Community Dance Partners: NOBA and NORDC

The New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) are prolific dance partners. From tuition-free programming year-round for seniors, kids and everyone in between, to pre-professional classes that give participants access to visiting master artists, the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance enriches the community through a commitment to creative movement.

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A NOBA performance. (Photo courtesy Jeff Strout and NOBA)

“No matter what age you are, 3 to 80 plus, we offer dance at all access points,” says NOBA Director Jenny Hamilton. “We create opportunities for every child to experience movement and dance, plus opportunities for adults and seniors to remain actively involved in the art form – all tuition-free!”

Now’s the time to keep NOBA in mind –in August, registrations are held at each center for fall after-school dance classes. Most classes are first come, first served and fill up quickly, so mark your calendars to enroll your child in this enriching, healthy activity. Check NOBA’s website for registration dates and class schedules. Of course, as Hamilton notes, NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance programs aren’t limited to children. Read on for a few other ways to participate, no matter your age or skill level.  You can also donate so that local children can attend NOBA events and see a world-class performance. Each donation of $30 supports one child. Donate now!

Open Ballet and Dance Fitness Classes

Every Saturday during the summer, NOBA will provide open ballet classes and dance fitness classes at the The Chevron Studio at Lyons NORDC Center, 624 Louisiana  Ave (Corner of Tchoupitoulas St.) for all skill levels ages 14 and up (including adults).
The dance fitness classes run from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m., and the open ballet classes run from 11:15 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. Enrollment is required the first time you attend.

Senior Dance Fitness

One of Hamilton’s favorite NOBA offerings is the dance fitness program for senior citizens ages 55+, which is offered at different locations throughout the city. “It’s a year-round program, and the seniors love it,” Hamilton says, noting that one senior participant’s health improved so much that she no longer needed previously prescribed medications.

The senior dance programming started in 2007 and has grown tremendously in years since. Today, seniors can join dance teams, participate in the Nutcracker performance, and even compete in the Greater New Orleans Senior Olympics (NOBA dancers took home both gold and silver medals at last year’s games).

Yoga and Tai Chi

NOBA also offers yoga and tai chi classes that will be available in July. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on these classes, which can improve coordination, balance, and overall health and wellbeing.

Tuition-Free Summer Dance Camps

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Youth ballet students. (Photo courtesy Jeff Strout and NOBA)

During the summer, NOBA hosts Adventures in Dance (ages 6-11) and Twilight Dance Camps (ages 6-18). The camps fill up quickly (they’re already full for this summer) and are first come, first served. Mark your calendars for next year to make sure your children can participate.

Adventures in Dance allows children to explore different dance styles like jazz, hip hop, ballet, Haitian, and modern, and also includes a literacy component where children read a dance-related book that they get to take home with them at the end of the camp. The camp includes breakfast and lunch each day and culminates in a fully costumed performance. The Twilight Dance Camps feature evening classes for every level of experience in ballet, tap, modern, hip hop, jazz, West African, and other dance forms.

Pre-Professional Program

Every May, NOBA hosts auditions for its Pre-Professional Program (ages 9-18), which trains dedicated students for careers in dance. Classes begin in the fall and continue through the academic year. Once accepted into the program, students take part in intensive dance classes three or more times per week in the state-of the art, 3000-square-foot Chevron Studio at the Lyons NORDC Center and at Tulane University.

“Students have access to high-quality training by both local and visiting master artists throughout the year as part of the Chevron Master Artist series at NOBA,” Hamilton says. “It gives them unprecedented opportunities to work with, train, and perform alongside some of the top names in the industry.”

Even More to Do

Classes for children ages 3 to 5 are available at the Lyons Center during the day, Hamilton says. These classes, aimed at teaching children the basics of dance in a nurturing environment, often include an adult component, such as “Caregiver and Me” classes. NOBA also offers classes in yoga and tai chi for adults with disabilities in partnership with ARC of Greater New Orleans through their daytime dance programming at the Lyons NORDC Center.

Quite simply, there is truly something for everyone: NOBA’s commitment to creative movement extends across all age groups and capabilities. Contact NOBA today to find out how you or your child can participate!