2017-2018 Variations class in rehearsal. Photo by Dotted i Photography.
There is always a moment in childhood when the door opens to let the future in.
-Graham Greene
Ballet Arts Studio
Training dancers since 1961


         At Ballet Arts Studio, we focus on individual artistry and technical excellence, within a disciplined, respectful environment, not only to create professional dancers, performers and artists, but also to transform young people into confident adults who are critical thinkers with curious, imaginative minds.  Our students gain the resources needed to fulfill their potential, lead meaningful lives, and realize dreams.

        For sixty years, Ballet Arts Studio has been fulfilling that mission for children of all ages.  At Ballet Arts Studio, and the Dutchess Dance Company (our pre-professional dance company), we know that there is nothing that compares with conservatory-based dance training for teaching children and young adults the meaning, joy and fulfillment that comes from commitment and hard work--all in the context of the beautiful art form that is dance.  The value of our programs is measured each day, when the students see the results of that discipline, commitment and hard work in their own bodies and in their developing artistry.

      Founded originally as "Ballets Arts Foundation, Inc.", Ballet Arts Studio utilizes a progressive, modern and "American" approach to Agrippina Vaganova's ballet curriculum and technique.  Over the years, our program has grown to include The Dutchess Dance Company, focusing on professional-level performance experiences as a means to artistic growth and development.

      Ballet Arts Studio and The Dutchess Dance Company center around a complete approach to learning, individual growth, and technical and artistic development.  The faculty at Ballet Arts Studio and The Dutchess Dance Company nurture positive attitudes and attributes in students so that they can fully develop their personal and creative potential.  Welcome to Ballet Arts Studio and The Dutchess Dance Company, where children of all ages experience personal and artistic transformation.

Katie Bissinger
Artistic Director

Ms. Katie Bissinger teaching Preparation for Ballet in Studio I
Studios and Facility

Our school facility includes a performance-size main studio, a lower level studio and classroom, offices, waiting areas, and dressing rooms.  Both studios have fully sprung floors.

     Ballet Arts Studio and The Dutchess Dance Company are located in the thriving community of Beacon, New York.  In addition to shops, art galleries and an antiques district, Beacon is the home of Dia: Beacon Reggio Galleries, featuring one of the largest contemporary art collections in the world.


     Ballet Arts Studio offers both day and evening classes in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, theater dance, and adult ballet and tap classes.  Ballet training is emphasized, as ballet is the foundation for many forms of dance.  Private coaching and performance and audition preparation are also available.

 Class Placement 

     Students are placed in classes according to age, maturity, physical development, technical proficiency and experience.  Each class has a minimum age requirement, set both below in each class description.  Every year, the faculty assess and place each student in the class level that is best for that student's growth and progress.

Class Curriculum and Class Descriptions

    Classical Ballet
      Preparation for Ballet
is geared to three to five year olds who are just starting out on their journey into dance.  Dancers must be at least three years old on the first day of class to take Preparation for Ballet.  The class is designed to teach children a love of dance, encourage artistic creativity, and gently set the foundation for the discipline that is classical dance.  This class meets once each week.

       Lower School Ballet, Levels I through IV is generally designed for children ages five through 12.  Generally, dancers must be five years old on the first day of class to take Lower School I Ballet.  In these classes, large and small motor skills and coordination are developed using conservatory-level standards.  Students are introduced to the French vocabulary associated with ballet, and are also introduced to specific ballet steps utilizing proper ballet technique.  Creative and expressive movement, teamwork, music appreciation, and encouraging a love of movement are emphasized.  Depending on the class level, students study two or more times per week.

       Middle School Ballet focuses on dancers aged 12 and up, depending on ability, maturity and technical level.  The primary goals remain developing coordination and encouraging a love and appreciation of proper technique and of movement and music.  Class work continues to include the development of large and small motor skills and the French language vocabulary of ballet.  Students begin to learn more and more complex ballet steps using proper technique.  Students are introduced to specific expressive concepts of movement, and how to communicate through movement.  Multiple classes are offered, and students are strongly encouraged to take more than two or three classes each week. 

          Upper School Ballet focuses on teenage dancers, depending on ability, maturity and technical level.  The training continues to meet conservatory standards.  Progress is guided and measured by classroom evaluation and appropriate placements.  Students may work on more than one level simultaneously, or stay in one level for more than one academic year.  Multiple classes are offered, and students are encouraged to take class every day, and to take more than one class each day.

      Pointe placement is made following an individual assessment by the Director, in consultation with faculty members.  Dancers wishing to dance on pointe at Ballet Arts Studio must take a minimum of three ballet classes per week at the studio.  This requirement helps each dancer develop the strength and technique needed to safely progress on pointe. 

        Private Coaching and Audition Preparation addresses individual development with specific corrections and coaching.  Whether regular or occasional, private classes are an excellent tool for enhancing progress. Students who require audition choreography should speak with Ballet Arts' staff and faculty at least 12 weeks in advance of an audition date.


There are three levels of modern at Ballet Arts Studio:  Modern I, Modern II, and Modern III.  Dancers must be at least seven years old on the first day of classes to take Modern I.  Our modern classes focus on "off center" use of the legs, arms, spine , pelvis and head, as well as using weight in curves, spirals and floorwork.  Musicality, phrasing, and movement generated by a wide range of dynamic energy is emphasized.  Students will be introduced to key historical modern dancers and their movement styles, including Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Jose Limon (Humphrey/Weidman Technique), Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and Mark Morris, among others.  Ballet technique is important in this class, and all dancers MUST be taking at least one ballet class at Ballet Arts to take a modern class.


