Monika Greenwood extends into an arabesque as instructor Stephanie Wilson offers some support.

Benefits of ballet accrued by dancers in Colwood

Adult drop-in classes conducted in a casual atmosphere

With Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey crooning Christmas carols in the background, half a dozen aspiring ballet dancers follow Stephanie Wilson’s instructions as she leads them across the floor of the Colwood Community Hall.

Wilson, 21, has been teaching the adult drop-in class since April and it’s her first experience heading up a class on her own.

“It’s a huge learning experience and I’ve gained a lot of confidence,” she says.

The Langford ballerina has been assisting in classes for six years and dancing since she was three. She chose a drop-in style rather than a set schedule of lessons to better accommodate her students’ hectic schedules, despite the challenge of a more unpredictable student base.

“I try to focus on new techniques or steps each class,” she says, so that students benefit whether they’re brand new or regulars. “We focus a little less on precise technique and a little more on the performance aspect of it.”

Monika Greenwood can attest to the no-pressure atmosphere of the classes. The 57-year-old Colwood resident has been dropping in to ballet since April 2013, before Wilson took over, and never misses a week if she can help it.

“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere and Stephanie does a great job in imparting her enthusiasm,” Greenwood says. “She’s just so graceful in her movements. It makes you want to try what she’s doing.”

The class has offered Greenwood a way to explore her lifetime love of ballet, as well as reap many physical benefits.

“Ballet gives you that opportunity to learn grace and poise and strengthening, and it increases your flexibility. And it also challenges your memory as well, to remember the sequences.”

Whether would-be ballerinas attend just for the fun of it or are looking to delve into the craft more deeply, there’s always room for a new face, Wilson says. “We have a lot of fun in the class and we could definitely accommodate more people.”

Drop-in classes run Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 2219 Sooke Rd., with this year’s last class on Dec. 15 before starting up in the new year on Jan. 12. Drop-in fee is $10.

For more information, email Wilson at steph_wilson321@hotmail.com.

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com

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