Dancer’s

Handbook

Updated September 2022

Who We Are

Welcome to the Grace family!!!  According to the dictionary, grace is:

  1. simple elegance or refinement of movement
  2. courteous goodwill
  3. the free and unmerited favor of God

We want our organization to be known by all three!  We want our dance to be graceful, we want to treat each other with grace, and we want to use our gifts and talents for the God who freely gave them to us.

Established in 2008 as a pure and modest dance training alternative, Grace became a New York State 501c3 non-profit organization in 2015.  Our mission is to provide a safe place for young people in our community to receive excellent, affordable training in dance.

Because ballet is the foundation for all good dance technique, we specialize in the art and discipline of ballet. We focus on the heart of the artist — training not just good technique, but good character as well. We also enjoy training up young people and empowering them to become teachers themselves.

Our nine month program runs September through May and includes classes in all dance genres, a Christmas performance and a Spring performance. During this time there are also additional performances by Grace Company (students from our upper level classes). In the summer we hold Mini Classes, Arts Camp, Master Classes and a Ballet Intensive.

Because we want every child to have access to excellent arts training regardless of their financial status, we keep our tuition costs affordable and offer reduced tuition scholarships for qualified families.

In 2018 we moved to our new location in downtown Arcade, enabling us to expand our programs for the kids in our community.  We now have a dancewear store on site (saving our families a trip to Buffalo for their dancewear needs) and a tea and coffeehouse (providing a place to be refreshed for our dance parents and the community).  These two additions help support our arts programs, but we also welcome support in the form of volunteer help and tax deductible donations.  

We appreciate your support. and hope you will be blessed by being a part of the Grace Family!!

What we Offer

Grace Dance --

Grace students often learn and rehearse with people of multiple ages and skill levels, and everyone is cheered on for the progress they make, by the teachers and more importantly - their fellow students.  We live up to our name - being gracious and honoring to all as God's unique creations. Over the past ten years, we have developed a detailed technical curriculum that emphasizes excellence, while maintaining an encouraging, non-competitive atmosphere.

Our Core Classes (Ballet/Worship-based) are named after gemstones, to emphasize that each student is a treasure to God, to their families, to their communities, and to us.  No class or student is more special or more important than any other!   At the same time, we also seek to teach high-quality ballet in a safe environment that encourages students to work hard and progress naturally by levels.  

Our upper level ballet classes make up the Grace Company and perform as a ministry dance company apart from our dance school performances.  

We also offer Elective Classes in Tap, Jazz (Praise Jam), and Lyrical for ages 9+ as well.

Other Programs --

Beyond our 9-month dance programs, Grace Worship Arts, Inc. also offers you several other programs throughout the year, such as:

Please contact us if you are interested in more information on any of these programs.

Curriculum

Our Core Classes provide a solid foundation in our own unique blend of classical ballet and worship dance.  We place each student in a class that is most appropriate to their level of skill, natural aptitude and experience.  Age guidelines are approximate in this way, as we truly cater to each individual to give them the best opportunity to advance and progress.  Our classes are comprised of stretching and warm-up, prayer, barre work, center work, across the floor combinations, individual critique and group exercises.

Core Ballet Classes with Basic​ ​Ballet​ ​Expectations​ ​for​ ​Advancing

Grace​ ​Worship​ ​Arts,​ ​Inc.

