Classes fill after-school hours with fun

From staff reports

With back-to-school excitement come decisions about how to best fill the hours after school. The Black Mountain Center for the Arts has several classes that might work.

JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) sessions begin Sept. 9. This program designed for students in third through ninth grades is led by professional musicians Cary Fridley, Ben Nelson and Hannah Seng, who teach JAM students in small groups to play traditional Appalachian tunes by ear on banjo, guitar and fiddle (home schoolers are invited too). The arts center has some instruments available for rent. Classes take place every Wednesday from 3:30-5 p.m. The 14-week first session costs $140, payable in two parts.

Every Monday and Thursday, Amy Maze teaches contemporary dance to children 3-16 years old. Classes are ongoing and $40 a month. Kids in Motion (Thursday 3:30-4:30 p.m.) is a creative movement class for 3- to 5-year-olds. The class helps develop coordination, spatial awareness, perception and memory.

Beginning Dance for 5- to 7-year-olds (Thursday 4:30-5:30 p.m.) is an upbeat combination of hip-hop, contemporary, modern and musical theater styles that stresses basic dance skills. Intermediate Dance for ages 8-11 (Monday 4-5 p.m.) is an extension of skills learned in beginning dance geared towards students with some dance experience. (This popular class fills up quickly once school is in session.)

Teen Dance for ages 12 and up (Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m.) requires no previous dance experience and offers students a combination of a wide variety of styles at each class. Maze also leads the BMCA Dance Troupe that offers students opportunities to perform in the community. Parents of students interested in Dance Troupe and who are enrolled in a BMCA dance class are welcome to attend a parents’ meeting at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 3.

The BMCA Ballet Studio led by certified Cecchetti instructor Casey Kristofferson Littlejohn has been gradually expanding its class offerings as students develop critical ballet techniques and skills. Most children’s classes take place on Saturday mornings, starting with pre-ballet for 3- and 4-year-olds at 9 a.m. ($40). Primary ballet class for 5- to 7-year-olds from 9:30-10:15 a.m. ($45) expands on the basics taught in pre-ballet. Cecchetti for 8- to 12-year-olds gets more serious with an hour lesson from 10:15-11:15 a.m. ($50).

Teens and adults study together in the 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.class ($52). Experienced dancers on pointe have class from 12:45- 1:15 p.m. ($40). Dancers ages 12 and up have an evening opportunity on Tuesdays from 7:30-9 p.m. ($52) for pre-pointe and pointe training.

Bob Travers keeps a waiting list for his drawing and painting classes that take place on Tuesdays after school, but slots open up before you kow it. While stressing basic skills, Travers will nurture and guide the student in whatever medium and style appeals most.

Contact arts center at 669-0930 or