Ballet Theatre Ashtabula, a pre-professional dance company founded in 1981 that provides students and area dancers the freedom to fully develop their technical and artistic abilities. Our goal is to provide students who are career oriented with the necessary technical foundation while also allowing recreational students the opportunity to participate in classes of high standards. Made possible by a Civic Development Corporation grant, our dance studio is one of the finest in Northeast Ohio, with a basket weave construction sprung floor just like the one at Lincoln Center in NYC—an important factor in injury prevention. Financial aid is available for those in need.
Fees and Registration
Payment is expected at the time of registration unless otherwise noted, and can be made by cash, check, or credit card (a $2 service fee will be applied to all payments made by phone). Members receive a discounted rate. Materials fees, model fees, and some other fees are excluded from this discount.
Registration is required. A minimum number of students is needed to hold a class. When necessary, a class start date may be postponed a week or a class may be cancelled 24 hours prior to the starting time. Classes and lessons are open to all, regardless of race, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.
If a class is cancelled, appropriate refunds will be given. Persons desiring to withdraw from a class, who do so at least 24 hours before the start time of the class, will receive a full refund. If you drop a class after this deadline, but before the second meeting of the class, you will receive a refund for 75% of your tuition. There will be no refunds after the second class meeting
Dance Class Fees
- 1 CLASS: $90 class fee/$81 member rate
- 2 CLASSES: $180 class fee/$162 member rate
- 3 CLASSES: $270 class fee/$243 member rate
- 4 CLASSES: $342 class fee/$307 member rate
- 5 CLASSES: $427 class fee/$384 member rate
- 6 CLASSES: $513 class fee/$461 member rate
- 7 CLASSES: $598 class fee/$538 member rate
Private Dance Lessons: $15 per half hour or $25 per hour. Contact Shelagh Dubsky, Director of Dance.
Community Division for Recreational Dancers: Anyone is welcome to select classes at the beginning and intermediate levels. We offer classes exclusively for children ages 4 -10 which explore the world of dance through movement, music, rhythm, and self-expression. Pre-Ballet and Ballet I students begin learning the fundamentals of ballet.
Student and Pre-Professional Student Division: Consistent attendance is required as students gain an understanding of ballet technique. Other dance styles are also introduced to further enhance the student’s experience with dance as an art form. Dancers in this division are required to take the number of classes designated by their level in order to develop the strength, coordination, and artistry that is required to produce a well-rounded dancer. Students are welcome to sign up for any additional classes they wish to take outside of their level requirements.
- BALLET II: Two ballet technique classes per week are required.
- BALLET III: Three ballet technique classes per week are required plus Beginning/Intermediate Modern.
- BALLET III STUDENTS ON POINTE: Classes listed above plus Beginning Pointe are required.
- BALLET IV: Four ballet technique classes per week, Beginning/Intermediate Pop Funk Jazz, & Intermediate/Advanced Pointe are required.
Financial aid is available for eligible students. FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION Rev. 1115 may be downloaded or obtained at the front desk and must be filled out and returned no later than one week prior to the start date of the class.
By registering yourself or your child for a class/workshop/music lesson/or other activity at the arts center, you hereby waive and release all rights and claims for damages you or your child may have against the arts center and its employees. The arts center will not be responsible for injuries suffered by you or your child during classes, workshops, or activities sponsored by the arts center. In addition, you also give the arts center and its employees the right to use your or your child’s image with or without you or your child’s name, for purposes such as advertising, publicity, and public presentations.
Dance Class Policies
Class placement is determined by experience, maturity, and ability rather than age. More than one year is often needed in any given level. Our main concern is to provide each student with the training necessary for their stage of development. If a change to another level is appropriate, you or the student will be notified. Parents are welcome to request a conference concerning a child’s progress.
Especially in the case of younger students, parents and friends are asked not to observe classes except when invited. Children are often shy and distracted when they have an audience. Family and friends will be invited to observe the last class of the term. If parents have concerns about a child’s progress, a special observation day may be arranged.
Ballet: Females should wear pink tights and a solid-colored leotard. Pink ballet slippers should be worn for technique classes. Males should wear white or black tights and shoes and white t-shirts. Hair should be neatly groomed away from the face.
Jazz: Loose clothing such as leotards, footless tights, running pants, t-shirts, etc.
Tap: Tap shoes required.
Brenda dancing during the great disco era right here in Ashtabula at Sardi’s Disco. Her favorite New York hustle style included quick adagio and acrobatic movements. This was the time when couples began to dance together again after the freestyle movement of twisting and rocking. Hustle is the last partner dance to be born right here in America. Soon the hustle began to incorporate ballroom inspired steps and movements, such as the Cha Cha. With her partner, she taught and also competed in many dance contests from here to New York. She trained and taught ballroom dance at Marguerite Pivarnik’s Footworks Dance Studio of Ashtabula, competed for NBC’s Dance Fever, and had the pleasure of dancing on stage in Cleveland with the Arthur Murray Studio in the Dancing With The Stars Tour 2009 and 2010. Although this was just a warm up the audience act, what a thrill to see the stars up close and personal! She has taught at many venues, but is currently teaching the hustle and other American social dances at the Ashtabula Arts Center. Her motto is, “If You Can Walk, You Can Dance.”
Alison Dubsky began her ballet training at the Ashtabula Arts Center and finished her studies at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and the Joffrey Ballet School. Upon graduation, she embarked on a professional career where she performed throughout North America. During her tenure as a professional ballet dancer, she danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, the Joffrey Ensemble Dancers, the Sarasota Ballet, the Richmond Ballet, and the Alberta Ballet. Some of Alison’s favorite roles include the Black Queen from Checkmate, the Sugar Plum from The Nutcracker, Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land, and the principal couple in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante.
