Footlight Dance Centre was founded in 1984. A professional conservatory environment for dance instruction in the Wood River Valley. Our mission is to expose children to the best possible dance education including technical understanding, historical basis and analytical thinking skills. In addition we provide many performance opportunities when age appropriate. An annual full-length production is produced in May.

My staff and I approach class instruction as if each student has the potential to become a dancer, and thus take teaching seriously. It is not our purpose to demand each student become a professional dancer, but encourage them to respect and enjoy dancing, working towards understanding and executing movement to the best of their ability. Fun, poise, grace, strength, and skills are stressed. We provide a graduated curriculum within our dance departments and strive to provide a base of understanding to the historical connections between the dance forms.
Artistry, creativity and aesthetics with educational value is the philosophy we embrace. We hope to bring into your child’s life the wonderful world of dance.



A thorough training in the fundamentals of ballet is the foundation for the aspiring professional dancer. For basic skills, the emphasis is placed on the Cecchetti Method of ballet for development of these skills. As dancers progress in their training, they are exposed to classes covering other classical methods in order to produce well-rounded dancers. The Cecchetti Council of America is an organization dedicated to maintaining the standards and method of ballet training established by Maestro Enrico Cecchetti a century ago. His students were the greatest ballet dancers in his era and included the famous Anna Pavlova. The organization uses his teachings and writings in a sequence of grades which are carefully measured by degree of difficulty and physical development. It also provides a system of accredited examinations to test student proficiency within those grades. Hilarie Neely, School Director is a Licenciate Member of C.C.A. Cecchetti Council of America is closely linked with the Imperial Society of Teachers Dancing, London, England.


While having fun, children develop gross and fine motor skills as they learn to recognize rhythm in music, work effectively in group activities, utilizing individual creative dancing through problem solving. Students are exposed to ways the body moves in space, time, and shape using games, visual projects, music, props and freedom of movement under guided instruction. Research shows that such skills are an essential part of early development and their masterly can be a significant advantage when entering school.


Techniques formed in the 1900’s, modern is a reflections of the individual teacher or choreographer. A contemporary form of dance that bases itself in body alignment from ballet with the use of the floor and standing movement with concepts of fall-recovery, contract-release and use of gravitational forces. A sense of vast past and flow dominate a modern/contemporary class along with improvisational studies and student choreography.


The most commercial of the dance forms, jazz is a contemporary dance style which is a must for the dancer with an ambition to appear on stage and screen. Jazz is a reflection of a variety of musical styles ragtime, blues, rock and roll. The movement can be long and reaching or sharp and staccato. Hip hop is the newest style of jazz dance. It is a street dance that appeared in the 1980’s after the start of rap music and a need for a style of moving that reflected the music.


Tap is truly an American dance form, jazz tap and rhythm tap are rooted in improvisational jazz rhythms, in which the performer uses the body as a percussive instrument, and the floor as the head of a drum.

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