Located across from City Hall Park in New York City, Dance New Amsterdam provides dancers and choreographers with the resources to progress from learner to professional, all within the same four walls. Dance New Amsterdam’s primary focus is on giving dancers highly individualized instruction by professional choreographers, who provide dancers with a toolbox of techniques to develop their own, unique styles. Well known for contemporary and modern dance, they also focus on injury prevention, much of which is about understanding a dancer’s unique body and style. Since the center has a full time, professional theater on the premises, students have a chance to see professionals at work, and often end up working for them. Artists can even rent workstations in the Center to stay close to the action.
Dance New Amsterdam is also a community rather than a competitive studio, which allows dancers and professionals alike to learn and grow from each other in a comfortable setting. Taking students from the age of 16 and up (when dancers’ bodies are generally fully formed), the Center supports dancers from the moment they walk in until well into their careers. They have been in operation for 28 years – a testament to their success. That’s nearly three decades of helping dancers to discover themselves!
DNA uses the Simonson Technique to help dancers understand their own bodies in terms of how they move and what styles are possible and appropriate for them. Each dancer is unique in body style, flexibility and alignment. Unlike some other techniques which focus on choreographers, Simonson Technique was developed by dancers, for dancers. It is as much a technique to help with injury prevention and healing as it is a way for dancers to discover their strengths, and their limits. If there is a word that can sum up Simonson, it is ‘awareness.’ This self awareness helps dancers to prepare for learning other techniques.
The staff and administration are extremely friendly and helpful, and the sense of community is strong. The layout is well thought out and people move through the space with ease. Whether one is an aspiring dancer who wishes to move past childhood lessons or a professional looking for top-notch resources and the support of an entire dance community, Dance New Amsterdam is worth checking out.