Before auditions, workshops, intensives and performances, here are a few tips on how to have the most fun while looking, dancing and feeling your best

Where To Find Us

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Where To Find Us

We’re located at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 410 South Church Street, three blocks from downtown Grass Valley. Our studio is the Main Performance Hall. Moving to the new facility will be completed for the start of Fall Term on August 15, 2016. In addition, the studio’s Nutcracker sign ups will begin August 23rd.

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Dance News: HBC Fall 2016

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Dance News: HBC Fall 2016

  Holt Ballet Conservatory is currently accepting enrollment for Fall 2016, starting August 15th.  Classes in pre ballet (ages 3-5), Adult Ballet, Ballet I, II, III, pre pointe and pointe, partnering, and variations and contemporary ballet are offered. All curriculums are progressive and meet classical ballet professional standards. Enrollment includes opportunities to perform in “Clara and the Nutcracker” this December 10 and 11 and a full-length classical ballet in June 2016. Yelena Holt, owner and instructor of Holt Ballet, as well as former owner of Nevada County Ballet, developer of Bear River High School Dance Program, Dixon High School Dance Program, and founder of Nevada Union High School Theatrical Dance 1992 – 2011, guides all training, rehearsing and performing. Other HBC instructors include Jaycee Pratt (ballet IIb), Amy Schultze (pre-ballet, ballet III, ballet Ia), Kermit Allen (partnering and support), and Nora Heiber (romantic, classical, neoclassical and contemporary variations), and Amy Schultze (contemporary ballet). Our studio located at St Joseph’s Cultural Center 410 South Church Street, Grass Valley, is over 1,700 square feet of wood floors prepared with professional vinyl flooring, high ceilings, lots of light, and plenty of dressing room, lavatory, and prep room space. Enjoy our friendly atmosphere, inclusive student culture, and fun and effective instruction. Enroll online; major credit cards accepted; enroll by phone or in class. Spaces...

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Why Ballet?

Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Ballet is one of the most beautiful and inspiring art forms in the world. To see what the human body can accomplish when the human heart is determined and devoted teaches all of us over and over that persistence overcomes limitation every time. And yet ballet goes far beyond the awe of physical accomplishment. For most of us who love ballet, it goes deep inside, to our hidden spaces. Those spaces that get covered up with growing up. those spaces that were real in childhood and completely out of reach in the adult world. Those spaces that not only believe in magic, but know that magic is alive in the world. Ballet is magical! The beauty of the dancer’s body and its liquid movement, the music and its choreography, the costumes and sets, and the exchange of human energy — audience and dancer. I once had a dancer, under the pressure of filling in for the injured lead three days before opening, victoriously perform the role. When asked how she did it with so little time to prepare, she said, “I was so scared, but so excited, too; and even though I often couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do next, somehow I just was able to do it.  Some how I just knew what to do!” Magic! But this magic is accomplished with some real ingredients: “Real” hard work; “Real” good training; “Real” choices; “Real” commitment. It starts young, too.  Choosing a good school with excellent teachers who have credible training practices and policies. Working hard in class. Choosing a healthy lifestyle that includes right eating, getting sleep, keeping a balance of outside activities with dance activities. And at some point, choosing to go to class rather than go to something else.  There will be conflicts and opportunities from which choices must be made. The dancers we see on stage who inspire us to dream or believe, are the ones who walked that narrow road and chose ballet at every turn. But is ballet right for you or  your child? Well, it’s not a choice made all at once.  It’s lots of little choices, all along the way.  First, want to take that dance class.  “Mommy, can I take ballet lessons?” When the child asks over and over, then it’s time. Or, maybe the other way around and it’s mom or dad who say, “Let’s go see Sleeping Beauty or The Nutcracker. I’ll bet you’ll like ballet.” Many a child has been transported by the grace of Aurora or The Sugar Plum Fairy and dreams of someday being that beautiful creature herself. Or sometimes it’s just that the best friend is taking ballet lessons and now your little child wants to take them too.  And so, the ballet journey begins! Know that the excellent accomplishment of ballet is in the foundation. In the beginning of the journey. In the first five years. Those years when you are still making little choices as you go along.  The correct instruction at the barre with plie´, tendu, dégagé, rond de jambe, etc. will develop the muscles, tendons and bones, much like braces move teeth, slowly but surely, into a beautiful smile.  You want a knowledgeable and experienced teacher just like you want a knowledgeable and experienced orthodontist! Because whether you choose...

