At Ascendance we approach your dance experience with whatever your inner truth is firmly in mind. Dance is fundamentally not a study of error, but an expression of a Truth so raw and elemental that words fall short of telling the whole story. In the words of Martha Graham, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.” We ask our students – and seek to help them answer the question – “What does your soul have to say?”
For the youngest student, this may be a simple, pure emotion – joy, compassion, or loneliness. For our older students we encourage them to explore the full expressive range of dance and movement. Through dance we can tell complex stories, weave layered emotions together, celebrate or mourn with palpable exuberance.
Further, we believe such an expression lifts us, simultaneously distinguishing us and connecting us to others. Developing this voice is not inherent to our everyday culture or education. Ascendance is a place where individual voice can be explored, where expression is practiced and honed and celebrated with others.
We are gearing up for our Annual Spring Performance, hosted at Smith College, but will soon be creating our schedule and programming options for Fall 2018. We would love for you to join us! Click the button below and enter your contact information if you would like to be informed of when the Fall Schedule becomes available.
The Second Annual Spring Performance
Hosted this year at Theater 14 at Smith College
Tickets will go on sale June 1
Check back here or watch your inbox for the link to the online box office
Come to both shows and get a discount on your tickets!
One adult ticket to both shows for $20 (child/Senior price is $15). Just select the ticket types you need for each show and the discount will be applied automatically.
Single performance tickets:
Adults: $12.50 ($15 at the door)
Children (under 13)/Seniors (60+): $10 ($12 at the door)
Performers – check your email near the end of May for information on preparation, production week scheduling, and performance day essentials.
Our adult offerings operate on a drop-in basis. If you plan to come regularly, we recommend you purchase a $60 class card (only costs $50!). Classes meet weekly but we are always looking to add to the schedule. Click the link below to view a pdf of the current months schedule of adult classes:
July 9-21 and July 30-August 11
The Ascendance Summer Intensive program gives dance students the opportunity to immerse themselves in creative and technical dance study in a safe, supportive, community educational environment. Students participate in 3 daily technique classes, explore their own creative movement ideas, and are introduced to yoga practice. Open to dancers with at least one year of dance training, focus is placed on technical clarity, expression and musicality, expanding movement vocabulary, and becoming a stronger, more versatile performer. $100 deposit to hold a spot.
July 23-27 and August 13-17
Half- and Full-day options available
We have expanded our summer programming this season with a program or our younger dancers. In the first session, we are working with Art Always, Naomi Edelman, and others to give children a multicultural taste of the world! Master teachers will introduce traditional dances and movement from their countries, we will taste different foods from that part of the world, and we will make visual art projects highlighting the culture we are learning about. This is all interspersed with activities and dance such as Jazz/Hip Hop class, Music Education/Creative Movement Expression, Children’s Yoga, and choice time.
Session II programming is still in development and space for both will be limited to 10 children. Enrollment is ongoing and a $50 deposit is required to hold your spot. If you have questions or would like enrollment forms, please email Kathryn at
Tuition is based on length of class and the number of classes per week. Discounts are applied for additional classes per week and for additional students from the same household. See our Rate Sheet for complete details.
Our classes are focused in four areas: Expressions Technique, Rhythm Nation, Emerging Voices, and Repertory and Yoga.
Ballet technique provides a solid foundation for the study of many different styles of dance. The dancer learns to properly hold the spine, work the appropriate muscle groups and external rotation, and absorb the French terminology associated with dance. Basic fundamentals will be emphasized with focus on correct placement, clarity, detail of movement, and development of musicality and grace. Ballet shoes are recommended.
Both modern and jazz styles of dance focus on the use of the body’s weight and spatial relationship to the floor, all while emphasizing the communication of emotional content. Dancers will become familiar with the way movement communicates meaning, and how the emotions we experience can inspire connection with others. Goals of the class are to encourage new vocabulary, risk taking, suspension, technical placement, and fulfilling range of motion. Dancers will come to understand the forces that act on the body as well as how to work with those forces as they practice turns, leaps, extensions, and transitions.
Born on the streets, hip hop is grounded, unapologetic, precise, and dynamic. Dancers will learn about the energy and effort of specific hip hop vocabulary as well as how to concentrate on the isolation of body parts to create distinct imagery. Popping, locking, and other basic techniques will be introduced. Sneakers are required for this class.
We have a heart beat. Our pulse marks time and reminds us we are alive. Our days may have a familiar pattern. Life surrounds us with rhythms and cycles to which we can’t help but respond. As dancers, we know we can become the dance but with Tap, the study of rhythm also allows us to become the music. In this class, students will be introduced to tap technique and vocabulary, and then be invited to play with rhythm, syncopation, accent, compound steps, and polyrhythms. Sticks and Stomp, a complement to the tap studies, will be a portion of the class in which students study similar concepts, but will create the soundscape of the dance using drum sticks and parts of their bodies to create the score. Dances will be built collaboratively using the material developed in classes. Clarity of sound and mastery of the interplay between various “voices” will be emphasized.
All artists have inspired ideas, and we all need time and space to flex our creative muscles. This class is an opportunity for emerging choreographers to explore and develop their individual choreographic voices. Working with the tools of improvisation, weight bearing, partnering, and various compositional elements, dancers will study and design movement to collaboratively create dances that may be shown in the Informal performance at the end of the week. No previous choreography experience is necessary to participate.
Part of our work as we grow is to make sense of the world around us. The more we learn about the planet we live on, the people who inhabit it, and the communities to which we belong, the more prepared we are to make our contribution to it. But what about learning about our the world inside us? How do we know who we are and what is important to us? How can we be more authentically ourselves? This class offers the time and space for students to ask important questions of themselves, to express their truths, and make their statements about themselves and the world in safety. Spoken word poetry combines our truths with the artistic elements of rhythm, dynamics, contrast, and voice to uncover the hidden pieces of ourselves that allow us to be connected to and understood by others.
In preparation for the Informal Performance at the end of the Intensive session (Saturday morning) dancers will work in collaboration with the choreographer to create a longer dance to be performed. They will come to understand the social aspects of creating dances and refine their performance skills with their peers. They will use one another’s body weight, experience inversion, learn to use their peripheral vision, and learn to project or convey messages through their movement.
Signifying “union,” yoga is an excellent way to build physical strength, balance, and increase flexibility in the body. It’s the perfect companion to the study of dance technique and offers and broad range of wellness benefits. This abbreviated yoga class will conclude each class day and function to gently release and relax tired, tight muscles. Dancers will return home feeling peaceful and refreshed within. Emphasis will be placed on proper form, integration of the breath, building strength, and increasing flexibility in the whole body.
Laurel has been creating dances, sharing her love for music and dance, and performing in concerts for as long as she can remember. She holds a BFA in Dance from UMass Amherst and an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College.
Michelle is an event organizer that inserts dance into unexpected places. With a background in ballet, contemporary, Mexican Folklorico and Classical Indian dance, Michelle has an MFA from Smith College and has taught at Hampshire, Smith and Springfield Colleges, and the Williston Northampton School.
He has been on faculty at Smith College, where he taught Jazz, Tap, and Contemporary and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he taught advanced Jazz in the BFA program.
Gabby is a junior at the Williston Northampton School and has been studying dance since the age of three. She is a member of the Hackworth School of Performing Arts competitive tap team.
192 Pine Street, Florence, MA 01060
We’re looking forward to welcoming your young dancer!
Give us a call: (413) 341-3780
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