Through the Acorn app we’re able to support businesses that make our communities thrive. Everyday we learn more about our activity providers and their inspiring efforts to enrich the wellbeing of children and families. Today, we're featuring Geraldine Grace Johns, Founder of Grace Ballet New York in NYC, USA.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your business
My name is Geraldine Grace Johns and I am from New Zealand, I have been residing in NYC for the past eleven years. I have been teaching for over twenty years in London, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and New York. In Auckland I ran and owned a successful ballet academy, but my dream was to open a Royal Academy of Dance School in Manhattan. I fulfilled that dream in September 2016 when I opened Grace Ballet New York in Tribeca. I also teach in the West Village and will be offering classes from summer in the Lower East Side. I specialize in classical ballet. I love the process of working towards Presentation and Examination classes with the Royal Academy of Dance, it gives the students such a sense of pride and accomplishment.
2. What motivates you to immerse yourself in dance, running both a studio and ballet class whilst performing as well?
I began dancing when I was four, I was terribly shy but through ballet and the love of my ballet teacher I became more confident and learnt to express myself. I have an endless passion for teaching and an incredible opportunity to inspire children of all ages in an art form that continues to compliment them throughout life. When I am asked to perform it re energizes me so I feel that I have more to give back. I am currently working on a two-person play, aiming to have a production Off Broadway by the end of the year.
3. Tell us about a favorite moment teaching
My most recent favorite moment teaching was when my very first class of students, it one day just clicked. After much hopping and practicing for many lessons all of a sudden they could skip, I was so proud of them I had goose bumps and tears in my eyes! There are many joys in teaching as I love what I do.
4. How do your classes relate to those at the Royal Academy of Dance? Is there an examination system that children can participate in?
Being the only registered teacher for the Royal Academy of Dance in Manhattan I offer presentation and examination classes right through from five years of age to Vocational level. My classes are structured to learn the foundations of ballet and the vocabulary but it’s not until the last few weeks that I put the exercises together for the examination. This way each class is fresh and interesting with a lot of creativity. Presentations and examinations are entirely optional for the students.
Exam day is an extremely exciting day. The students arrive and we do their hair and they enter the examination room in a group of four. An examiner has traveled from over seas and we present our work. Results are received around six weeks after the exam and every student is awarded a certificate and is graded from the Royal Academy of Dance in London. When I was a child I had all my certificates framed and on up on my bedroom wall. I remember having an emergency bag under my bed, which was just for my pillow and my ballet certificates, I was very proud of them!
5. Do you have any new projects or exciting things we should know about?
We will be holding Summer Classes from July through to September where we will learn how dances are Choreographed, technique and free movement.
Students may join classes at any time throughout the semester and a trial class is offered.
6. How can we learn more?
Discover Grace Ballet and thousands of classes, workshops and fun days out on Acorn today via this link. Available for iOS and Andriod. Plus, it's free, and always will be.