Peak Academy of Dance in Conifer offers classes in a variety of dance disciplines. While students learn correct form and technique, Artistic Director Danielle Heller is quick to acknowledge that they gain much more. “We bring people together from all different walks of life to learn—on the surface—this art form called dance. But, on a more foundational level, they are learning what it is to be themselves as part of a community. As artists, they learn, first and foremost, the concept of creation—the divine spark that is within all of us,” she said.
Peak Academy caters to students from age 3 to adult, from beginner to professional, with classes in many types of dance: classical ballet, contemporary ballet, point, modern, lyrical, aerial and circus arts, tap, lyra, poms, jazz and hip hop—as well as choreography and talent/performance groups (for those who wish to perform at a higher level). The school has its own full black box performance space, The Indigo Bridge Theater, the only one of its kind in the area, and students have many opportunities to perform throughout the year.
Danielle and the other directors believe strongly in the community aspect of what they do. In addition to creating a sense of family among the students and staff within the studio, they participate in a number of outside opportunities. This past summer, Peak was a member of the Mountain Area Dance Collective, a summer dance intensive with other area dance studios, with hopes of doing more joint programs in the future. During the school year, Peak does outreach bringing in kids from West Jeff Elementary to watch performances.
The arts help students find relevance and meaning in their lives, and by sharing that with the community, they create the collective story, Danielle explained. “Through the arts, our young people find themselves, their voices. They understand and communicate the stories that make up their lives.”
Dance, she continued, also has many physical and mental health benefits. “Our bodies have a whole different set of intelligence in movement—the way we experience and sense the world around us. We tend to live a lot in our heads today, and doing so means you are rarely living in the present. We tend to focus on either the past or the future. When you are in your body moving, you have no choice but to live in the moment. Children are naturally born with that, but over time, they tend to move out of that state of being. They forget that the body has its own sense of intelligence. Being fully present in your body is a very powerful experience. Performance forces you to be fully present and engaged in your body.”
Peak Academy serves approximately 230 students. Danielle is proud of how the adult program is growing as well. “We have four dedicated adult classes now. Tap, ballet, funk, and aerial. It’s great to see adults doing this. It can be a little scary, but they are willing to be brave and vulnerable.”
Peak classes follow a 10-month curriculum from August through the first part of June, ending with the annual recital. Summer sessions run from June through early August. The first week of classes is free, so new students can explore the different disciplines and meet the teachers before choosing their classes for the year. “They have the opportunity to allow their hearts to guide them,” Danielle said.
Danielle gives a lot of credit for the studio’s success to her “phenomenal staff”—from the various directors who are responsible for different productions to the back office staff who take care of costuming and technical support of productions at the theater.
Coming up March 11, 12 and 13 is the classical ballet production of Coppelia, and in April is a danced version of La La Land. Tickets are available at peakdance.com.
Peak Academy of Dance is located at 26437 Conifer Road in Conifer. For more information, visit peakdance.com, call 303.838.5556, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.