It may be housed in a quiet building on a suburban street, but the New Tampa Dance Theatre (NTDT) offers dancers a world-class, professional experience that is unmatched in the Tampa Bay area, whether you like to dance for fun or dream of a career on stage one day.
Located minutes from most of Wesley Chapel on Cross Creek Blvd. (across from Heritage Isles) in New Tampa, the 7,500-square-foot NTDT is the largest professional dance training facility in New Tampa. Owner and artistic director Dyane Elkins IronWing is in her 22nd season of creating dance memories and futures for her New Tampa-area students, many of whom have gone on to study and perform dance professionally.
This year, 2016 graduates Alexis Brake and Elizabeth Laches are both going to double major in Pre Med and Dance; Megan Peeples will major in Physical Therapy and minor in Dance; and Christina Pittarelli will major in Dance.
“I’m so proud of our graduates,” says Elkins IronWing. “Our dancers become excellent college students with their impressive time management skills, perseverance and creative thinking.”
Elkins IronWing herself started dancing at age 5 and later studied at the Ballet Metropolitan in New York City.
She moved to Tampa in 1995 to be near family and friends and almost immediately opened NTDT in the Pebble Creek Collection on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. In 2006, she purchased land on Cross Creek Blvd., and designed her spacious new studio herself.
With the bigger location, she was off and running, offering smaller class sizes and larger, more varied schedules.
She also has a larger pool of students today with the explosive growth of Wesley Chapel.
“NTDT’s name might say New Tampa; however, our location to Wesley Chapel is much closer than one might assume,” says Elkins IronWing. “(We are) conveniently located only 7 miles (10 minutes) from S.R. 54 and Morris Bridge Rd., and 6 miles (12 minutes) from S.R. 56 and Bruce B. Downs. This is extremely convenient to all the exciting growth in Wesley Chapel.”
All Ages & Experience Levels
Elkins IronWing caters to both the casual dance lover as well as the devoted pre-professional, and every level in between.
A leveled curriculum offers multiple art forms for students to explore. Through personal attention and professional expertise, the NTDT faculty provides a positive educational experience based on core principles of respect, responsibility and teamwork.
Teen/Adult classes include four 8-week sessions (from Sept.-May) of Cardio Funk, Adult Tap, Ballet and Modern.
Children ages 3-4 can participate in the Early Childhood Program, ages 5-8 can participate in the Children’s Program, and ages 9-18 can participate in NTDT’s Youth Program.
As well as classical ballet, the studio offers full programs in creative movement, modern dance, jazz, tap and hip hop.
Each program has its own directors and specific syllabuses guiding students in a structured manner through their studies.
Elkins IronWing’s husband, Troy IronWing, is director of tap and Dyane teaches jazz. Both also have toured nationally with the Rhythm Extreme Performance Troupe for 12 years.
In addition, NTDT ballet director Cristy Garcia Tanner started her dance lessons at age 3 in Puerto Rico, and at 13, was invited to join the Ballet Concierto Company in San Juan.
Jazz director Kristine Morgan has been a professional dancer since age 19, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Modern dance director Carla Armstrong, who joined the NTDT faculty in 2005, graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School with a BFA degree in Dance. Hip hop director Dreama Davidson, who also has been with the school since 2005, has 18 years of performances to her credit, including Katonga at Busch Gardens.
The facilities are as top notch as the instructors, and include maple flooring for the tap classes, 15-20 ft.-tall mirrored walls, student locker rooms and a large studio space that can accommodate up to 200 people. Sprung floors provide shock absorption to protect the dancer’s joints, and an on-site physical therapist ensures the health of the dancers. There also is a café offering light meals, snacks and drinks.
The Training You Need
NTDT has developed a reputation for creating strong, professional dancers with alumni placing in highly respected companies, Broadway productions and for the Walt Disney Company.
Because NTDT students learn to be proficient in multiple art forms, these students have an edge in the competitive world of dance and many NTDT students have been accepted into prestigious summer intensive programs, including the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theater in New York City, The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago and the Boston Ballet.
However, Elkins IronWing also is diligent about providing the same quality of instruction to the roughly 60 percent of students who are enrolled in NTDT’s popular recreational programs.
“Even though a student doesn’t choose to pursue a career in dance after high school, they can reach a level of artistry to be accepted into college dance programs,” says Elkins IronWing. “Believing in yourself and having a well-rounded dance education gives them the tools to continue their passions.”
Great Productions, Too!
All students get to perform in the “Spring Production” and — through NTDT’s nonprofit-partner, the Dance Theatre of Tampa (DTT) — in the “Summer Concert Series” held every June at USF.
DTT provides more than 300 free tickets to NTDT’s corporate sponsors, local community supporters, alumni members and students. A small costume rental fee for recitals is the only cost over the tuition that parents have to pay at any time — there is never a requirement to buy advertising or pay performance fees.
New Tampa residents Paula and Ron Nelson say they enrolled their daughter Malia in Creative Movement classes at NTDT when she was only 3. Eight years later, she’s moved up to the youth program, where she’s enrolled in ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop.
“As a result of the yearly recitals at the University of South Florida (USF), Malia loves performing on stage and has absolutely no stage fright,” Paula explains. “This has carried over to school, where she’s comfortable making presentations to her classmates and participating in yearly school plays.”
Every holiday season, local residents look forward to the studio’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet “The Nutcracker,” now in its 17th year. This year, it will be held December 16-18 at USF’s College of the Arts Theater 1.
You can catch free sneak peeks of NTDT’s “The Nutcracker” at the Shops at Wiregrass mall on Saturday, November 26, and Friday & Saturday, December 2-3 and 9-10, as well as on Sunday, December 11.
NTDT’s much-awaited Sugar Plum Fairy Tea fund raiser is now in its 12th season and will be held Dec. 4 at USF’s Gibbons Alumni Center. This popular event features a light lunch, desserts (including a chocolate fountain), giveaways, a sneak preview of “The Nutcracker,” and an opportunity to dance with Clara (the lead role of the young girl who receives the beloved Nutcracker as a Christmas gift) and Clara’s “party friends.”
Each year, a portion of the proceeds from the Tea are donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in South Tampa. Tickets for both events (which will be held at USF) go on sale on Monday, October 17.
“It’s all about the children at NTDT, always has been and always will be,” Dyane says. “We are a company that enables children to succeed. The key is setting high expectations all while having fun and building self-confidence. We have an amazing season ahead of us. We want to thank all of our trusting and loyal families over the years and the organizations that continually support us. Without their recognition and time, this wouldn’t be possible.”
NTDT offers year-round free trial classes for prospective dancers of all ages. Classes began Aug. 15. To tour of the facility or to rent it for a meeting, party or function, visit NTDT at 10701 Cross Creek Blvd. For more info and to check out the exciting lineup of fall classes, visit NewTampaDanceTheatre.com, or call 994-NTDT (6838).