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Chosing a dance training style….

Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

From time to time I get an email similar to the one below. This email contains a very important question and one that needs a careful answer.   “Dear Mrs. Holt, My daughter enjoys your ballet classes tremendously, and she says they are really helping her. But I have a concern: My daughter is hoping to get into the intermediate dance level at her high school next year as a freshman.  She wants to continue taking your class throughout the spring, but some people have mentioned that Jazz classes would better prepare her for the high school audition than ballet classes. Maybe both would be best, but sometimes class times conflict. …..what is your opinion on this?”   I am an expert on public school dance programs.  I created and developed outstanding programs at three comprehensive high schools. For nearly 30 years I helped students aged 14 though 18 work towards making their dance dreams come true.  If a dream is modest, and only entails being part of a beginning level quality high school program, or at best an intermediate level program, then basic ballet and a good dash of jazz (contemporary, fusion) spiced with some hip hop from a credible jazz based community dance studio might do the job.  If the dream is ambitious, and entails competing for entrance into state and national critically acclaimed universities with a major in dance, or entrance into a pre professional or professional ballet or modern academy, then outstanding classical ballet training from a talented and experienced teacher must be the foundation and continued focus of study.   O.K. Now to the email and its question:  What is your daughter’s dream? How big is your daughter’s talent? Are you ready to “set that course” now or do you want to “buy some more time?”   I opened up a classical ballet conservatory because as a high school teacher I saw too many dance dreams destroyed. Students were lead to believe that recreational ballet or jazz and hip hop were all they needed to “be a dancer.” Even in an average quality high school dance program, the best-trained dancers will always be the ones who “get used” or get featured.  And if the program is jazz based and doesn’t focus on ballet, then it’s a dead end for dance dreams beyond high school.   Classical ballet is the foundation for building the dancer’s body. Jazz will give the dancer aggression, hip-hop is great for rhythm, but ballet builds the muscle structures that create line, strength, flexibility, musicality, and artistry.   Since I am a professional classical ballet instructor, I will always advise a dancer to keep up the quality ballet lessons.  But if your dream is to “just have fun,” then by all means, give up the ballet and focus on the jazz. But be prepared to see the more serious dancers get front and center every time a new dance is...

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Advice for Summer Intensives

Posted by on Jun 2, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Summer intensives are about networking and building a resume as well as having new experiences and getting comfortable with competing in the the larger world of ballet . If  you are getting ready to go away for a summer program soon, you will want to take as much away from that summer intensive as possible and come back a new and improved dancer in the fall! So what can you do to maximize your ballet summer intensive experience? 1.) Listen– It may sound simple, but you must listen and absorb everything that the instructors are saying. Most ballet summer intensive programs have guest teachers like Gelsey Kirkland or David Howard who are fountains of knowledge and experience. You don’t want to miss a word that they are saying as one small correction could make a world of a difference in your dancing! 2.) Write it Down– Keep a “dance journal”  to write down all of your corrections. Later you can look back at all of your corrections and see how much progress you have made. 3.) Focus– Remember that you are going to your summer intensive to dance. Have fun, and make friends with the fellow dancers but don’t let it get in the way of your education. Remember, you are there to dance! 4.) Embrace Change– Sometimes a summer program is not the perfect fit and you may find that you don’t like the technique or the teachers. In this case, do your best to stay positive and learn what you can from the experience. Sometimes it is beneficial to learn other styles or techniques to make you stronger in the technique that you do best. (example: classical dancer going to a Balanchine summer intensive) 5.) Make Connections – Remember to always try to look your best.  You not only had to audition to get into your summer intensive, you need to think of your time spent with your intensive teachers as a kind of audition in itself.  Show your openness to learn, your willingness to work hard, your strengths as a technical and musical dancer, and your ability to be a leader or a team player.  Your future boss could be in the room! Absorb everything you can from the new teachers you will be meeting and learning from this summer! 6.) Take Care of  Your Body – No sense working all day in class and not eating right or not hydrating during the day or staying up late at night.  You won’t perform well the next day.  Make sure you are confident about how to execute a step you may not have learned yet at home.  Especially if it is a jump or turn, take your time and slowly break it down before you try it full out.  No sense spraining your ankle on day one — it won’t heal before the workshop is over! 7. ) Keep a Positive Attitude – Remember why you dance! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake or have a bad class (or day)! Part of your learning experience is to see if you like dancing six hours a day. Are you still fascinated with learning all that you can learn about ballet! Come back confident that you have worked hard to be the the best...

