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31 MAY 2021 - END OF SEASON NEWSLETTER UPDATE
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During the past few months, we are extremely proud of the way that our entire Grace Academy community has shifted to a virtual way of learning. This new platform has allowed our dancers to continue to develop dance technique, while providing them with a sense of normalcy and a deep connection to community during this difficult time. Our staff, dancers and families have come together to show that we truly are “DANCE WITH A DIFFERENCE”!

FALL REGISTRATION

WELCOME!

We are looking forward to returning to the studio and sharing another wonderful year with our dancers and dance families! While the year ahead is going to look different than in the past, we will continue to offer everyone a studio that has strong sense of community, connection and caring, and will work together to keep our dancers safe.

We plan to be flexible and adaptable to change, as the Covid-19 pandemic and health protocols continue to evolve. We will communicate regularly with all of our families so that everyone is up to date on all that is happening at the studio.

PLEASE TAKE TIME TO CAREFULLY REVIEW THE ATTACHED COVID-19 SAFETY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES. CLICK HERE.

As always, Grace Academy is looking forward to continuing to develop a strong technical foundation in each of our dancers, while instilling a natural love of movement and creativity. This year marks our 18th year of excellence in dance! At Grace Academy, we are proud to offer the finest in dance and theatrical training, where students are given opportunity to learn in an environment of artistic and technical excellence. As one of Oakville’s only noncompetitive studios, we are proud to offer an environment that is caring, and where dancers learn to be encouraging, supportive and respectful of each other. Age appropriate syllabus work, music and costuming is chosen with great care so that parents can always be assured of the very best for their child!

We are proud to be members of the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association!

"I.D.E.A. schools adhere to a Code of Ethics for fairness, respect and integrity in business and the classroom. You will find a well-qualified and compassionate faculty and staff committed to providing your child with the highest quality dance education possible while helping them grow in the passion for dance and life."


REGISTRATION

NEW THIS YEAR! We now have a “Family Portal” system for our dancers to register. A link will be provided to each of our current families (and later added to our website) that will allow you to register each of your dancers in the class(es) of their choice. You will then receive an email acknowledging that your portal has been set up and a 2nd email acknowledging your class selections. At that time, we will review your class selections (to ensure you have chosen the correct levels) and then confirm your fees owing. To secure your place, a $75 nonrefundable deposit should be paid immediately, with the balance of 1st Term Fees due on August 28th. Please refer to the attached Fee Structure for all fee policies.

FEES ARE PAYABLE BY E-TRANSFER, CASH OR CHEQUE MADE OUT TO GRACE ACADEMY OF DANCE AND PERFORMING ARTS (Families paying by cheque MUST provide the studio with post dated cheques for each term)

If you are paying by cheques, these can be mailed to:
785 Pacific Road, Unit 1
Oakville, ON
L6L 6M3
(or dropped off through the slot on our front door)

This ‘Family Portal’ will be your place to look for monthly newsletters, class music, zoom links and fees owing as we continue through the year. Access will be through the studio website, please be sure to record your password.


TIMETABLE

The proposed timetable for the 2020/2021 season accompanies this letter. This timetable is subject to change based on registration numbers and any changes in COVID-19 protocols. Where there is insufficient registration for any class, this may be cancelled and an alternative given.

PLEASE NOTE: IN MOST CASES, A 15 MINUTE BREAK OCCURS BETWEEN EACH CLASS FOR THE CLEANING OF THE STUDIO. IF WE KNOW THAT 2 CLASSES WILL HAVE THE SAME STUDENTS (EX. GRADE 6 MODERN/ GRADE 6 HIP HOP), NO BREAK HAS BEEN ALLOTTED. WHEN REGISTERING ONLINE, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE FINISH TIME OF YOUR CLASS.

Students will be watched carefully to ensure that they have been placed in the correct level. Teachers will discuss this with the parents, should a problem arise.

Every effort is made to do only what will be of benefit to each individual child. Parents should remember that because dance is a physical activity all students will develop and progress at different rates.

