From Cecile Oreste of danceDC
Long before moving to DC and opening BTI Dance Institute on 14th Street, Alvaro Maldonado was a kid growing up in war-torn El Salvador. Free dance classes at the National Ballet School kept him away from the violence and gangs that surrounded him, and the lessons he learned in the classroom changed his life.
“I wouldn’t be able to be here without dance,” Maldonado said. “Dance transformed my life and I hope to use the power of dance to transform the lives of others.”
Inspired by his personal experience, Maldonado, who is also a nutrition consultant and co-owner of the personal training gym Fit on 17th Street NW, began to implement dance programs in his home country, and in other troubled areas of Central America. According to Maldonado, the goal of the program is not to create dancers, but instead to inspire students and provide them the tools needed to succeed in life.
He now brings this transformational outreach program to District schools and youth groups through BTI–Ballet Teatro Internacional–Dance Institute, which opened its doors on 14thStreet NW last weekend. He is the owner and artistic director.
In addition to its outreach programs, BTI Dance Institute has both an adult and youth dance training program. To promote its repertoire of classes and to test out the current schedule of its adult dance training program, the studio is offering free classes until Friday, July 23.
First time students and experienced dancers alike will have the chance to try a variety of free classes before regular rates go into effect this Saturday. They will also be able to purchase discount cards at reduced rates before Saturday the 24th.
Youth Program Starts in September
The success of the first few weeks of BTI is not only important to keep the studio going, but it is also key to building a solid financial base for its youth dance training program scheduled to start this September. Maldonado wants to train modern dancers through this program.
Students of BTI Dance Institute’s youth dance training program will take dance history and other relevant academic classes, as well as daily technique and modern dance classes. Graduates of the program will receive a diploma in contemporary dance concert performance and will be prepared to audition for modern dance companies all over the world.
Ballet Performance Workshop
Students interested in the training program and ballet dancers who have been out of practice may be interested in BTI’s Classical Ballet Performance Workshop with Elizabeth Wisenberg of the Stuttgart Ballet. The two week intensive workshop runs Monday through Friday 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, August 16-27. Total cost for the workshop is $190, but students can also pay for drop in classes with Wisenberg.
Dancers who participate in the workshop will take an hour of technique class and an hour of repertory to learn one of the well-known pieces from Swan Lake. The workshop culminates with a small performance of the Swan Lake piece for family and friends at the studio.
Maldonado noted that BTI is still working on its studio but hopes to complete everything over the next couple weeks. Classes will be adjusted and added to meet the needs of the studio and its clientele–but hip hop and flamenco fans will be disappointed to hear that these types of classes will not be included to the roster.
For more posts about dance in DC please visit my new blog, danceDC. – Cecile.