In Baltimore last weekend, I drove by the new arts district, Station North, and saw an ad for artist lofts in a converted warehouse called the Copycat Building. Ironic name aside, I thought it might be an interesting place for a ballet school--lots of space, high ceilings, right in the middle of an arts community with constant art exhibitions all around. Baltimore doesn't have much in the way of serious ballet schools, and even one good teacher working alone could make a difference. There are various logistical problems: where the students would change, for example, and where could one put an office? But the thought is intriguing. Rent is stunningly low in Baltimore (although it's most likely on the verge of climbing sharply, as DC becomes too expensive for anyone who doesn't make six figures a year) and it's always had a large and vibrant arts scene.
Such a studio would have to be a fairly bare-bones operation, and unfortunately tuition would probably be high even if there was an alternate source of funding. One positive note: the Peabody Conservatory would probably supply a steady stream of pianists. Also intriguing is the idea of having a limited number of students attending class 4-5 days a week from the beginning (I know, I'm dreaming ) to shape into beautiful dancers with all the tiny details so often lacking from today's students, including not just qualities such as épaulement and port de bras, but also knowledge of technical theory and appreciation of arts other than ballet.
I think the program would be based on the Vaganova syllabus until the students were comfortable en pointe, and then I would add trickier combinations than one usually sees in a Vaganova class--unusual accents, for example--and I'd like to add a French accent to the petit allegro.
This perhaps isn't the best introductory post, but these ideas have been swirling in my head for a little bit, and it's nice to get them out. I promise less school-related posts in the future.