At this time, in studio class sizes will be restricted to maintain physical distance and to keep within the gathering limits set by the Ontario Government (please refer to the attached Covid-19 Safety Policies and Procedures. Click here). To allow all of our returning dancers to have space in class, we will operate on a hybrid system. Dancers will be divided into groups and alternate dancing in the studio and at home on Zoom (in real time, along with the ‘in studio’ instruction). A schedule of groupings will be provided to dancers closer to the start of the season.

If you are uncomfortable returning to in person learning for any reason, dancers may also choose to learn exclusively at home on Zoom. If this is your preference, please indicate this on the ‘special needs’ section of your registration.


AGE RESTRICTIONS

MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS:

Ballet – 3 years by September 1st 2020
Tap– 7 years by September 1st 2020 OR 3 years of dance at Grace Academy – at Miss Knapp’s discretion
Musical Theatre – 7 years by September 1st 2020
All students must be taking one form of dance. Dancers will be divided based on age and dance level
Modern jazz – 6 years by January 31ST 2021 OR 2 years of ballet at Grace Academy
Junior Hip Hop - 6 years by September 1st 2020 AND taking Grade 1/2 or 3 Modern

- ALL STUDENTS wishing to enrol in hip hop MUST also be attending the corresponding modern class.

- Intermediate foundation ballet 1st year students must attend 2 classes of ballet per week in order to be considered for pointe work.

- Intermediate foundation ballet 2nd year students and above MUST be attending 2 regular ballet classes per week to work on pointe. Pointe work for IF 2nd year will be added to regular lessons to begin this year.

- We recommend that students in grade 1 ballet 2nd year and above attend 2 classes per week in order to progress through the level in 1 year (please discuss this with Miss Knapp if you have questions). Students who do not attend twice a week will not necessarily be ready to move ahead to the next grade level. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND ATTENDANCE IN 2 CLASSES A WEEK IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE A GOOD STANDARD.

- Musical theatre students must be taking at least one form of dance.

- Those interested in The Spirit Moves Christian Dance Company Pure Grace Performing Company should speak to Miss Knapp.


JUNIOR HIP HOP

This program was very popular last year, so we have decided to offer it as a full year program for the upcoming season! This class will be energetic, fast paced and exciting, and will provide an intro into the world of hip hop dance to our younger dancers. Dancers must also be enrolled either grade 1, 2 or 3 modern to participate.


THE SPIRIT MOVES CHRISTIAN DANCE COMPANY

The Spirit Moves Christian Dance Company was founded by Miss Knapp in the year 2000 and celebrated it’s 20th Season last year! While ‘stay at home’ orders prevented us from completing the year in our usual fashion of holding a fundraiser for a local charity, our dancers shared their talents in many churches throughout the year prior to this.

Using contemporary Christian worship music, dancers learn a large repertoire of choreography throughout the year. This year, practices will continue to be held every other Friday (with a schedule planned so that dancers are divided to ensure physical distancing within rehearsals). At this time, no performances are scheduled, but our hope is to assist some of our local churches by providing them with virtual performances to be used in their services. Families who participate in this program will be updated on any potential performances (as Covid-19 evolves) as they come up, and all performance participation will be optional.

This is a fabulous opportunity for your dancer to learn about giving back to others and to share their talents in a way that brings joy to those around them. If you are interested in learning more, please speak to Miss Knapp.


PURE GRACE - PERFORMING COMPANY

Our performing company, Pure Grace, had another incredibly successful season last year! Dancers grew both technically and artistically and had the opportunity to perform in a variety of venues in and around our community, and luckily squeezed in their final show in early March, prior to the start of Covid-19 in our area.

For safety reasons, most performance venues are closed until at least early 2021. Many of the gatherings that we usually perform at will also be running differently this year. To ensure that our dancers are safe, we will change how this program runs for the 2020-2021 season, but are excited to offer new challenges and learning opportunities.

Pure Grace is a non-competitive performance based company. It has always been a wonderful way for dancers to enhance their performance skills, while increasing their technique and knowledge of a variety of dance styles - and this will continue!

