Indianapolis dance expert discusses ballet instruction
Lyras got the first big break of her dancing career when she was just 7 years old. "My family moved from Greece to New York City in 1966," Lyras says.
"I barely spoke English, but auditioned at The School of American Ballet and was one of 30 children accepted."
After graduating and performing with ballet companies on the East Coast for years, Lyras moved to Indianapolis and opened ISB in 2006.
"I don't think I chose to be a dancer and a teacher - I think this is what I was meant to do."
We posed some questions to Victoria Lyras, founder and artistic director of highly rated Indianapolis School of Ballet, and asked her to spotlight the services her dance studio offers.
What types of dance classes do you teach?
Primarily, we offer ballet instruction - that's the emphasis of the school. But we do provide modern dance, a tap program, jazz, and we even have an association with [highly rated] Riolo Dance, which is in the same building, to provide ballroom dance.
How do you charge for classes?
We have three different programs: The Young Children's Program, the Pre-Professional Program and the Open Dance Program. The children's and pre-professional classes pay by tuition, and the price is determined by the class level.
They range from $530 to $2,550 annually. Open dance classes for teens and adults are year round and are $20 for a 90-minute class.
How often should someone take classes?
The young children have class one hour a week, while the pre-professional students are strongly recommended to attend class twice a week - but some upper level students are in here six days a week.
We also have some diehard adult students who come to class twice a week. The more you practice, the better you'll become.
What sets your dance studio apart from others?
When I opened ISB, my vision was - and still is - to give students a professional ballet school here in Indianapolis. The quality of training is owed to the top-notch faculty and guest faculty, who are all professional dancers.
We also put on high-quality productions and have a magnificent downtown facility on Capitol Avenue, with great views of the Indiana Statehouse.
Find out how the Indianapolis School of Ballet goes beyond teaching dance.
Why do people come to you for dance classes?
I can only speculate. A lot of our adult students used to dance as children and want to rekindle that love and joy. Other adult students never had the opportunity as a child to dance, so this is a great opportunity for them.
Plus, it's a great form of exercise! It's also an intellectual process. It's challenging because ballet is a very finely tuned art form that has vocabulary and absolute technique.
Do you have a typical student?
Not at all. Each and every student is unique, special and adored. No one knows what they can do or what they're capable of unless they push themselves - so we have all age groups and all types of students. Most of our students are ladies, but we have gentlemen in our programs as well.
Do you think dance is for everyone?
In general, dance is absolutely for everyone. Tapping your foot to music is dancing. However, when it comes to being a professional dancer, you have to look at the potential of each student and their commitment level.
What's your favorite part of instructing dance?
I think what ultimately excites me as a teacher is when I see my students - any student - grasp a concept and I see the light go off in their eyes. To see that personal accomplishment and growth, that's what excites me.
Teaching is how we pass on the history of ballet - the tradition and art form - to future generations.