Shelagh holds a BA in dance from Mercyhurst University. She received her dance training with the American Ballet Theatre School, the Joffrey Ballet School, David Howard, Melissa Hayden, and Finis Jung. She danced professionally with Long Island Ballet under the artistic direction of Brett Raphael before moving to Ohio. Shelagh has been the director of dance at the arts center for thirty-three years and has served as the artistic director of the arts center’s performing dance company, Ballet Theatre Ashtabula. Many of her former students have gone on to dance professionally in companies such as Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, Momix, Alberta Ballet, The Montgomery Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Alvin Ailey II, The Joffrey Ensemble, Verb Ballets, The Ohio Ballet, Elise Monte Dance, and Richmond Ballet. Shelagh’s students have also danced professionally for major cruise lines and in national tours of Broadway shows such as Mary Poppins and Billy Elliot the Musical. Other former students have gotten their degrees in dance from prestigious universities such as The Juilliard School, Butler University, Mercyhurst University, Ailey/Fordham, and the University of Cincinnati. Today, many of Shelagh’s former students have become artistic directors of dance companies themselves, or are on the dance faculties of dance schools around the country.
Lauren Hammond began her dance training at the Ashtabula Arts Center under the direction of Shelagh Dubsky. She began college as a ballet performance major at Butler University then ultimately chose to pursue education. Lauren has been teaching Jazzercise for five years and is an AFAA certified personal trainer.
Tim Kolman has been dancing for eight years, and trained with Ballet Theatre Ashtabula until his senior year of high school, going on to train with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s pre-professional program and dancing with their professional company in such productions as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty. He attended Mercyhurst University, completing his freshman year there. Next year he joins the Rochester City Ballet as a professional dancer.
Clover Robinson began her dance training at age 3 at the Ashtabula Arts Center under the direction of Shelagh Dubsky. She earned her BFA in dance from Wright State University, where she performed with the Dayton Ballet and studied on scholarship at the Cleveland Ballet, under the direction of Dennis Nahat. She was also on faculty for the Dayton Ballet School and was a member of Dayton Ballet II. Furthering her career in Chicago, Clover performed with Ballet Theatre of Chicago and The 58 Group. She joined Hubbard Street 2 under the direction of Julie Nakagawa (Artistic Director, DanceWorks Chicago), and worked with choreographers Lou Conte (founder, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago), Robert Battles (Artistic Director, Alvin Ailey), Jessica Lang (Artistic Director, Jessica Lang Dance), Ron De Jesus (Artistic Director, Ron De Jesus Dance), Harrison McEldowney, and Ginger Farley, among many others. During her time with Hubbard Street 2, Clover was part of a trade mission and cultural exchange between the State of Illinois and South Africa. She performed for the Governor’s Delegation among other audiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and worked closely with African dancers in the cultural exchange. Clover retired from her professional career and moved home to teach dance at the arts center beginning in 2001. She has choreographed and directed rehearsals for the annual Spring Dance Concert, Straw Hat productions including Zombie Prom, Footloose, and Little Shop of Horrors, and for the Grand Valley Show Choir. Clover has been an instructor for Pymatuning Valley Schools and After School Discovery, and for Wild Fire Dance. In addition to teaching dance, she also works for the Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities as an Early Intervention Specialist.
Cassandra Serdula is originally from Austinburg, and is a 2009 alumna of Mercyhurst University. She began her training at Ballet Theatre Ashtabula under the direction of Shelagh Dubsky and Clover Robinson. While at Mercyhurst, she performed with The Lake Erie Ballet and Mercyhurst Dance Theatre and was coached by several distinguished dancers such as Laura Alonso, Valerie Valentine, and Vivi Flindt. Upon graduating, she joined The Montgomery Ballet in 2009 under Artistic Director Elie Lazar where she performed several of Lazar’s original works such as Carmen, Verdi Pas de Six, and Carmina Burana. In 2010, the company toured to Pietrasanta, Italy, with a mixed repertoire of works, performing 11 different ballets in one week. She has performed Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie and Who Cares? as well as several roles in the classics—Coppélia, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Vivandière, and many more. Cassie also performed as a guest artist with Arova Contemporary Ballet in Birmingham, AL and has been a program assistant for National Dance Institute in NYC under the direction of Jacques d’Amboise. Most recently, she was a member of The Georgia Ballet under the direction of Alexandre Proia.
Karen graduated from Kent State University with dual degrees in dance performance and dance education. After attending the American Dance Festival in 2001, she decided to pursue a career in dance education. She taught preK-12 at Carlisle School in Virginia, at a performing arts school in Akron, and was an adjunct at KSU for 8 years. Karen’s focus at the arts center has been mainly in teaching modern dance and tap, and she has been teaching here since fall of 2008. She has choreographed several pieces for the Spring Dance Concert: Pierced by the Darkness, O.R.R. (fondly referred to as “the African Piece”), Fight, and Least Restrictive Environment. Karen is also a full time special education teacher for Jefferson Area Local Schools.
Meghann began training under the direction of Shelagh Dubsky at the Ashtabula Arts Center at age 6. She continued her studies with Clover Robinson, as well, in ballet and jazz. She went on to Wright State University’s dance program where she studied ballet, jazz, and modern dance. While at Wright State, she performed with Dayton Ballet II under the direction of Karen Russo Burke. Upon returning home, she guest-performed with the Verbs Ballet in Cleveland. Meghann completed her bachelor’s degree at Kent State University-Ashtabula while teaching dance at the arts center and other studios around the county. She has recently delved into the creative process of choreography for these studios and enjoys working in the contemporary/lyrical dance style. Meghann has also been seen in some recent musical theater productions at the Ashtabula Arts Center such as A Chorus Line, All Shook Up, Once Upon a Mattress, and Company.