Master​ ​List​ ​/​ ​Curriculum​ ​Goals​ ​developed​ ​by​ ​Carolyn​ ​Fisher -

   

Diamonds:

Emeralds:

Rubies:

Rubies​ ​is​ ​open​ ​to​ ​a​ ​wide​ ​range​ ​of​ ​ages​ ​and​ ​skill​ ​levels.​ ​​​Older​ ​beginners​ ​will​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​more quickly​ ​learn​ ​the​ ​skills​ ​normally​ ​taught​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Diamond​ ​and​ ​Emerald​ ​levels,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​will​ ​be encouraged​ ​to​ ​try​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​more​ ​difficult​ ​skills​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Amethyst​ ​level.​​​ ​Those​ ​aspiring​ ​to​ ​a higher​ ​level​ ​of​ ​commitment​ ​and​ ​ballet​ ​technique​ ​are​ ​encouraged​ ​to​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​our summer​ ​classes,​ ​ballet​ ​intensive,​ ​and/or​ ​private​ ​lessons​ ​to​ ​advance​ ​more​ ​quickly.​ ​​ ​Those desiring​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​at​ ​a​ ​more​ ​recreational​ ​level​ ​of​ ​dance​ ​are​ ​welcome​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​in​ ​this​ ​class.

 

Please note:

Because ballet class levels typically take multiple years to complete, students who advance within their level will be moved up within their level of study, being challenged in skill and in leadership.

 

Grace​ ​Company​ ​Level​ ​Classes

Our​ ​upper​ ​classes​ ​are​ ​intended​ ​for​ Grace ​Company.​ ​​This​ ​means​ ​that​ ​we​ ​expect​ ​students​ ​who train​ ​at​ the ​Amethyst,​ ​Sapphire​ ​and​ ​Pearl​ ​levels​ ​to​ ​not​ ​be​ ​there​ only for themselves​ ​or​ ​for​ ​recreation but​ ​to​ ​represent​ ​Grace​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​our​ ​ministry​ ​team.​ ​​Company​ ​Members​​ ​are​ ​expected​ ​to​ ​take summer​ ​classes​ ​and​ ​participate​ ​in​ ​our​ ​Ballet​ ​Intensive​ ​whenever​ ​possible,​ ​and​ ​to​ ​prioritize ministry​ ​opportunities​ ​as​ ​they​ ​become​ ​available.

Upper​ ​level​ ​classical​ ​ballet​ ​students​ ​study​ ​their​ ​art form​ ​at​ ​least​ ​two​ ​days​ ​per​ ​week​ ​for​ ​their physical​ ​safety​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​a​ ​healthy​ ​progression.​​​ ​Not​ ​everyone​ ​can​ ​or​ ​should​ ​commit​ ​to​ ​this level​ ​of​ ​training.​ ​​Non-company​ ​dancers​ ​are​ ​equally​ ​valuable​ ​and​ ​should​ ​be​ ​proud​ ​to​ ​enjoy mastering​ ​their​ ​own​ ​personal​ ​expression​ ​in​ ​our​ ​other​ ​classes.​ ​​Several​ ​​Support​ ​Members​​ ​are also​ ​needed​ ​and​ ​are​ ​welcome​ ​to​ ​join​ ​our​ ​company​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​their​ ​gifts​ ​of​ ​administration, design,​ ​service,​ ​ministry,​ ​writing,​ ​choreography,​ ​song-writing,​ ​singing,​ ​acting​ ​and​ ​other​ ​dance styles.

If​ ​older​ ​students​ ​choose​ ​to​ ​be​ ​less​ ​committed,​ ​they​ ​are​ ​welcome​ ​to​ ​train​ ​with​ ​Rubies.​ ​​Also, younger​ ​students​ ​at​ ​any​ ​level​ ​can​ ​apply​ ​for​ ​some​ ​role​ ​in​ ​the​ ​company,​ ​with​ ​the​ ​understanding that​ ​they​ ​will​ ​most​ ​likely​ ​be​ ​​Jr.​ ​Company​ ​Members​,​ ​only​ ​called​ ​upon​ ​as​ ​needed.​ ​​ ​Similarly,​ ​a more​ ​advanced​ ​student​ ​who​ ​cannot​ ​commit​ ​to​ ​the​ ​company​ ​fully​ ​may​ ​be​ ​allowed​ ​to​ ​attend​ ​the upper​ ​classes​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Jr.​ ​Company​ ​Member​ ​(if​ ​approved​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Director).  

