Apr 01

Academy Director Ayisha McMillan Cravotta on the Open Division

Our Adult Drop-In classes include a variety of dance and dance-based fitness classes, including ballet, tap and power dance for all ages and levels. Adult Drop-In classes are ideal for beginners, former dancers wanting to return to their passion and those looking to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Academy Director Ayisha McMillan Cravotta spoke to The Charlotte Post podcast more about our Adult Drop-In classes and why they are so important to Charlotte Ballet!

Why is the drop-in schedule so important?

We designed these classes with a drop-in schedule because adults very often face demands that we didn’t face when we were 12. An adult may think “I can’t commit to a whole semester, but it would be great to get moving again or try dance for the first time.” We are here for that.

What is the goal of the adult drop-in classes?

We tried to put the building blocks together for adults to be able to engage, enjoy and return to something that was in their lives before, or might be something new.

Why would adults be interested in taking a dance class?

I’ve done other types of physical activity to keep myself going. But I feel like with dance instruction, its a wonderful challenge of using my brain in a different way because sometimes we need to change our perspective and think a little differently. It uses muscles in the brain and body in a different way.

What is it like taking ballet as an adult?

No matter where you are in the world there is this common experience in ballet class. You approach the barre like an old friend – you approach the work together. It doesn’t matter how long its been. I love that about dance for people of all ages, which is why it is so important we have the drop-in division.


I am just a beginner – are these classes for me?

Access is very important to us at Charlotte Ballet. The more we speak with people and learn about general perceptions about our program, we come across some who think that only really advanced or professionals can come to class, but that is not the case. We really try to engage wonderful faculty who can listen and respond to the dancers who come to class and suggest new approaches to class.

What would you say to someone who is interested in trying a class?

I would say “I am so excited to meet you! I hope you join us.” If you aren’t entirely familiar with ballet terminology or its been a long time, please check us out and be patient and loving with yourself. Give yourself a high five for trying something new! It can feel like a lot at first, but everybody is there with you. It quickly gets better. If you don’t want to commit and buy a pair of ballet slippers that’s totally OK. You can take ballet class in socks until you get an understanding of which class you want to take.

Why do you love the drop-in classes?

With all the responsibility that comes with life and caring for oneself and others, there’s a routine we have to follow. Being able to engage your brain or go out on a limb and trying something new pays back in the sense of reward that you get from it.

Ready to try your first class? Visit the Adult Open Division page to learn more about the class schedule. Drop-in students are welcome! No prior registration required.

Read more about the podcast and the full interview in the article by The Charlotte Post!

Photos by Troy Hull


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