      There are three levels of jazz classes at Ballet Arts Studio:  Jazz I, Jazz II and Jazz III.  Dancers should be at least seven years old on the first day of classes to take Jazz I.  In the Jazz classes, students learn isolations of all body parts, turned-in and turned-out positions for the legs, and all fundamental and advanced (in the advanced classes) jazz movements, including the classic jazz traveling steps, turns, jumps and leaps.  The class emphasizes technical accuracy and performance quality in complex jazz combinations.  Ballet technique is important in this class, and all dancers MUST be taking at least one ballet class at Ballet Arts to take a jazz class.

    Theater Dance

      There are three levels of theater dance at Ballet Arts Studio: Theater Dance I, Theater Dance II, and Theater Dance III.  Dancers must be at least seven years old on the first day of classes to take Theater Dance I.  This class focuses on "Broadway" style jazz floorwork and technique for warm-up, but includes other jazz styles as well, including Luigi and Simonson techniques.  In center, the students explore classic Broadway dance repertoire, with an emphasis on legendary Broadway choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett.  Students are encouraged to incorporate acting and singing into their dancing, although these skills are not required to take the class.  Ballet technique is important in this class, and all dancers MUST be taking at least one ballet class at Ballet Arts to take a musical theater class.


      There are four levels of tap at Ballet Arts Studio:  Tap I, Tap II, Tap III and Tap IV.  Dancers must be at least five years old on the first day of class to take Tap I.  Tap classes at Ballet Arts present a unique combination of both Broadway and rhythm styles of Tap.  Students learn the fundamental building blocks of both forms of Tap, in the steps and the melodies and rhythms used in class.  As they advance, students are encouraged to add improvisation.

Lower School II dancers in Studio I


     Our faculty share a common professional background, as well as educational philosophy.  Our teachers and guest artists received their training and performance experiences in internationally recognized conservatories and dance companies, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, the Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, The Harkness Ballet, David Howard, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Washington Ballet, The School of American Ballet, the Merce Cunningham Dance School, and the Radio City Rockettes.  Together, they provide the highest quality dance training in a supportive environment that emphasizes communication and creativity between students and teachers.  Ballet Arts Studio is also proud to welcome guest artists and the diversity and fresh approach that they bring.  Click on the faculty member's name below to see that teacher's bio.

Classical Ballet and Pointe:  Katie BissingerAlex Bloomstein, Claire Deane, Deanna Ford, Miriam Mahdaviani, Jennifer Nathanson & Guest Artists

Modern Dance:  Claire Deane
Theater Dance: Katie Bissinger


Preparation for Ballet dancers and assistants in Studio I


    The Annual Showing of the Curriculum takes place in each class during December. Parents, family and friends are invited to take photographs and to videotape.  While posting photographs on social media and the internet is fine, we ask that no video be posted on social media or the internet.

   Winter Tidings
is the studio's informal December performance celebrating the holiday season. Dancers in selected classes from Lower School III and up are invited to participate.

     Our Spring Concert is the culmination of our dancers' training and work over the school year. For many years, we have been performing at Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, which provides high production value and the dancers the thrill of performing at a professional venue with all the glamour of a beautiful historic theater.       

   Studio performances
at Ballet Arts Studio provide an intimate atmosphere in which dancers can experience performance in a more informal setting.

     The Dutchess Dance Company performs during our Spring Concert, and at other venues and community events throughout the year.

Ballet Arts Studio Pre-Professional student Mimi Marchesona in the Bluebird variation.
Students’ Artistic & Academic Achievements

Ballet Arts Studio and the Dutchess Dance Company have provided educational guidance for students and emerging artists who have been accepted to the following nationally recognized schools, colleges, universities and dance companies.

Professional Schools

·The School of American Ballet (Official School of the New York City Ballet)
·The Ellison Ballet
·Ballet Academy East
·The American Ballet Theater School
·American Ballet Theater Summer Programs
·Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet
·SLK Ballet New York City
·University of North Carolina School of the Arts
·The Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
·The Juilliard School
·The Ailey School, the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
·Houston Ballet School
·Ballet Met
·The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory
·Kaatsbaan International Dance Center
·The Miami City Ballet Summer Program
·The San Francisco Ballet Summer Program
·The Boston Ballet School and Apprentice Program
·The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet Company
·The Berlin State Opera Ballet School (
Germany )
·Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Summer Programs
·The New York State Summer Schools of the Arts
·Walnut Hill School for the Arts
·The State Street Ballet Colleges
·Barat Conservatory
·Barnard College (High School Valedictorian)
·Boston College
·Brandeis University
·College of Saint Rose
·Columbia University
·Connecticut College
·Dean College
·Duke University (High School Valedictorian)
·Goucher College
·Hamilton College
·Ithaca College (Doctoral program in Physical Therapy)
·Mary Mount Manhattan College (Full artistic merit scholarship)
·Mercyhurst College
·University of Maryland (Full artistic merit scholarship)
·University of Michigan
·University of Massachusetts
·University of Pennsylvania
·Pennsylvania State University (High School Valedictorian)
·Point Park College (Presidential scholarship)
·New York University -- Tisch School for the Performing Arts
·Sarah Lawrence College
·Smith College
·The State University of New York at Purchase
·The State University of New York at Brockport
·University of the Arts (Presidential Scholarship)
·Vanderbilt University (High School Valedictorian)
·Vassar College (High School Valedictorian)
·Wake Forest College

Professional Dance Companies

  •  American Ballet Theater
  •  Dayton Ballet
  •  Les Grands Ballet Canadiens
  •  Pennsylvania Ballet
  •  North Carolina Dance Theater
  •  42nd Street on Broadway
  •  The Joffrey Ballet
  •  Smuin Contemporary Ballet
  •  Pacific Northwest Ballet
  •  The State Street Ballet
  •  Kansas City Ballet