Grace​ ​Company​ ​is​ ​all​ ​about​ ​teamwork.​ ​Company​ ​Members​ ​must​ ​understand​ ​that​ ​they​ ​are​ ​here to​ ​serve​ ​the​ ​Lord​ ​with​ ​their​ ​gifts,​ ​to​ ​support​ ​each​ ​other​ ​and​ ​the​ ​vision​ ​of​ ​our​ ​ministry.  

 

 

Amethysts:

 

Sapphires:

Amber

Pearls​ ​(en​ ​pointe):

Electives

Tap

Tiny Tap (ages 3-5) Dancers should be able to correctly execute the following steps:

Jr Tap (ages 6-9) Dancers should be able to correctly execute the following steps:

Intermediate Tap  Dancers should be able to correctly execute the following steps:

Advanced Tap Dancers should be able to correctly execute the following steps:

Jazz

Tiny Jazz Dancers should be able to correctly execute the following steps:

Jr. Jazz Dancers should be able to correctly execute the following steps:

Intermediate Jazz Dancers should be able to correctly execute the following steps:

Advanced Jazz

Dress Codes and Costumes

At Grace, we do everything we can to keep things affordable, while also providing excellence in quality instruction and performance.  We purchase items in bulk for low cost resale in our Dancewear Store, and shop a variety of sources for our rental costumes.

Ballet Class Attire

Great care has been put into forming a Dress Code that is both modest and safe for ballet class. Classical ballet requires discipline. One of the key areas of discipline each dancer must learn is how to dress for class. This is a life skill that will help students be ready for leadership, ministry positions, sports, and the workplace.

Color Codes by Class Level:

Diamonds (ages 3-5)

Emeralds (ages 5-9)

Rubies (ages 8+)

Amethysts (9+ as approved)

Sapphires (12+ as approved)

*For girls: if an extra layer is desired for modesty, black spandex or bike shorts may be worn underneath ballet skirts, and a black form-fitting tank top may be worn over your leotard.  Delicate floral prints or watercolor ballet skirts may also be allowed - ask your teacher!

Elective Class Attire (jazz, tap, mini-classes)

For these programs basic dancewear is acceptable in a variety of formats, as long as they are modest, clean and neat, free from wording, slogans or images, (other than Grace T’s) and acceptable to the teacher.  

** we have many pictures and videos online!  Consult these first to get a better idea of what our students wear to class.

Costume Rental (fee due in January)

We currently are able to offer totally free costuming for participating in mid-year performances, such as at local events, church services, and the Nutcracker.

Core (Ballet) Classes:

For our Spring Performance (recital), we charge a simple rental fee that INCLUDES a full costume, brand new recital tights for the student to keep, and typically a hair accessory as well.        

Over the past few years we have invested in a wide variety of costumes and dancewear that expresses our values of modesty and simple beauty.

** Check out our photos and videos online for a better idea of what our shows look like!!

 

Elective Costumes:

 

*Elective class rental/purchased costume fees vary from class to class, but are typically less than the Core Class costume rental fees. We often borrow, use commonly worn items that can be worn again in everyday life, or buy inexpensive mix and match items for these dances.

How do we operate financially?

 

You may have noticed our tuition prices are substantially lower than most dance classical ballet or area dance studios.  This is possible because of the many volunteer hours that are put in by our leaders, as well as those from the community who support our non-profit organization financially, and by giving of their time to volunteer.

 

Though we are a non-profit organization, we operate by sound financial principles to ensure we always have our needs provided, plus some surplus to maintain and grow our assets.  We always aim to be wise and prayerful in our business dealings to be good stewards, by which we are able to improve and expand our programs.

 

If you have any questions about our school’s finances, if you would like to connect us with resources, or have it in your heart to support us financially in some way, you may stop by the studio whenever we are open, or contact us.

 

Tuition and Payments

Our Core Program runs from September through May, and for your convenience we allow 9 monthly payments, or a discount for paying all at once, up front.  

