TADA Dance Studio Begins Fall Season

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TADA Director Aimee String surrounded by her students during Open House 2015.
TADA Director Aimee String surrounded by her students during Open House 2015.

By Terry Rogers

On Wednesday, August 26, TADA Dance Studio, located at 18 Southwest Front Street, held an open house to encourage enrollment in their dance classes. According to Susan Grant, President of the Board of Directors of Diamond Dance Company, the school’s season is just beginning with classes scheduled to start on September 14, 2015.

“TADA is the dance school affiliated with Diamond Dance Company,” Ms. Grant explained. “Students from TADA feed the productions of Diamond Dance. When the school began in 1999, we thought we would have around 25 students and, instead, we had 50. We have had up to 100 students in the school.”

Diamond Dance Company is the longest performing company in Milford. Ms. Grant said that in 1999, the school realized that there was a need to create a school where dancers could be trained. The school is named for the late Tatiana Akinfieva-Smith, a professional ballerina in Russia who taught dance in Delaware for many years. Many of the instructors at TADA were students of the famed ballerina, including co-founder Aimee String. Ms. Akinfieva-Smith died in 2011 at the age of 92 and a scholarship fund in her name is set up at the school to help aspiring dancers.

Auditions for the annual performance of The Nutcracker were held on August 22 and Ms. Grant said that there was tremendous turn out for those auditions. “We had 87 dancers try out which allowed us to double cast many of the roles,” Ms. Grant said. “It was far better than we expected and each year we set the bar higher.” Ms. Grant said that TADA works with a studio from Camden, On Point, to cast dancers in various roles. She said that TADA has more younger dancers while On Point has more older dancers, so working together helps fill out the cast of productions more evenly.

Ms. Grant says that anyone who wants to dance is accepted in the school, but not every student performs in The Nutcracker. One reason is that the school accepts dancers as young as four but dancers must be at least eight years old to participate in performances.

“Last year, I heard one of my favorite quotes about The Nutcracker,” Ms. Grant said. “A little girl told her mother that it was the first time she watched something on a stage and understood the story without them saying any words. That is what we strive for in dance.” Ms. Grant said that, although traditionally The Nutcracker is performed solely as a ballet piece, the Diamond Dance Company incorporates other dance styles as well.

In addition to their annual performance of The Nutcracker, which is normally held the first weekend of December at Milford High School, the dance company presents a spring performance. Ms. Grant said that their production of the Wizard of Oz, which they did three seasons ago, won an award for Best Choreography. In spring 2015, they performed the Tale of the Little Mermaid.

Instructors at TADA are highly trained professionals and some have college or professional dance experience. They all share a passion for dance and love educating tomorrow’s dancers. The staff is committed to teaching their students excellent dance technique in a loving, family-oriented environment. The instructors not only excel at dance, but also in their respective professions. Instructors at the school include teachers, elementary education specialists, public school administrators, healthcare professionals, justice planners and attorneys.

Classes offered at the school include Creative Movement, Ballet, Jazz/Lyrical and Tap. For more information about registering for classes at TADA, families can call 302-448-9445, visit their website at www.tada-ballet.com, email them at tadaballetdelaware@gmail.com or find them on Facebook.