2020-2021 School Year

Letter from Michelle Manzanales (Director, School of Dance)


Dear Ballet Hispánico Familias,

We miss you. It is hard to believe that it has been well over 100 days since the School of Dance paused in-person classes in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. In these past months, much has happened, and our world has forever changed. One thing remains the same however, like the previous 50 years, Ballet Hispánico remains a beacon of hope for so many. The mission of our work shines brighter than ever before, and we remain committed to providing excellent dance training and a place where we can come together (even if it has to be virtually) to celebrate, learn, and commune through the art of dance.

It is with great anticipation and excitement that we announce that registration for our School Year 2020-2021 has opened! We know that many of you may have questions and concerns. Hopefully this letter will help to answer some of these, as well as the listings in Mindbody, but as always, please reach out to school@ballethispanico.org for additional support.

During this time of change and uncertainty, there are two things we know for sure, 1) that School Year 2020-2021 will look different (changes to our teaching/learning methods, changes in how our events and performances look, the way we function in our building, etc) and 2) that Ballet Hispánico will do everything in its power to continue inspiring our students and providing them with excellent, transformative dance training.

Although we are all anxiously waiting for COVID-19 preventive solutions and to get back to some kind of normalcy, we must plan accordingly as our wait continues. We encourage families to read through the information provided thoroughly and make the best decision for your household prior to registering.

Topics covered below:


Is School Year 2020-2021 happening?

Yes, we will hold the 2020-2021 School Year, even if that means some online learning!

After our closure of classes of the 2019-2020 School Year in March, our organization has worked diligently to be prepared to continue our mission in reimagined ways so that our students’ dance education will not have to be interrupted again by the state of the pandemic. Ballet Hispánico remains committed to continue closely monitoring developments of COVID-19 along with the safety and health regulations mandated and suggested by our local, state, and national government. Plans are in the works and will continue to evolve as more information becomes available.

To ensure that our students can have a fulfilling virtual learning experience, we have extended our teaching practices, offered training to our teachers and staff, and put these practices into action through the June classes we offered and July Summer Programs. Through feedback from our students, faculty, staff, and other colleagues in the field, we feel prepared and confident for more virtual learning as needed during the 2020-2021 School Year.

How does this affect the program I am in? Are there any other changes in my program for School Year 2020-2021?

Los Pasitos: Early Childhood Program (Ages 2-5)

We have made the decision to offer a VIRTUAL Fall mini-session September 21-December 12, 2020. There will be no in-person learning for this age group in the Fall. Knowing that we will most likely still need to practice social distancing through the Fall, the concern of early childhood age students wearing masks (especially while exercising), amongst other concerns, has led us to this decision.

Over the summer, we pioneered our first ever online Early Childhood Camps: Virtual Los Explorers. Our campers had a blast and so did our teachers and staff.

We will open a second mini session of Los Pasitos class offerings that will run January - June, 2021. More details to come later this Fall, once we learn more about how COVID-19 will continue to evolve.

Encuentros: Open Program (Ages 6-18) & La Academia: Pre-Professional Program (Ages 7-23)

The need for our students to connect and the emotional & physical outlet dance provides our students was highlighted over these past months in a way that we had never seen before in our 50 years as dance educators in the field. We had no idea when we started online classes in June, how the students would respond. The response was overwhelming and reaffirming that we must do all we can to continue to offer this outlet for our community! Please take a moment to read through some of the statements we collected from students and parents that participated in online classes this summer at the end of this letter.

Registration is now open for the entire school year for both Encuentros and La Academia. With the reality of the uncertainty we all face around COVID-19, we are moving forward to provide classes for our students. We are prepared to offer both online and/or in-person/hybrid learning throughout the year, whatever is needed to keep our students dancing! Meaning, if health concerns around the virus require us to not meet in person, learning will be virtual, starting September 21, 2020. When we are able, we will be in-person. When in-person, we will adhere to CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of our community; students, families, faculty, and staff. We know the virus is unpredictable, and as such we are prepared to flow between learning styles as needed to support our students.

What does my child need to participate in online learning at Ballet Hispánico?