We also offer scholarships to qualifying low-income applicants, providing they are faithful to volunteer, attend class regularly, be respectful and follow the rules, and cover their portion of expenses such as our 3 one-time fees throughout the year and classwear.

 

Important Payment Information: 

Tuition payments are collected at the first class of the month.  Payments can be made in person at the studio by cash, check or debit/credit card via Square.  There is a small convenience fee for Debit/Credit card transactions.

 

Tuition not received in full by the 15th of the month will be assessed with a $5 late fee. 

 

If at any time your account balance becomes a burden to you, please do not hesitate to talk with us about it.  Our heart is that no dancer should have to quit based on finances alone.  We have scholarships available from time to time, and other ways to help.  Please see Rebecca as soon as your need arises, and we will do what we can to help.

Discounts

Pay ahead Discount -- To receive one month free -- pay your total yearly tuition before November 1st.  This is a discount of over 10%!!

Family Discount                                 Multiple class Discount

2nd student 10%                                2nd class 50%

3rd Student 10%                                3rd class 50%        

4th Student 10%                                4th class 50%

Scholarships -- A limited number of tuition scholarships are available each year to those who qualify by income level and their willingness to support our school through regular (monthly or weekly) volunteering. Applications are taken in the fall, and are approved sometime in October as funds become available through our Gracetoberfest Chicken BBQ.

One Time Fees*:

Conveniently spaced apart for you, these fees are due only once during each calendar year, so you can plan ahead, and not have them all sneak up on you at once.

See website for current pricing.  

Class Guidelines

What to Bring

 

Please bring a willing heart, your prayer requests, and a water bottle to every class!  Students are not excused repeatedly to get drinks from the fountain, as valuable class time is interrupted.

 

Students will want to have a dance bag to carry their shoes, etc. to class.

When to Arrive

 

Arrive to class early so that your dancer is ready when class starts.  They need time to change to class dress, put on their dance shoes, and get situated before class begins.

 

Please be sure your student uses the bathroom before class.  When one student leaves, it affects the focus and learning environment, especially as much of our work is done in groups.

Practice at Home 

Dance is a full body workout that requires regular training to retain and grow.  Please encourage your student to stretch at home every day, to work on their basic positions, movements and combinations, and practice choreography as songs are being learned.  Our teachers are always willing to help if your child does not know what to practice, just ask!

** see Code of Conduct

Our Founder and Director

Rebecca Laird is the founder and director of Grace School of Dance and Grace Worship Arts, Inc, along with her husband Scott. She provides leadership for all areas of the school, volunteering her time and expertise in many areas.  Her responsibilities include overseeing the teachers, caring for parents and families of the school, marketing, administration, costume and recital oversight.  

Our Assistant Director

Cindy Zeis has worked with Grace for many years. She started out as the Worship Ministry Leader and has moved into teaching and assisting Rebecca with her duties.  

Our Teachers

 

Primary Ballet Instructor, Carolyn Fisher has pursued extensive dance training with a passion and discipline that is a rare thing in today’s world.  She is a life-long Christian who has embraced the challenges in her life as a gift to bring her closer to God.  She has assisted, taught and  choreographed for several years now, in many dance styles. Currently she teaches our upper level ballet, pointe, Advanced Jazz, Advanced Tap and Lyrical as well as overseeing the dance instruction of the entire school.

Rebecca Laird Along with directing our school, Rebecca also helps with teaching as needed.

Cindy Zeis Along with acting as assistant director Cindy fills in as the Diamonds level ballet teacher  She also works with the upper level ballet classes as the Worship Ministry Leader.  

 

Hannah Camiolo has been dancing with Grace since she was 7 and she has excelled in ballet and also takes Advanced Jazz.    She teaches our Emeralds and Ruby level ballet classes as well as Intermediate Jazz.    