Pure Grace is offered to the serious dancer, who is committed to challenging themselves with new work, enhancing their technique, and performing at a high standard. While this is a non-auditioned group, dancers must attend a minimum of 2 ballet classes and 1 modern class per week in order to participate. The group is open to dancers enrolled in grade 2 ballet and above, and will be sub-divided according to dance grade level.

This year, Pure Grace rehearsals will focus on technique and skill development. Dancers will be challenged with movements above their regular class level and experience new styles such as contemporary, broadway, pointe work and leaps and turns. When possible, guest teachers will work with dancers over Zoom in the studio.

If and when safe performance opportunities arise (whether virtual or in person), dancers will have the option of participating. This will be presented and discussed on a case by case basis.

Rehearsals are currently scheduled for Sunday afternoons and times will be divided based on age/dance experience. The fee will change for this year only and will be the same as a regular 1 hour class, added to your term fees.

Space will be limited. If your dancer is interested, please speak to Miss Knapp to receive further details!

We hope that many of our dancers will consider this to be an incredible opportunity for growth - we are so proud of what our dancers have accomplished by being a part of this program and see an enormous change in them both technically and in performance standard.


MUSICAL THEATRE PROGRAM

We are extremely fortunate to have Natalie Spurrell as our vocal instructor for our musical theatre program (Bio can be found on in this letter). Natalie’ s high level of expertise ensures that your child will receive the best possible vocal instruction, while learning all aspects of musical theatre! You will find that other schools offer lip sync as their musical theatre instruction, or often focus on belting out songs with little technique and damaging young voices. We are proud to offer a real triple threat program that teaches excellent technique and performance!!

All of that said, group singing indoors is currently not allowed in our government regulations. As a way to continue to offer this excellent training and popular program to our dancers, all singing instruction will take place over Zoom. As with our other classes, we will run on a hybrid system. When dancers are in the studio, they will work on a broadway style of dancing and acting (maintaining physical distance) and while they are at home, they will work on their vocal training!

This program is open to dancers age 7 and above. Students must be taking one form of dance to attend this class, as we have found that dance training is extremely important in assisting the musical theatre students to learn their performance pieces.


ADULT CLASSES!

Have you always wanted to try a dance class? Did you dance as a child and miss the joy that it brings? Are you looking for a fun way to exercise? JOIN ONE OF OUR ADULT CLASSES!! As with all of our classes, you may opt to attend virtually only, or join us for a hybrid of in-studio and at-home learning.

We offer classes at the following times:
MONDAY 8:45PM TAP (for those with past tap experience)
WEDNESDAY 9:00PM JAZZ (beginners are welcome but also for those with past experience - incorporating jazz, lyrical and hip hop styles)
THURSDAY 9:15AM BALLET (appropriate for all levels of experience!)
THURSDAY 10:30AM TAP ( for beginners or those with 1 year of experience)
FRIDAY 9:15AM STRETCH AND TONE WITH JAZZ (for all levels)

Ask us for more information today!


FACULTY

Heidi Knapp (Owner and Artistic Director) is a Fellow and past examiner with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She holds qualifications that specialize in Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre Dance and Tap, as well as intermediate training in National Dance. In addition, to this, she holds a B.A. in Drama with a specialization in Stage Management.

Heidi is a firm believer that dance should be experienced by everyone. Her teaching experience spans close to 30 years and covers work in dance, drama and musical theatre with dancers aged 3 to 85! Heidi is the Director of the Spirit Moves Christian Dance Company, for which she was nominated for the Oakville Community Spirit Awards in 2005. She also teaches dance to seniors and is the choreographer for The Oakville Happy Tappers.

In November of 2017, Heidi received the Canada 150 Sesquicentennial Citizenship Award for engaging and inspiring youth in the community. Grace Academy was also recently nominated as small business of the year in the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence.

