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Where to Try Ballet for Free in NYC

By Briana Rodriguez

As an actor, knowing how to control your voice and body through song and dance can enhance a performance and make it more affecting for your audience. The best of the best aren’t known as “triple threats” for nothing. While not all actors who know how to sing and dance necessarily aspire to a career in musical theater or ballet, dance training can offer a deeper knowledge of the body in motion across multiple mediums. For adult actors interested in dance, finding a beginner class and dance studio that fits their skill level and schedule is often difficult. Enter the Align Ballet Method.

New York City is welcoming a new option for adult performers looking to add basic ballet—flats all the way through pointe—into their repertoire. Already a success in Los Angeles, the Align Ballet Method premieres next month in NYC to offer beginner dance workshops with Align 1, the studio’s six-class program, which focuses on the fundamentals of the discipline as well as barre work.

“We present you with authentic ballet training, but with compassion and an understanding that adult bodies are different than preprofessional teens,” says the studio’s website.

Align officially opens on the East Coast Sunday, Oct. 9, and is led by SUNY Purchase–trained international dancer Hannah Button. For dancers with some prior experience with barre and center floor movement, the studio also offers open classes.

Founded by former professional dancer and personal trainer Michael Cornell in 2012, Align’s niche in working with adult students relies more on the mind-body connection than focusing on combinations, Cornell told Backstage. The program’s first three classes are dedicated to teaching basic barre work, terminology, body alignment, and positions. The second half focuses on developing muscle memory.

Cornell credited his time as a personal trainer with allowing him to understand how beginners in movement process new information. For the novice dancer curious about taking classes, Cornell advised them first to let go of the inner critic. “Stop judging yourself, get out of your own way, and allow yourself to make mistakes,” he said. “The only way to master it is by totally screwing it up.”

His other pieces of practical advice? Try to replicate each movement shown in class physically, and mentally review what you learned on the way home to solidify the information in your mind. “You start dancing with your brain, not your body,” he added.

Students wanting to participate on the East Coast can sign up for a free trial at alignballetmethod.com, which will be held Sunday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 25, with Button. After those free trials, Button’s six-week course, which will be held Oct. 9–Nov. 13, costs $108.

For those interested, the Align Ballet Method is the perfect opportunity to sharpen your dance skills for your next musical theater or dance audition, or to just learn a new discipline to further your creativity.

To read the original article in its natural habitat, check it out on backstage.com.