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Parks and Recreation

About Us

Sleeping Beauty 2013. Photo: Karen Hicks Lawrence

Since 1967 the Dance Division of the Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation has offered affordable and accessible dance training in Nashville’s community centers. Although dance is offered in a recreational setting, our teachers strive to offer students the highest quality training possible in a supportive environment. Many students take our classes simply to enrich their lives and discover the joy of movement, but for the students who would like to go on to dance professionally or seek a college degree in dance, we want to ensure they have the requisite skills to be successful. For adult students and children who do not opt for a career in dance, we want to generate support for the art form by instilling an appreciation for and understanding of both the artistic and technical aspects of dance as well as unearth the positive effects that physical activity and creative expression can have on their overall well-being.

We continue today with classes for children and adults in ballet, pointe, Afro-Caribbean, creative movement, contemporary modern, hip-hop, tap and theater dance as well as a budding program for people with Parkinson’s in collaboration with the American Parkinson Disease Association (through Centennial Medical Center) and the National Parkinson Foundation (through the Center of Excellence at Vanderbilt). Our new comprehensive contemporary modern program is based in the work of New Dialect, a contemporary dance company based in Nashville and our new company-in-residence at the Centennial Arts Activity Center. The Flooring/Falling/Sliding syllabus was developed by Banning Bouldin, Artistic Director for New Dialect, and is taught by New Dialect company dancers.

Ballet forms the foundation of our program and is anchored by two Specialized Skill Instructors who work with the students in the Vaganova tradition. Centennial Youth Ballet, our primary performance group for intermediate and advanced dancers ages 12-18, offer public performances twice each year. The Mini-Nutcracker, a narrated, abbreviated version of the popular holiday ballet, is designed to introduce young children to ballet as a performance art and provides a wonderful holiday tradition for the Nashville community. Our Spring Concert gives members of Centennial Youth Ballet an opportunity to learn and perform classical ballet variations as well as contemporary choreography.

Centennial Arts Activity Center, located in Centennial Park next to the playground, is our primary location for dance classes. We are happy to expand our offerings into several of the Parks Regional Centers including McCabe, Sevier and East Park, where our partner, Rejoice School of Ballet, provides ballet, modern, and African dance and drumming classes on a sliding tuition scale to make dance affordable for every family.