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There is more to the Black Mountain Center for the Arts than its beautiful Upper Gallery, the Front Porch Theatre, annual concerts and Art in Bloom.

All year long, but particularly during the school year, classes and artistic opportunities abound. Currently 30 classes are offered at the arts center, all taught by local artists in everything from ballet to drawing and painting to private voice or Celtic harp lessons.

Some classes, such as those offered in the Clay Studio behind the Arts Center, are so successful that there is a waiting list for open slots. Many of Amy Maze’s dance classes for children are filled.

Casey Kristofferson leads the Ballet Studio program on weekdays for children and adults of varying skill levels with the Cecchetti training method.

From 3:30 - 4 p.m. on Monday afternoons, Kristofferson teaches a half-hour pre-ballet lesson to 3- and 4-year-olds. On Wednesday evenings, class for five to seven year olds is held from 5 - 5:45 p.m. and is followed by a more advanced class from 5:45 - 6:45 p.m.

Monday and Wednesday mornings, from 9 - 10:30 a.m., and Thursday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. bring students opportunities to hone their craft.

Cecchetti is an exam process designed to give teachers and students specific goals to work toward and to maintain standards of development consistent with international standards.

Last spring when 10 Ballet Studio students travelled to Simpsonville, South Carolina to take part in exams at three different grade levels, all of the students passed with flying colors. The discipline and grace offered by ballet might be right for your student, so consider the BMCA Ballet Studio.

Renate Rikkers has been teaching yoga in the beautiful studio space on the top level of the Arts Center for years. She teaches Viniyoga on Tuesdays from 6 - 7:30 p.m. and Fridays 9 - 10:30 a.m. to help improve balance, posture and strength.

Award-winning artist Bob Travers offers drawing and painting classes for those seeking to develop their skills. Travers can teach anyone at any experience level any medium from scratch board to pencil to watercolor, acrylic and oil, he said.

Travers teaches in the downstairs drawing and painting classroom (Black Mountain's former jail) on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 - 3 p.m. Each year this class displays their work in an Upper Gallery exhibit.

For those with more specific interests private Celtic harp lessons with Sue Richards are availalbe. Richards won the American National Scottish Harp Championship four times and sat in with the Chieftains Irish band. She is a seasoned, exacting teacher.

Richards has a practice harp available for lessons so that students don’t need to transport theirs, but they do need to have one at home so they can practice.

“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” never sounded better than it does on a Celtic harp. Richards teaches on Tuesdays.

Some may know Timothy Wilds from his work at Montreat College and St. James Episcopal. Wilds is a certified master teacher of the Estill Voice Training System, a method taught by acting teachers, voice teachers, vocal coaches, and speech-language pathologists across the globe that helps speakers and singers to unlock the full potential of their voices. He offers private voice lessons on Thursdays at the Arts Center.

Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) meets on Wednesdays throughout the school year from 3:30 - 5 p.m. for students ages 8-14, is affordable and a great group activity that has lasting results.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is located at 225 W. State Street. For more information about any of the classes mentioned above call 669-0930 or visit BlackMountainArts.org.

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