On Sept. 18, The Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet (MFAB) opens its Beacon campus at the Rectory Hall of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church. The academy offers an integrated education in the fine arts, with intensive training in classical ballet, music, drama and visual arts.
Serving students ages 8 through 19, the MFAB Lower School is an after-school program, with weekday classes beginning at 3:45 p.m. and running until 9 p.m. Students are divided into four levels, each with its own pattern of class frequency and length. The younger students come three days per week, with the most advanced coming six days including Saturday. Class length is 90 minutes, leaving ample time for homework, home life, and other after-school activities.
Each year students at the academy have several performances, including a graded final performance that is open to the public. This program, called the Grand Défilé (translated “Big Parade”), is evaluated by a panel of five theater and dance professionals. The evening also features a guest musical artist performing songs written by the students in a class called My Song.
When Dame Margot Fonteyn and academy director Ken Ludden put their heads together in 1979, their thought was to create a new educational model for classical dancers that would carry fine art of performance into the 21st century and beyond. Their goal was that the academy would attract dance students from around the world, offering comprehensive, world-class training.
Ludden, the founder of the academy, had a life-long affiliation with Dame Margot Fonteyn. In 1989 he represented the U.S. in a cultural exchange with the Soviet Union under the policy of glasnost and perestroika. He returned 13 times to choreograph classical ballet. He has taught ballet all around the world and had a celebrated dance partnership with famed American Ballet Theater ballerina Sallie Wilson.
School Principal and Director Sveinbjorg Alexanders is from Iceland and was the reigning ballerina of the Cologne Ballet Company in Germany. She is an internationally recognized instructor of the Vaganova Method of ballet, and served for many years as school director of the Nevada State Ballet. She will be joined by faculty members Pe’er Klein, Autumn Mathisen, and guests Clare Larman (Australia), Dariuz Lewendowski (Poland), and others throughout the year.
Students must audition to attend, and auditions will be held on Sept. 8, with 8- to 12-year-old students beginning at 3 p.m., and those 13 to 19 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The audition consists of a ballet class, an acting exercise, and a written placement examination. There is a $25 fee for the audition class, and students must wear tights, leotard for girls/T-shirt for boys, and soft ballet shoes. For girls age 14 and older there will be a portion of the audition on pointe.
MFAB also offers a homeschooling program in the afternoons, dependent on enrollment of five or more students in a level. The program is offered for ages 8 through 13 in the early afternoon, and for homeschooling students age 14 and older, their classes are taken along with the normal academy student population in the evenings.
For Information call 914-788-8886. Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church is located at 544 Wolcott Ave., Beacon. For more information visit fonteynacademy.org.