Coupé Theater Studio Students Excel Despite Covid Restrictions

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The pandemic has led to challenging times for educators navigating the restrictions on in-class teaching and emphasis on virtual classes. Despite this, students of the Coupé Theater Studio’s Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble, a full-service dance studio for nearly 40 years, have thrived, taking classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, musical theatre, voice training, vocal performance, acting and kinder classes. All classes are taught by professional instructors who either hold a degree or have a professional performing background and as a result Coupé has become known as the area’s preeminent school for producing well-rounded dancers and performers.

Taylor Quesada enrolled her daughter Olivia, now 10, when she was just three. “I liked that it was a well-established program that was very supportive of the girls and the parents,” she recalls. “The teachers have been amazing—they think of each individual child and what will work for them and are honest about what kids can accomplish—and how much work is required to reach their goals. When live classes were finally allowed to reopen, the school was very transparent about safety protocols, even giving dancers individual ‘boxes’ to dance in. There was always a volunteer army of mothers as well, checking temperatures and monitoring social distancing.”

Rather than having a live performance for the 2020 Nutcracker—which is the highlight of the year for the parents and students—the school produced a movie that families could watch together at home. “Creating a movie together was a new learning experience for the girls and gave everyone something to be excited about,” Quesada says.

Sophie Eichinger, now 15, has been enrolled at the school for the past eight years and her classes have become the favorite part of her day, a way to escape the stresses of high school life. “My dance friends have become some of the best friends I ever had,” she says. “When I walk into a dance class, I am surrounded by people I love doing what I love. I know I will get good instruction and get good correction, and I’ll walk out of class as a better dancer. I want to dance as long as I can—I do it because I love it and it brings me so much joy.”

Coupé students have been accepted into the prestigious intensive programs run by the Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Steps on Broadway, NYSSSA Modern Summer Intensive, Boston Conservatory, Berklee Musical Theatre Program and the Oklahoma City University Musical Theatre Acting Intensive.

Programs scheduled for June and July include classes for 4- and 5-year-olds, a Junior Summer Program for first and second grade students, a Dance and Theatre Summer Program for third graders and up, and Ballet and Evening Ballet Intensives. August programs include Back to School Intensives in Ballet, Acro and Jazz, and Broadway Musical Theatre. Learn more at www.rocklandyouthdanceensemble.org.

About Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble (RYDE), a nonprofit organization founded in 1983,

offers a forum for dance and theatre students and emerging artists to develop their talents in a fully integrated environment of education and performance. RYDE primarily features young performers, ages 7 through 18, who have accomplished high-quality performance ability through their studies in the performing arts. For nearly three decades, numerous RYDE dancers have qualified to attend Summer Dance Programs with prestigious national companies throughout the United States. Many have also become successful performers in dance, theatre and related professions. RYDE artists include students and professionals from Broadway, national dance companies and regional theatre.

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