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In the Fall of 2014, a new creative arts studio opened in West Hartford. The owner, Karla Kress-Boyle, had previously run the dance program at the Elmwood Community Center for 7 years. She then decided to open her own studio, Imagine Studio, and offer not only a dance program, but other programs including yoga, art, music, sewing, and more.
When Sparkles was just two years old, she started taking dance from Ms. Karla (and Ms. Amanda who is also at Imagine Studio). Sparkles enjoyed the program so much that we knew we wanted to follow Karla to her new space and continue taking classes there.
Earlier this year, Sweetheart, followed in her big sister’s footsteps and started off in Karla’s Dance, Dance program while her big sister went all-in with the full year dance program (including her first-ever dance recital).
We had another amazing year learning dance from Ms. Karla and I wanted to share a little of our experience in case any of our readers are looking for dance and other classes for their little ones this Fall!
Imagine Studio is located in the Elmwood section of West Hartford at 97 South Street. The exciting news for them is that in just one year they have outgrown their current space and will be relocating to a new space (just a few doors down) this fall. The new space will offer 500 additional square feet which will allow for a larger waiting area and a second studio.
I love how Karla thought of families when she designed her studio space. Not only did she include a waiting area for the parents, but she included a small play area for siblings who needed a place to hang (which wasn’t literally hanging on their parents) while their brother or sister was in class.
The current space has a studio which is used for the dance and exercise programs plus a smaller room which is used for other programs like camp, parent’s night out, art, and much more. I’ve seen that room survive many an art project including one where the kids got to fling paint at paper taped to the wall (it was ginormous paper if you are wondering). Over the past year, they have offered so much programming in these two spaces that it is hard for me to wrap my brain around how Karla and her team have been able to do it all. While my little ones have only participated in dance and camp, I’ve seen classes offered such as Mommy and baby yoga, sewing, art, cooking, music, bad weather drop in programs, drop-off preschool camp, and so much more. The list really goes on and on and their program schedule for Fall 2015 is loaded with even more amazing offerings.
As I mentioned before, we just finished the first year at Imagine Studio, but my girls have been taking dance from Karla since 2013. They’ve both done the introductory Dance, Dance and Dancer’s Delight programs and Sparkles just finished her first full-year dance program.
Oh! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was taking my teeny tiny Sparkles into this class. She was sooo cute and sooo excited to go and wear her favorite tutu. Too bad that as soon as I tried to leave her in the room and go out in the waiting area she started to lose her mind. Thankfully, her very experienced teacher helped us get through that little rough patch and not only was it a great opportunity for her to learn about dance, but a wonderful chance for her to learn how to be independent.
The Dance, Dance class starts at age 2 1/2 and provides an introduction to dance and creative movement. I love how this class incorporates so many fun elements like scarves, ribbons, and bubbles. It is also a very relaxed environment. Children participating can get all dolled up in their favorite ballet outfit and shoes or come in their comfiest playwear. And, of course, my favorite part of this class is the last day. That is when parents can come in and watch the class and all that their little ones have learned over the past few weeks.
Here is a picture of Sparkles at just two years old when she first took the Dance, Dance class.
And then here is Sweetheart back in January of 2015 starting dance for the first time herself.
After the girls each “mastered” the Dance, Dance class, they moved onto the next step in their dancing journey, Dancer’s Delight. This class is designed for little ones ages 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 and includes introductory instruction in ballet, tap, and jazz. This class does require participants to have both ballet shoes and tap shoes, but it is still a laid back atmosphere perfect for a child just starting dance and just getting comfortable with being in a class on their own. And just like the Dance, Dance class, this one runs for several weeks at a time and ends with the parents being invited into the studio to watch the last day of class.
Here is Sweetheart showing her love of Dancer’s Delight. Disregard the fact that she isn’t wearing ballet shoes. Somehow I forgot them on the last day!
Dancer’s Delight – Full Year
This past Fall we took the plunge and signed Sparkles up for the full year dance program at Imagine Studio. It was time. Not only did this program give her an opportunity to create relationships with the other kids in her class, but her teacher could help build on concepts throughout the year without needing to start over each session. Plus, the highlight for any of the full-year dance programs is what happens in the Spring — the recital!
This past year was my first year participating in a dance recital from the other side – – as a parent and not a dancer. I’m not sure if all recitals run this smoothly, but I have to say that Karla somehow was able to organize hundreds of dancers into multiple dances, all compacted into just a few hours. Seriously, I have no idea how she did it but she did. The end of year program was adorable and definitely the highlight of the year for Sparkles. You can see her joy in the pictures below!
We are once again looking forward to another fun year at Imagine Studio and I’ve already signed both Sparkles and Sweetheart up for the full year dance program. I can’t believe they will be doing a recital together next Spring. I’m going to need a whole box of tissues for that event!
We’ve certainly enjoyed the fun and welcoming atmosphere at Imagine Studio and I can’t wait to see what is in store in year two as the studio moves to a larger space and continues to expand their creative art offerings.
And, of course, I can’t wait to see these two munchkins on stage together!
Imagine Studio, under the direction of Karla Kress-Boyle, is West Hartford’s only Creative and Performing Arts Studio. Focusing on building imagination and self-confidence our wonderful staff will be sharing their talents in Dance, Art, Music, Yoga, and Theater programming. Classes for toddlers – adults, offered in sessions, full year dance and one day workshop, birthday parties, open play, parent night out, camps, special events and more!
- Registration for Fall 2015 classes has started. Check out their schedule for all of the current offerings.
- Class pricing and structure vary by program. Please note that for 2015, costume fees are included in the full year dance tuition price.
- Class registration can be done online. Love this feature!
- Dance offerings include:
- Dance, Dance: An introductory dance and creative movement class for children as young at 2 1/2.
- Dancer’s Delight: An introductory to more advanced dance class focusing on ballet, tap, and jazz.
- Hip Hop including classes just for boys and just for the littlest dancers.
- Dance Team
- Other program offerings include:
- Parent’s Night Out
- Preschool Camp
- Summer Camp
- The studio also offers customized birthday parties.
- The studio is currently renovating space a few doors down from their current location. Once that space is ready, they will be relocating there and adding on an additional studio space and larger waiting area!
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
- Musculoskeletal Health Centers – Located in Simsbury, CT, MSH Centers specializes in general chiropractic medicine with a focus on pediatric and prenatal chiropractic care. This fall, they will also offer the first all inclusive fitness center in Connecticut with personal training memberships starting at just $29.99/month for one session/week.
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