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Selecting A Ballet Studio For Your Child

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Did your child dance in her crib; does she love twirling to music; is he a natural performer? Maybe they fell in love with ballet when they saw their first Nutcracker at Christmas. Whatever draws your child to ballet, finding the right school will make all the difference to their experience and future as a dancer. 1) One of the first things you’re bound to notice before even visiting a great school is the quality of the dancers they’ve already trained. How many students have gone on to receive scholarships and positions at various professional programs and colleges? Have any of their students become professionals in competitive cities? A little research and a few questions go a long way. 2) Once you have a clear idea of what results can be expected, the next thing that will surely stand out are the standards that created those results. When visiting the studio, notice if there is a defined curriculum and the teachers work as a team in training students from level to level. Are there clearly written requirements such as being well groomed, neatly dressed, and displaying good studio etiquette. Sweatpants and other loose, concealing clothing should not be allowed. Not only do high standards produce accomplished dancers, but they also help train for success beyond ballet. 3) Now that you know what your child can gain from training at this studio, it’s time to take a look at the studio itself. Are the ceilings high enough and the spaces large enough to accommodate high lifts and large leaps? Students have a hard enough time overcoming their body’s natural limitations; no sense having their environment hold them back as well. Ensuring the floors are sprung and covered with a non-slip surface will also prevent injuries and increase confidence, especially for pointe work. 4) Finally, asking to observe a class is a great way to see a teacher in action first hand. Notice if the dancers look prepared and excited while waiting for class to start. Are students attentive while training, do they work hard, do they look happy afterwards? Does the teacher have young students trying the same fancy turns and leaps that you see older kids doing, or are they being taught to master the basic movements that will eventually lead them to master fancy tricks as well? Are “talented” dancers allowed to wear pointe shoes before the body has developed the required bone structure (age 12)? Good ballet training improves the body and self-esteem. Unfortunately, poor training leads to bad movement habits and long-term injuries that keep dancers from gaining acceptance into university programs or companies, and potentially from being able to dance at all as they grow older. * An added note is to make sure your child’s potential school spends a majority of its time in the classroom. Placing emphasis on training is the only way to become well trained. Performing experience is valuable, and should be included in the curriculum, but too much time spent in rehearsal can be a distraction from building solid technique that enables a dancer to move from one level to the next. If normal class schedules are kept separated from rehearsals, this is a good sign that students’ futures are put ahead of the studio’s self-interests. In the end, the...

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Photo Shoot With Kristin Oliver

Posted by on Dec 7, 2011 in Blog | 0 comments

A recent article, from photographer Kristin Oliver, entitled An Afternoon With Ballet displays the final composition of her work with the dancers of Holt Ballet Conservatory and Director Yelena Holt. In the article, Kristin elaborates on her experience of the project, stating “In my conversations with Yelena, I was fascinated with her process … her thoughts on ballet as the foundation in dance training, developing dancers, the importance of an education in dance and the benefits of patience, tenacity, hard work, humility and celebration.” The recent collaboration between HBC and Kristin Oliver involved photographing dancers during rehearsals for an upcoming performance, for final display in Oliver’s gallery. Oliver interviewed Mrs. Holt after the shoot and merged words from the interview with the final work. The resulting art speaks eloquently on the subject of becoming a...

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