Barefoot Dance Center, LLC opened its doors in the summer of 2003. The studio, conveniently located on Route 9W in West Park, NY, offers dance classes to people of all ages. We offer regular classes in Creative Movement, Modern Technique, Improvisation and Ballet. Our youngest students are toddlers who join with their parents in discovering how their amazing bodies move through space. Three to five year old girls and boys take Creative Movement classes to capture and develop their artistic expression through the use of songs, games and music. As children grow older, they learn specific dance skills as they continue to build their own movement vocabularies. Older kids, teens and adults are challenged with a more rigorous technical training, while continuing their personal explorations through improvisation and composition. Every student at Barefoot has the opportunity to dance, collaborate and choreograph. We emphasize healthy alignment, strong technique, musicality and the creative process in a supportive environment.
is Modern Dance?
Modern Dance began in the early 20th century as a departure from the traditions of Classical Ballet. While Ballet is often light and airy, Modern Dance uses both "gravity" and "air" to create contrasts when dancing. We practice in bare feet, which helps ground us to the earth. Ballet is often limited to a specific code of steps, while modern dancers are encouraged to discover new ways of moving through active exploration. The movement possibilities are limitless. Much of our training as modern dancers is heavily influenced by Ballet. For example, many warm-up exercises (plies, tendues, degages) have been adopted from Ballet. The study of Modern Dance encourages creative expression, good posture, balance, discipline and strong muscles. We use our breath to illuminate our dancing and leave plenty of room for self-expression. Choreography may tell a story, focus on an idea or simply use the body to express an abstract thought. There is ample room to create unique work. Modern Dance can be studied independently or as a compliment to other dance styles.
teaches at Barefoot?
JessieLevey, Barefoot's founder, director and principal teacher, studied different forms of Modern Dance and Cecchetti Ballet throughout her life in New York City and at Sarah Lawrence College. Raised by a modern dancer, she grew up immersed in the experimental world and expansion of modern dance. At the age of eight years, she experienced her earliest performance with Mel Wong and Dancers at Dance Theater Workshop. Later, she performed with Dani Nikas and Dancers, among others and choreographed her own work for many years in Metropolitan New York before moving to the Hudson Valley in 2002. Currently, she studies Limon-influenced modern technique with Katherine Wildberger and Vinyasa Yoga at Living Seed in New Paltz. In addition, she takes workshops at Movement Research in NYC, and continues to watch as many live dance concerts as possible. Her prior teaching experience includes positions at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Poly Prep Lower School and Dalton School. She also taught in myriad public schools through Lincoln Center Institute. Jessie also directed a teenage dance company at BAX for 10 years. Her eclectic style combines her greatest influences: Cunningham, Limon & Release Techniques, Yoga and Pilates. In addition to teaching classes at Barefoot (see schedule for details), she also directs Choreolab Performance Workshop and Barefoot Dance Company, and brings dance into surrounding schools as a dance artist-in-residence. Jessie Levey is married to an educator, has two children and is a certified childbirth educator.
began her formal
ballet training with Marcia Dale Weary and Karen Bohner at the Central
Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She then moved to
Leslie Partridge Sachs, born and raised on Manhattanís upper west side, is now a recent resident of Beacon NY. Leslie has spent the majority of her life as a dance artist, teacher, performer and choreographer in New York City. Her training and performance began with New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater. With her foundations in classical movement she entered the contemporary dance world through study of a wide variety of modern dance techniques. She is an alumna of the High School of Performing Arts, Bard College and the University of Washington, the latter where she received her MFA in dance. Leslie has held positions at Purchase College Conservatory for Dance, Balettakademien in Stockholm, University of Massachusetts, Dance Space Center in NYC, to name a few. Her work has been presented in venues across the US and Europe. She is married to Sun Sachs and has two daughters, 6 cats and 2 dogs. Leslie teaches Advanced Modern at Barefoot.
ZoŽ Lefkowitz is a a Barefoot alum, and founding member of Barefoot Dance Company. While a student at Barefoot, she assistant taught creative movement classes with Jessie. As a college student, she returned to Barefoot as a guest choreographer. ZoŽ is a 2013 graduate of Eugene Lang College the New School for Liberal Arts, where she studied dance and psychology. In her time at Lang, she worked with teachers including Rebecca Stenn, Wally Cardona, Juliette Mapp and Neil Greenberg, and worked with the I Have a Dream Foundation teaching dance to New York City public school children. She has also worked with children at the Dutchess Community College Day Care Center and Dutchess Arts Camp. ZoŽ teaches Creative Movement and Modern I at our studio.
studies at Barefoot?
Barefoot welcomes girls, boys and adults of all different sizes, shapes and backgrounds to dance in a non-competitive environment. Many of our students graduate and major in dance in college and become professional dancers, while others study at Barefoot for recreational purposes. Students come from New Paltz, Gardiner, Highland, Ulster Park, Port Ewen, Marlboro, Kingston, Rosendale, Tillson, Carmel, Saugerties, Rhinebeck, Hyde Park, Woodstock, Clintondale and Poughkeepsie.
Are there hidden costs?
The registration fee and the class fees are the only costs.
is unique about Barefoot?
Barefoot trains dancers and choreographerswith special attention given to alignment. Dancers are asked to work within their own natural range. With healthy placement of bones and joints, muscles work more efficiently and fewer injuries occur. Students are never asked to over-turnout or to lift their legs too high, thereby putting unnecessary strain on hip and knee joints. We aim to make dancing a healthy and joyful experience.
learn important technical skills while also developing their movement pallet
through improvisation. Students
experience the thrill of choreographing their own dances.
At Barefoot, we discuss themes, forms, structures, the influence of sound
and music, and work to become
stronger dance makers. Each year culminates in a performance celebrating the
students' hard work. Barefoot is
not a competition school. We are
artists focusing on the creative process.
Are there performances?
Barefoot Dance Center has an annual concert at the end of our spring term. All students participate in this celebratory event. Classes throughout the year focus on ensemble work, technique skills and the creative process in an age-appropriate manner. We believe that deep and meaningful process-oriented learning experiences lead to unique choreography and confident performers. This philosophy is why we choose to keep classes going for as long as possible before rehearsing for the concert. Most of the pieces performed are created by the students. Other dances are choreographed by the teachers or guest choreographers. Audience members are often impressed by the innovation of the pieces and the genuine performances by our students.
There is no additional fee to participate in this concert, though we do charge an admission fee to help cover the costs of the theater rental.
Older, more experienced dancers who are interested in pursuing choreography and performing, are invited to join Choreolab Performance Workshop or Barefoot Dance Company. These young dancers/choreographers perform throughout the Hudson Valley during the school year. Check our News & Events page for upcoming performances.
last updated 06/09/2013