It may be housed in a quiet building on a busy 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 you dream of a career on stage one day.
Located 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 23rd season of creating dance memories and futures for her New Tampa- and Wesley Chapel-area students, many of whom have gone on to study dance in college and/or dance professionally.
This year, 2017 graduate Danielle Desruisseaux has joined the faculty of NTDT, while working towards a nursing degree. Fellow alum Bryanna Rivers will attend the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with a full scholarship as a member of their track team. Gabrielle Barnes will pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance at Florida State University in Tallahassee, while Carolina Rojas will also attend FSU, pursing a Biology degree on the PreMed track.
“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 says she 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 2002, she purchased the property on Cross Creek Blvd., designed her spacious new studio herself, and moved the school to the new building in January 2006.
With the bigger location, Elkins IronWing was off and running, offering smaller class sizes and larger, more varied schedules.
She says she also has a larger pool of students today, with the explosive growth of Wesley Chapel.
“Our name might say New Tampa; however, our location is much closer to Wesley Chapel than one might assume,” says Elkins IronWing. “We are extremely convenient to all of the current growth (there). Many Wesley Chapel families are shocked to discover just how close we are to them and excited because of how quickly they can drive to our school.”
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.
NTDT’s 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 eight-week sessions (from Sept.-May) of ballet, tap and Zumba.
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.
In addition to 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.
Dyane’s husband, Troy IronWing, is director of tap, while she will teach creative movement, ballet and jazz this season. Both have continued to tour nationally, now for 13 years, with the Rhythm Extreme Performance Troupe.
In addition, NTDT ballet director Cristy Garcia Tanner started her dance training at age 3 in her native Puerto Rico, and at 13, was invited to join the Ballet Concierto Company in San Juan.
Modern dance director Carla Armstrong, who joined the NTDT faculty in 2005, graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City with a BFA degree in Dance.
Jazz director Kristine Morgan has been a professional dancer since age 19, and earned her BFA degree in Dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Hip-hop director Dreama Davidson, who also has been with the school since 2005, has 18 years of performances to her credit, including participating in the “Katonga” show at Busch Gardens.
The facilities at NTDT 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 dancers’ joints, and an on-site physical therapist ensures the health of the dancers. NTDT also features a café offering light meals, snacks and drinks.
The Training You Need
NTDT has developed a reputation for creating strong, professional dancers with alumni that have moved on to 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 the 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, respecting the process of working toward a goal, and having a well-rounded dance education give our students the tools and confidence to continue discovering new passions throughout their lifetimes.”
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,” which is 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 productions 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, Dyane says local residents look forward to the community’s largest and longest-running interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, “The Nutcracker,” now in its 18th season. This year, it will be held December 15-17 at USF Tampa’s College of the Arts Theater 1.
You can catch free sneak peeks of NTDT’s “The Nutcracker” at the Tampa Premium Outlets on November 25-26, and at the Shops at Wiregrass mall on December 1-2 and 8-10.
NTDT’s much-awaited Sugar Plum Fairy Tea fund raiser is now in its 13th season and will be held December 3 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 her “party friends.”
Each year, a portion of the proceeds from the Tea is donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in South Tampa. Tickets for both the tea and “The Nutcracker” go on sale on Monday, October 9.
“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. With the amazing season ahead of us, we would like to thank all of our trusting and loyal families over the years and the organizations that continually support our vision. Without their recognition and time, NTDT wouldn’t be the magical place it has become!”
The New Tampa Dance Theatre offers year-round free trial classes for prospective dancers of all ages. To tour the facility or to rent it for a meeting, party or function, visit NTDT at 10701 Cross Creek Blvd. For more information and to check out the exciting lineup of fall classes, visit NewTampaDanceTheatre.com or call (813) 994-NTDT (6838).