensive training, dancers will have the option for many performance opportunities within the community and beyond. Performance should be an enrichment to the training. “ We want to teach the dancers to dance for the benefit of others. This is contradictory to what most of our culture says to do. We believe in blessing others and honoring God, and God promises to bless us in return, and He is so good,” says Shelly.
Anyone can become a dancer at Auburn Pointe.
Recreational dancers have the same opportunities to learn proper technique and training, and still learn from the same highly skilled teachers. "I think it's important that everyone who desires to dance, whether young or old, can find a place to fit in, even adults who have never danced. There are classes for everyone", says Shelly. There is also a place for boys to dance here. "Boys are needed for all kinds of dance forms, and boys love to dance, so why not make a way for boys to dance and maintain their masculinity?" says Shelly. "I have two boys who love to dance, and they're really good at it. And there's nothing girly about what they do."
Auburn Pointe teachers love what they do. "We are very, very particular who we hire at Auburn Pointe."says Shelly. All teachers must be highly skilled in teaching, but also gifted in working with people. Other ways that Auburn Pointe is customer focused is their streamlined recitals. Recitals never take more than one day, and multiple shows are avoided. Affordability is also key. Tuition and recital fees are kept as low as possible in order not to burden families.
Convenience factor-"We love the fact that their is a pizza parlor, coffee shop, and spa, among other things, within the same complex as the studio" says Shelly. "It's like we're one big family with everything we need in one place." Dancers and their families love the convenience of these other amenities. "It's just an added bonus", says Shelly.
If that isn't enough, Reese and Shelly sell ballet slippers, tights, and pretty much anything else a dancer would need right out of their studio, and with really good prices. "We just want to be a blessing to the community. We love Auburn. We love the people here." say Reese and Shelly. Parents of 3 kids who all dance, Reese and Shelly know exactly what it takes to keep parents happy. "I'm not only a teacher, but a mom of 3 dancers, so I know what it takes to keep it sane. We want everyone to enjoy the ride", says Shelly.