  • A DEVICE to watch the class, preferably with a large enough screen for the student to see the details of instruction (like a tablet or laptop).
  • WIFI or DATA with a strong enough signal to use the ZOOM app
  • A SPACE that can be used to dance in. Spaces used by students over the June and July months varied from their bedrooms, to their living rooms, kitchens, some basements. The teachers did a great job of adapting the material so that all of the students could participate and benefit from the instruction.
  • Los Pasitos students will need the SUPPORT of their caregiver during the lesson to ensure they can log-in and in case they get booted out and need to re-log-in. Caregivers will also need to support students new to the program.

What does a potential In-Person/Hybrid Learning Plan look like?

Much like the NYC Department of Education, Ballet Hispánico is working on hybrid plans to ensure social distancing can be maintained. If your child is registered for a class where the studio assigned can not accommodate social distancing requirements and/or the capacity of people in the building as a whole is at risk of not maintaining social distancing guidelines, classes will be broken into groups. Example of alternating hybrid schedule:

Week Student Group A Student Group B
Week 1 In-Person at BH

Online form Home (synchronous learning with in-person class streamed via Zoom)

Week 2 Online from Home (synchronous learning with in-person class via Zoom)

In-Person at BH

What if I am not comfortable with In-Person/Hybrid Learning and prefer my child stays at home?

Online from home synchronous learning accessibility to classes will be made available to parents that request in writing that their child continue learning from home, as long as social distancing guidelines are in place for NYC and mandated by the government.

Public schools are struggling with online learning, how will my Ballet Hispánico online experience differ? Will it be possible to get a good dance experience online?

Ballet Hispánico has worked diligently to develop online dance education best practices for teachers and students to ensure continued learning, physical training, one-on-one live interaction, sense of community, and meaningful engagement. Through our work from the online offerings we provided in June and July, the feedback from families, faculty, and staff, we feel poised and ready to offer a meaningful and rewarding experience through our online classes in School Year 2020-2021.

How will Ballet Hispánico decide when learning will be online versus In-Person/Hybrid?

Ballet Hispánico is following the recommendations and guidelines of the CDC, local, state, and national government authorities. The NYC Department of Education is always a guide for us however, it is not our decision maker as we must also consider that our school focuses on rigorous physical activity and the impact of this on our students safety. We will always lean to the side of caution when it comes to our students’ health and will do our best to be communicative in our decision making so that our families can plan accordingly.

What measures is Ballet Hispánico putting into place to ensure safety for in-person learning?

In the instance that we return to in-person/hybrid activities within our building, below are some of the measures that we will be implementing:

  • Restricted and monitored drop-off and pick-up protocols for all students.
  • CDC Checklist monitoring to enter the building.
  • Temperature Checks to enter the building.
  • Social Distancing in the classroom and throughout the building.
  • Strictly limited use of locker rooms.
  • No parents/family in the building.
  • Hand sanitizing stations throughout the building and within each classroom.
  • Daily deep cleaning practices by our Operations Staff.

We continue to develop our plans with attention and in accordance with government updates on safety. As we approach the start of the school year, we will share our detailed plan.

Changes within the School of Dance staff and programming due to the pandemic

Due to the economic impact the pandemic has caused, Ballet Hispánico has been forced to downsize, resulting in a reduced staff within the School of Dance as well as across the organization. In addition, total class offerings have been reduced across programs. Although Ballet Hispánico forges forward with determination and strength, we feel it is important we remain transparent with our community, and we thank you in advance for your support while managing our way through these difficult times.

Registration Questions: NEW Late Registration Policy, Tuition, Early Bird, COVID Discount, Refunds?

NEW Registration Policies

For 2020-2021, REGISTRATION will take place completely online and is July 15- September 2, 2020. Given the incredible amount of organization and planning that online and hybrid/in-person learning requires, we will be very strict with this policy! This will ensure that:

  • Teachers have the needed time to prepare for the students enrolled in their classes with both online and hybrid/in-person plans
  • All rosters are correct ensuring that monitoring for online learning Zoom links is set and safe (or that hybrid/in-person plans have been finalized and communicated to all parties). NOTE: All of our classes on Zoom have a class monitor that supports the students and the teacher with any technical difficulties. Monitors also restrict who is allowed into the class, keeping our students safe from unwanted guests.
  • Everything will be ready for our orientation week
  • Everything for the start of the new year is ready to go on September 21st!