        

        Joelle Zeis has been dancing with Grace  since she was 6.  She has taken                       all genres of dance.  Joelle teaches our Tiny Tap/Jazz Combo class and

        assists with Jr. Tap and Jr. Jazz

        Grace Quant has been dancing with Grace since she was 2 years old.  She

        has taken all genres of dance for many years.  She teaches the Jr. Tap

        Class.  

        Abigale Schwartz has been dancing since she was very young and joined

        Grace when she was 10.  She teaches our Jr. Jazz class.  

Support Teams

Lori Camiolo gives of her time and talents to oversee student accounts. She volunteers her time along with Rebecca to serve on our Financial Team, sharing their combined years of education and experience in accounting and business to give our school a strong financial foundation. James Issacson (CPA) takes care of our bookkeeping needs. 

Scott Laird and Robert Schiefer act as the overseeing pastor and board members of our non-profit organization.  They provide wisdom and expertise, help with financial decisions, pray for and support our ministry.

Cup of Grace Team -- many of our parents, students, and adults from the community have trained and are serving as hosts, baristas (crafting hand-made specialty beverages!), cleaners, and cashiers. We are indebted to them for all they do to support our organization and help it run smoothly!!

**Many of our staff (including our directors and support teams) are strictly volunteers -- they give their time, energy, creativity and talents to our organization, and serve the Lord, in order to keep things more affordable for you.  We ask that you always go out of your way to respect their time and support them in what they do.  Always seek out our own answers first by checking online, reading our written materials sent home or by text/e-mail, reading this handbook, and by asking other mentor moms/dads. Also please don’t hesitate to ask how you can help if you have a problem-solving idea.

Volunteer Positions

We ask every family to support the school in some sort of volunteer position.  

Please sign up for one or more of the following areas to help:

Mentor Moms/Dads – help new dance parents to feel comfortable & informed.

Fundraising – help with Gracetoberfest by selling tickets, preparing side dishes at the local church kitchen, serving, and clean-up.  Every family please sell 10 tickets!

 Dance Moms/Dads – help us honor birthdays, provide care backstage, etc.  

Costumes – help us organize, order, steam, distribute and try on costumes.

Sewing – we have many mending and sewing projects throughout the year.

Building Maintenance and Cleaning – we are always in need of small repairs, improvements, and studio cleaning.  This can often be done during class time while you are here anyway bringing your child to dance.

 Hosts / Servers / Cashiers / Baristas – there is always room for you on our Cup of Grace team!  We ask for a commitment of one 3-4 hour shift per week, so we know we have a strong team.  There are also “step in” positions that require less training, for example: washing dishes when we need help getting caught up, tidying the dancewear store, etc.

 Please let us know if you are willing to serve in another area, or where needed.

Parent Agreement

I give my parental consent for my child(ren) to participate in the programs of Grace Worship Arts, Inc.

You must be 18 years or older, and be the legal parent/guardian of the child you are registering.  

Grace parents agree to familiarize themselves with all:

whether outlined here or on our website (http://graceworshiparts.com), and to respond to and abide by these. 

I agree to openly communicate with the teachers, to not interrupt class time, and to handle any difficult moments with as much grace as I can, considering others.

 

I agree to always pay promptly or make other arrangements with the Director.  I understand that Grace Worship Arts is a family and that we all work together or it doesn't work.

ATTENDANCE POLICY

Grace students must agree to attend class regularly in order to progress themselves, and enable the group to advance as well.  Dance is not an individual endeavor-every student's involvement and attitude affects the entire team!  Attendance is taken at every class.

ABSENCES:

Your goal is to make sure your student is present at every class, or to inform the class teacher directly if your child will be absent.  Excused absences for illness, or schedule conflict are not to exceed 3 per year (or 5 per year for 2x/week classes).  If a student does not meet these attendance standards, they may be asked to make up their training by private lessons with our teachers, at their own expense.  Most importantly, please be aware that teachers will need to reduce their stage time or remove them from a dance altogether if they are not adequately prepared.  Thank you!