Heidi takes pride in offering dance to all ages and fostering creativity, a strong work ethic, integrity and a sense of community in all of her students. Grace Academy is very fortunate to have Sarah VanDuyvenvoorde on staff. She has been teaching modern, jazz, hip hop, tap and ballet for 27 years and is an Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Sarah also holds advanced certificates in ballet, modern, tap and national dance. For those of you new to the school – our dancers call Sarah “Mrs. Van Dunk” – a combination of her maiden and married name- and much easier to pronounce! Sarah brings creativity, energy and a genuine love of children to all of her classes! She is dedicated to excellence, and has been an important member of our staff since we opened!

Ali Daly also joined our staff in 2017. Ali is a Ryerson University graduate with a B.A in Creative Industries. She specializes in hip hop dance and has trained with various projects in Toronto including: O.I.P Dance Company, Professional division at BOSS Dance Company and is co-director of The Clique Dance Crew. Ali also co-produces a dance workshop and event series called The Industry Toronto. Ali has performed in Toronto showcases including: Fever After Dark, The Industry Season 2, Choreoball, The Dance Teacher Expo, Bazaar, The Beatdown, G.O.A.T Dance Competition and many more.

In 2018, Ali worked at da Costa talent management to continue to expand her knowledge of the performing arts industry. In 2019 she joined the team of the popular “Mini Pops" as a content producer and tour assistant.

Natalie Spurrell will return to work with the musical theatre class. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education, majoring in voice. She also recently completed her Masters in Music Education with Boston University. She is the owner and director of Spurrell Singing Studio in Oakville. She has directed many musicals and award winning choirs – most recently, the Spurrell Studio Choir was chosen to attend International Choral Kathaumixw in Powell River, British Columbia and received The Elmer Iseler Award for the best performance of an original Canadian choral composition. They have also achieved 1st place at Nationals with the FCMF (Federation of Canadian Music Festivals) and a gold standing at MusicFest Canada.

Dia Frid is our resident guest teacher, specializing in working with our older acting students.. Dia’s work as playwright, director, actor, teacher and coach has seen her work in a variety of educational institutions. These include the University of Toronto’s Erindale campus, Sheridan University, Ryerson University, Canadian Indigenous Theatre, Mayfield School of the Arts, The Creative Theatre Company, First Light Theatre Company as well as various schools in Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton. Most recently, Dia has created FridKids - taking classic children’s literature from ‘page to stage’ and allowing young people to perform and produce live theatre!


TERM DATES/HOLIDAYS

AUTUMN TERM: Saturday, September 12th – Monday, November 30th
WINTER TERM: Tuesday, December 1st – Sunday, March 7th 2021
SPRING TERM: Monday, March 8th 2021 – Saturday, June 5th 2021 (final day of classes to be determined once virtual performance dates are confirmed)

No classes will be held during the following holidays/special events:

Saturday, October 10th, Sunday, October 11th and Monday October 12th (Thanksgiving)

Monday, December 14th – Sunday, January 3rd inclusive (Christmas Break)

Friday, February 12th - Monday, February 15th inclusive (Family Day Weekend)

Saturday, April 10th - 18th inclusive (April Break, with the exception of Junior Hip hop (12:30pm) and Pre-Primary Ballet (1pm), which will run on Sunday, April 11th)

Friday, April 2nd – Good Friday

Sunday, April 4th – Easter

CLASSES WILL RUN ON THE SATURDAY OF EASTER WEEKEND and on EASTER MONDAY (April 3rd and 5th ) AS WELL AS ON MAY LONG WEEKEND (May 22nd-24th) AS USUAL.

In studio community building events and theme months will continue (although in a new way). Please watch for updates in your monthly newsletters!


UNIFORMS

Each style/level of dance has a uniform that is required for class, allowing the dancers and teachers to focus on the body alignment and technique needed to learn. Please refer to the attached list for the correct uniform. We ask that you check this list carefully. All uniforms, including shoes can be purchased from INSTEP ACTIVEWEAR in Oakville (905)844-4415/ www.instepactivewear.com . Please contact the Academy if you have any questions.