Students that miss the registration period will have an opportunity to sign up for remaining class options in the LATE REGISTRATION period Saturday, September 26 starting at 4pm ET through Friday, October 2 at 12pm noon ET. Late registrants will be permitted to join classes starting the week of October 12, 2020.

NO REGISTRATION WILL BE ACCEPTED September 3-26, 2020.

Tuition & Refunds

The tuition listed in Mindbody is reflective of both online and hybrid/in-person learning scenarios that may arise over the course of the 2020-2021 School Year. Ballet Hispánico does not offer refunds unless the class is cancelled.

Early Bird Discount

Anyone that registers between July 15 and August 15, 2020 will receive the Early Bird Discounted price. This applies to families paying the annual amount up front and those setting up quarterly payments.

COVID 10% Discount Code

Families paying the annual amount at the time of registration by September 2, 2020 can use the code 10%COVID and receive an additional 10% off of their tuition. This code expires September 2nd and is not usable for late registrants.

Other NEW things for School Year 2020-2021: La Academia Level 5, Bundles & Bundle Add-ons

Professional Studies is now Level 5

We have changed the name of the current La Academia Professional Studies Level to Level 5.

Given the growth of our program, we are excited to announce that Professional Studies will be developed into its own division of La Academia for dancers 17-23 (due to the pandemic, the date launch is currently TBD).

This new trainee program for select young dance professionals is a bridge for students into the professional realm. Trainees will have weekday classes and rehearsals in the morning through mid-day and will receive mentorship, professional development, and performance opportunities throughout the community.

Bundles & Bundle Add-Ons (La Academia Students Only)

Attention La Academia High School Students: In an effort to better support you, the School of Dance has developed Bundles for those of you struggling with taking the full program. Bundles are tailored and streamlined schedules in specific genres that allow you to perform in the end of year performances with your class. There are ballet, modern, and Spanish Dance bundle options as well as add-on options like Stretch & Conditioning, for students that meet the below requirements.

  • Although we recommend for all students to take the full program, Level 5 students that are in high school are permitted to register for any of the tailored bundle options listed in Mindbody at their discretion.
  • Level 4A-4B high school students are also eligible to register for bundle options and add-ons, but require a meeting with School of Dance Artistic Associate, Joshua Winzeler for approval. Level 4A-4B will be considered for this schedule modification option only if there is an academic and/or religious obligation that prevents the student from taking the full program.

Testimonials from B Learning Online June Classes 2020 Families

Q: What do you like most about your online dance class(es)?

  • They are fun classes! - La Academia Student Level 3B
  • The teachers are amazing! They are so committed and full of energy. The way they acknowledge each student by name keeps my child focused. They also have done an amazing job of fostering community. - Encuentros Parent of Ballet & Flamenco Ages 6 & 7 Student
  • That my daughter has time to exercise during the class. - Encuentros Parent of Salsa, Flamenco & Ballet Ages 10-18 Student
  • In Graham, we interact in the chat with a partner to give individual corrections which helps us improve. - La Academia Student Level 4B
  • I like how I get to see everyone and how I still have a way to dance. La Academia Student Level 3B
  • That she can continue her skills from home, and she really loves dancing again. - Encuentros Parent of Ballet and Hip-Hop Ages 8 & 9 Student

Q: Please share additional information you think can be helpful.

  • We love what Ballet Hispanico is doing! Thank you! Thank you! - Encuentros Student
  • We are grateful to have the opportunity to dance in the absence of in-person lessons, so thank you very much! - Encuentros Student
  • I just wanted to put in here that I am very thankful for all of the work you have been doing to remain connected during quarantine. - La Academia Student
  • This is a wonderful school. My daughter is happy with her teachers. They show that they care. Thank you. - Encuentros Parent

Thank you for caring enough to give the gift of dance to your child. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.

Sincerely,

Michelle Manzanales

Director, School of Dance

Questions?/¿Preguntas?

Contact the School of Dance Office at school@ballethispanico.org or by calling 212-362-6710, ext. 72.

School Year Letter


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