Welcome to the Barbara Ellis Studio of Dance. We’ve been serving dancers of all ages in Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas for over 40 years. With a solid history in providing quality instruction, we’re proud to offer classes in tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and musical theater. With beginner classes starting for dancers as young as three… all the way up to an established and thriving adult program… BESD offers a warm and friendly environment where students can thrive. Listed are the classes offered at the studio on a weekly basis.
Tap focuses on rhythms and intricate footwork – creating a percussion instrument out of the dancer’s feet. Classes at BESD emphasize the development and strengthening of basic tap technique and terminology while incorporating the importance of rhythm and sound.
Beginning tap classes focus on learning single tap steps with clean and clear execution, as dancers progress, the steps are then combined into a series of combinations that compliment various styles of music. Just like Jazz vocalists who add rhythms to music by scatting, tappers do it by “scatting” with their feet. The difficulty of the steps coincides with the skill level of the class.
Students at BESD are generally taught “classical tap” or Broadway tap where the dancer’s arms and upper bodies are also utilized in order to blend movements of ballet or jazz into the tap routines. It can be a lighter-sounding version of tap with an emphasis on various levels of tone.
The “rhythm tap” classes offered at BESD tend to be a heavier or harder-hitting form of tap than Broadway tap, and the sounds are made not only with the bottom of the shoe, but also with the back, sides, and tips. Rhythm tap is a broad category that encompasses the hoofing styles of current stars such as Savion Glover and the late Gregory Hines.
Since tap dancing is a vigorous form of dance that requires physical fitness, many kids as well as adults like to tap dance for fun and exercise since it builds aerobic fitness as well as muscle control.
All “Combo” and “Ensemble” classes include tap instruction.
Jazz is an exciting and ever evolving dance form full of rhythm, syncopation, passion and life. It’s an essential part of musical theatre choreography and can be seen in dance competitions, music videos, and on television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance.
Jazz can be powerful and percussive, expressive and lyrical, or specific and stylized. The basic fundamentals taught in ballet are built upon and utilized to teach quality of movement and technique across the various forms of jazz dance styles. Classes explore body isolations of the head, shoulders, ribcage, feet and arms and focus on fluidity and proper execution of steps.
Classes at BESD teach basic-to-advanced jazz dance techniques and terminology with emphasis on jazz isolations, rhythms and performance.
Musical Theater is a fun and entertaining class that encompasses the wide spectrum of productions that are Musical Theatre. Shows like Grease, My Fair Lady, Chicago, and The Lion King are examples of diverse styles, but they’re all embraced under the title of Musical Theater.
This form of dance focuses on theatrical performance – stimulating artistic ability through dance movement, improvisation and interpretation of music. The use of hand props, make up and much more – it provides all the ‘must have’ qualities for today’s amateur and professional dancer.
Ballet is a classical form of dance that dates back to the 17th century, but its timeless style of expressive movement has something to offer everyone. Whether you want to try ballet for pleasure or are more interested in becoming a serious-minded ballerina, BESD offers a variety of classes for all skill levels and ages.
While Ballet can be focused on and mastered as a dance form by itself, it also provides the building blocks, form and technique in order to succeed in all other forms of dance. You will learn and develop overall strength, poise and coordination as well as the foundations of balance, good posture, expression and flexibility.
Beauty, flow and elegance are inherent in the elements of ballet. Classes focus on overall body alignment and awareness with emphasis on proper usage of feet and legs and execution of turnout. Carriage and usage of the upper torso and arms is also stressed. Traditional barre work, center work and combinations are included in all classes.
Dancing “en Pointe,” or on Pointe, is a major goal in a ballerina’s dance life. However, dancing on Pointe, or on your toes, requires tremendous strength of the legs and feet as well as proper form, strength and alignment before making the transition. Students must meet teacher requirements and have approval before starting Pointe classes.
Contemporary & Lyrical
Contemporary dance is a genre of dance performance that developed during the mid-twentieth century and has since grown to become one of the dominant genres for formally trained dancers throughout the world, with particularly strong popularity in the U.S. and Europe. Although originally informed by and borrowing from classical, modern, and jazz styles, it has since come to incorporate elements from many styles of dance. Due to its technical similarities, it is often perceived to be closely related to modern dance, ballet, and other classical concert dance styles.
In terms of the focus of its technique, contemporary dance tends to combine the strong but controlled legwork of ballet with modern that stresses on torso. It also employs contract-release, floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation characteristics of modern dance. Unpredictable changes in rhythm, speed, and direction are often used, as well. Additionally, contemporary dance sometimes incorporates elements of non-western dance cultures, such as elements from African dance including bent knees, or movements from the Japanese contemporary dance.
BESD Dancers love their contemporary classes and often showcase their numbers in competitions and workshops throughout Colorado.
Hip-hop dance refers to street dance styles primarily performed to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. It includes a wide range of styles primarily breaking which was created in the 1970s and made popular by de crewsancin the United States. The television show Soul Train and the 1980s films Breakin’, Beat Street, and Wild Style showcased these crews and dance styles in their early stages; therefore, giving hip-hop mainstream exposure. The dance industry responded with a commercial, studio-based version of hip-hop—sometimes called “new style”—and a hip-hop influenced style of jazz dance called “jazz-funk”. Classically trained dancers developed these studio styles in order to create choreography from the hip-hop dances that were performed on the street. Because of this development, hip-hop dance is practiced in both dance studios and outdoor spaces.
OurHistory & Background60 Years & Counting! EST. 1960
Welcome to the Barbara Ellis Studio of Dance. We’ve been serving dancers of all ages in Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas for over 40 years. With a solid history in providing quality instruction, we’re proud to offer classes in tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and musical theater. With beginner classes starting for dancers as young as three… all the way up to an established and thriving adult program… BESD offers a warm and friendly environment where students can thrive.
As a family owned and operated business, with Barbara herself still at the helm, the studio offers a personal touch that is unique. Many dancers consider the studio their second home – not only because of the time they spend here, but also because of the close, caring atmosphere.
Students from BESD have gone on to become performers on the collegiate level, in the professional world of dance and on the Broadway stage. Many are working as dance instructors themselves or choreographing for productions seen around the world.
At the Barbara Ellis Studio of Dance, students don’t just learn dance steps and technique, they learn how to perform and most of all… they learn a love of dance!
In addition to studio classes, current students also have the opportunity to attend various dance camps and workshops throughout the year and every student performs in the annual studio production staged at the Colorado Springs Pikes Peak Center. The event is usually standing room only and admission has always been free.
Located off of Academy Blvd. on York Street (just south of Woodmen) the studio has grown and thrived over the years without advertising of any kind – except for word of mouth. Classes are offered Monday – Saturday at very competitive rates and multi-class and multi-dancer discounts are available to families.