Students should attend class in the appropriate uniform with their hair neatly off the face. Buns are required from grade 1 ballet onwards; pony tails are appropriate for other subjects. No jewellery is to be worn to class. Older dancers should choose appropriate undergarments to wear under their bodysuits. Proper grooming is an important part of each dancer’s training and shows respect for the art of dance. PLEASE ENSURE THAT UNIFORM IS CLEAN AND IN GOOD REPAIR (NO RIPPED TIGHTS!)

THIS YEAR, NEAT AND TIDY HAIR WILL BE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT SO THAT DANCERS DO NOT FEEL THE NEED TO TOUCH THEIR FACE TO BRUSH HAIR OUT OF THE WAY.

HIP HOP DANCERS - Please make special note of the attached uniform list! In past years, we found that throughout the year, dancers gradually started coming in outfits that were not appropriate for class. While this uniform is more casual, it is important to take note of the requirements!

Dancers who have ballet and modern or tap classes that run back to back should wear convertible ballet tights and ballet bodysuits for their modern/ tap class (in place of black tights). DANCERS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CHANGE FULL UNIFORMS BETWEEN CLASSES THIS YEAR, BUT CAN CHANGE SHOES/REMOVE SKIRTS AS NEEDED

BALLET SWEATERS - Erica Gilby, our resident costume specialist has knit beautiful pink and lilac ballet sweaters that can be purchased for $30 for our younger dancers. Please ask Miss Knapp if you are interested!


GRACE ACADEMY DANCEWEAR!

Grace Academy jackets, tops and sweatpants will once again be available for purchase this year! Look for more information to follow by email and on social media - we will be ordering in mid September!


STUDENT AMBASSADORS

We are always grateful for the help of our older students in the little ones’ classes each year. This year, due to class size restrictions, in most cases, we will not be able to have student volunteers in the room with us. That said, we would like to have a schedule of ‘student ambassadors’ who are available to help us each night with supervising the arrival and dismissal of our younger dancers. Students who are entering grade 10 and above and are interested in volunteering their time, should email Miss Knapp for further details.

As protocols continue to change, we will attempt to have student volunteers join us in classes as well. Dancers age 12 and up who would be interested in assisting us if things change, should email Miss Knapp to have their name added to a volunteer list.


EXAMINATIONS

In some levels of ballet and modern, students are encouraged to take examinations with The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in their course of study. This occurs at the discretion of the director, and only when it is felt to be beneficial to the student. These examinations act as a method of measuring progress and maintaining a standard that is recognized internationally. They provide the dancer with the opportunity to work towards a goal and develop self confidence and presentation. Due to changes in the examination process during this time of Covid-19, we will likely not be offering examinations this year. We will continue to update you as the year progresses. Dancers will continue to work at the same level of excellence that we always offer, and will follow the syllabus of the ISTD in their work.


ABSENCES

Parents are asked to inform the studio if their dancer is absent for any reason. This is particularly important if their dancer falls ill for any reason.

Please remember that regular attendance is extremely beneficial to all dancers, allowing them to feel comfortable and perform at their highest level. Regular attendance on Zoom is equally important to in studio training.


YEAR END PERFORMANCE

Our year end performance is always the most exciting time of year for the dancers. Grace Academy prides itself on presenting a high quality, professional performance each year and feels that this is an extremely important part of our dancers’ training! Dance is a performance art and our year end production gives our students the opportunity to perform on a professional stage in a positive and educational atmosphere. Being a part of our production instills self confidence, responsibility, self discipline, co-operation and team work in all of our students. Dancers will also learn about theatre etiquette and various aspects of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ to create a production. And – it is a lot of fun and creates memories that will last a lifetime!

We were sad to have missed our performance this past year, and are very hopeful that all will run as normal in 2021.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MAY 30TH - JUNE 5TH 2021.

Details will be confirmed at a later date.