CLASS CANCELLATIONS:

If classes are canceled or your student has an approved absence (such as for a school concert), you are welcome to request a make-up class at no charge, by contacting the teacher(s) for permission to attend a similar class that is offered that month.

STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT

I agree to review the Code of Conduct (found in the Student Handbook) with my child and actively encourage and support them in holding to the standards therein.

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

I understand that there are certain risks inherent to dance training, and we agree not to hold Grace Worship Arts, Inc. and its teachers responsible for any injury that may occur as a part of typical dance program activities.  

I accept that common dance-related injuries such as: FOOT AND ANKLE INJURIES, TENDINITIS, HIP or KNEE INJURIES, and STRESS FRACTURES may occur as a part of my child's training, even though precaution is taken to avoid this.

I further release GWA and its teachers from any injury that may occur due to negligence.  I have been informed that Grace Worship Arts, Inc. has a Safety protocol in place that is reviewed yearly by all teachers.  

I agree that my student is also expected and responsible to follow the Code of Conduct (including Dress Code and Behavior) in order to best avoid accidents and injury.

PAYMENT POLICY

REGISTRATION FEES are non-refundable.

TUITION:

This is a full year program, paid for all at once, or in 9 payments (September - May).  

Tuition is discounted if paying for the full year at once, by October 31st.

Tuition is due on the first class of each month, if paying monthly.

A late fee will be added to any accounts not paid in full by the 15th of each month.

TUITION is non-refundable, but agreement can be discontinued by following these simple steps:

WITHDRAWAL:

This agreement is for the full dance/school year.  Parents wishing to withdrawal their child from classes must:

1. inform the studio before 5th day of the month on the month you wish to withdraw.

2. do so in writing by e-mail to both the teacher AND director.

TUITION WILL BE CHARGED and the parent will need to continue paying tuition until the letter is received and is processed by our Student Accounts personnel.  Please allow 10-30 days for your withdrawal request to go through, so you will not be billed unnecessarily.

By signing you agree to all of the above

Parent/Guardian Signature_______________________________________Date_________

Code of Conduct

As a student of Grace…

I will do my best to arrive at class early, and be ready when class begins.

 

I will follow the Dress Code for my class, without having to be reminded by my teachers.

For my safety and others, I will not chew gum in class, or wear dangly earrings, bracelets or jewelry.  I understand that I may be asked to sit out if not dressed properly & modestly.

 

In class, I will help others, do my best at all times, listen quietly and show respect.  I will ask permission to leave the class, will not wander the hallways or go outside the building without supervision.  I will wait in the classroom until my parents come for me.

 

I will be an encourager, a helper, a friend, and a strong part of this team.

 

I will attend class each week, or let my teacher know in advance why I cannot come.  I will not miss more than 3-5 classes for the year (prolonged illness or emergencies will be considered by the teacher).  If I do not attend regularly, I understand that I may need to drop the class or move to a lower level class.

 

For Saturday practices, I understand that I need to be in attendance because my presence affects the other dancers, positions, and the teacher’s ability to teach choreography to the group.  If I miss more than 2 rehearsals, I will need to schedule an additional lesson, and offer payment to the teacher to make them up.  I will make this a priority in my schedule.

 

I will communicate with my teachers and my parents/guardians, making a good effort to pass along any important messages so that we are working well together.

 

For Parents:

 

I agree to actively support my child to reach the standards written here.

 

I agree to openly communicate with the teachers, to not interrupt class time, and to handle any difficult moments with the best grace that I can, considering others.

 

I agree to always pay promptly or make other arrangements with the Director.  I understand that Grace School of Dance is a family and that we all work together or it doesn’t work.

I will / will not allow photos of my child  to be used for publication. (circle one)

I will / will not allow my child’s first name to be published with their photo. (circle one)

Student:____________________________ Parent/Guardian____________________________

Revised 9/1/22