“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” – Martha Graham
Since its founding in 1930, Oglebay Institute has recognized the importance of creative expression through movement and music. Dance, in all forms, has been a vibrant part of Institute’s programming for more than eight decades. Oglebay Institute’s School of Dance presents dance as an art form and a means of self-expression and social interaction for all ages. From novice dancers to returning professionals, our students can immerse themselves in the art of dance at OI.
Public Classes, Workshops and Camps
With classes for all ages and skill levels, opportunities to perform publicly and specialty workshops with master teachers from around the globe, OI engages dancers at every stage of development. Our program trains dancers, in a non-competitive environment, to be artists and masters of their craft through a curriculum that provides a strong foundation of technique and teaches principles and practices that lead to a lifelong love and appreciation for the art of movement.
Our goal is to promote the personal development of each student physically, intellectually and creatively. OI dancers are consistently accepted to prestigious dance schools and competitive dance programs.
The OI School of Dance offers more classes than any other studio in the tri-state area, including traditional dance such as ballet, jazz, tap and pointe as well as hip-hop, tumbling and a variety of recreational dance and fitness classes. Baby and Toddler Classes enhance children’s creativity, love of music and movement and develop motor skills and healthy muscles through creative movement and play.
OI’s Pre-Professional Ballet Program provides those extremely focused students that are aspiring to become professional dancers with intense, specialized instruction, training and coaching from Artists in Residence, guest instructors and master teachers. The program also helps students prepare for college and professional auditions.
Summer Dance Day Camps give students the opportunity to learn a variety of dance techniques and express their creativity. Camps are fun, challenging, age-appropriate and incorporate child-oriented themes from American Girl to Angelina Ballerina. Summer camps serve as a great introduction to the dance world and promote a physically active lifestyle.
Along with the exclusive pre-professional program, OI’s School of Dance offers Workshops with Master Teachers for growth outside of normal class times for dancers of all skill levels and independent of whether or not they are enrolled year-round in OI’s school. Opportunities include a Summer Intensive Dance Program as well as the Four Sunday Workshop Series and various specialty workshops throughout the year. Programs feature nationally recognized dancers and master teachers. Classes provide opportunities to stretch talents, strengthen knowledge of various dance forms, deepen passion for dance, broaden understanding of what it means to be a dancer and gain insight into the world of professional dance.
Events and Public Performances
OI’s Youth Ballet Company’s mission is to train and inspire young dancers and bring quality ballet performances to multi-generational audiences. The Company presents public concerts, such as the annual fall ballet and The Nutcracker during the holiday season and performs by invitation at special events. Many Company outreach performances benefit children as well as senior citizens in such venues as schools, libraries and senior citizen nursing homes. The Company has been invited to take part in National Dance Week celebrations in both Wheeling and Charleston and performs at the West Virginia Dance Festival.
“Raising the Barre” Dance Gala is an annual event designed to call attention to the School’s quality instruction, to highlight students’ opportunities to study with master teachers and guest artists and to raise funds for the School. Held at the elegant Stifel Fine Arts Center, the event includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a silent auction and performances by professional dancers and the OI pre-professional dance students.
The Spring Dance Concert, held each June, is the annual student showcase and features original choreography and student performances in ballet, tap, jazz, modern and lyrical dancing.
School Programs/Educational Outreach
Designed to heighten awareness and appreciation of dance, our outreach programs in dance provide opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and social interaction.
• present dance as a means of communication and creative expression
• explore dance in various cultures and historical periods
• improve coordination
• promote a physically active lifestyle
In-school programs such as Cosmic Dance: Discovering Dance Through Science and Movement, Kid’s Stretch and Flex and Appalachian Dance are available for a variety of age levels. Schools and community organizations can also book an onsite performance of The Nutcracker. Afterschool programs for at risk youth inspire children with healthy messages and encourage them to express themselves artistically.
Special programs for underserved audiences include a partnership with the Augusta Levy Learning Center that enables students with Autism Spectrum Disorders to learn and benefit from dance instruction; a program for young women in the Florence Crittenton residential program that uses dance to teach self-esteem, confidence and healthy self-awareness and an annual adaptive dance workshop taught by the Dancing Wheels Company & School of Cleveland, Ohio that teaches inclusion-based dance for students of differing physical abilities.