**Are you still reading this letter? We know it is long!! If you have read this far, keep reading and then send us an email to let us know you have read all the information - your name will be entered into a draw to winner a Chapters gift card!!! You must email us by August 10th! **


GRADUATES 2020

We are extremely proud of our 2020 graduates and want to wish them all wonderful days ahead as they move on to new adventures. Through such a difficult graduation year, filled with disappointment and uncertainty, this group showed strength and resilience. They learned to appreciate small blessings and overcome difficulties, and they became smarter, kinder and ready to face new challenges head on.

Congratulations to the following girls:
LARA ABDUL-JALIL
KIARA THERON
ALY PERICA
LEAH YOUNG
CATHERINE MADDOCK
GRACE CATON
KATE TAYLOR
BELLA POLESKY
SYDNEY HASSAN
MADALAINE RIVIGLIA
GRACE VIOLIN
JEMIMA CUMMINGS
GRACE MAY


LEAH BATTISTA MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

In November of 2017, we were extremely sad to have one of our Grace Alumni pass away suddenly. In her honour, we have established The Leah Battista Memorial Scholarship. This yearly award is presented to the dancer who most embodies Leah’s passion, energy, joy of dance and hard work, and is to be used towards the costs of their dance training. This year, it gave us great pride to present the Leah Battista Memorial Scholarship to Ellie McGowan-Hill at our virtual performance/graduation night in May. Through this award, and through a random acts of kindness initiative that takes place on her birthday each year (#bekind4leah), we hope to keep Leah’s memory and her legacy of kindness and giving alive at Grace Academy.


NUTS

Grace Academy strives to be a nut free environment. Please note that we do have dancers with severe nut allergies When sending snacks with dancers who have 2 classes in a row please do not send nut products.


RESPONSIBILITY

Grace Academy is proud to have had students who have shown kindness and respect for others at all times and is confident that this will continue in the coming year!

Please take time to review the COVID-19 SAFETY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES (click here) with your dancer and remind them of their responsibility in helping to keep our studio safe.

We are so grateful to all of our families for your continued support . We are taking every measure possible to keep our dancers and faculty healthy and safe. Thank you for doing your part to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.


PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS WAIVER

From time to time, we publish photographs of our dancers (on our website and in our advertising, on our Facebook/Instagram page or on our bulletin board). In doing this, we always ask for permission from families before materials are published. In order to make it easier for us to use any photos that are taken, we are asking that all families sign a waiver upon registration. Names will never be used without additional permission. (If you prefer not to have photos published, once you have set up your parent portal, you will have an ‘opt out’ option).


COMMUNICATION

Please do not hesitate to contact the Academy at any time with any questions or concerns that you may have. Good communication between Grace Academy and all of our dancing families is extremely important to us. Newsletters will be sent home on a regular basis to keep everyone up to date – please take the time to read these carefully. Newsletters will also be posted regularly on our this page as well as on the studio notice board.

Please remember to have a look at (and like!) our Facebook and Instagram pages. You will be able to find our page under Grace Academy of Dance and Performing Arts (facebook) and @graceacademyofdance (instagram).

Watch here for interesting dancing facts –beautiful pictures – inspirational quotes and more! We will share Grace Academy news and important reminders throughout the year and, it will be your first place to look in case of a “snow day”!

We do ask that you please continue to use our email graceacademy@sympatico.ca and phone number, 905 338-0210 to communicate with us for all questions and information that you need us to be aware of. We may not be on Facebook/Instagram page daily! In addition, please remember to read all the newsletters that are sent home, as full details will not always be posted on the Facebook page.

During class time Miss Knapp carries her cell phone with her so that she may contact parents if a child is ill. If you need to reach your dancer (or their teacher) in an emergency you may call this number (905) 301- 9409. Please do not use it to contact the school on a regular basis as it will interrupt class time. Messages can be left at the Academy’s regular number (905) 338 – 0210.

WE WELCOME YOU TO A WONDERFUL YEAR AHEAD!

Archived News

MARCH NEWSLETTER UPDATE 2021
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MARCH NEWSLETTER 2021
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FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER 2021
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JANUARY NEWSLETTER 2021
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DECEMBER NEWSLETTER 2020
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