When you make a visit to New York City, there are some must-see landmarks: the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park. And for dancers, Steps on Broadway. The studio is a staple of the NYC dance community and is the place where some of the biggest names in dance go to take class.
If your studio or dance team is planning a trip to NYC, making a group visit to Steps is a great way to experience this historic dance scene and train with top teachers. Here, Dance Informa speaks with Steps on Broadway’s Director of Group Programs Suzy Norton-DiCerto, who can help organize your group visit and customize it especially to you and your students’ needs.
What kinds of groups visit Steps on Broadway?
“We get dance studios from around the world. One week, I had a group from Pennsylvania, one from France, two from Australia and one from Quebec. This makes for quite an international atmosphere in our hallways. Most groups comprise of teenaged dancers, but we also get some really young dancers, as well as college-aged groups.”
What options do groups have for taking class and experiencing Steps?
“It depends on the age and the level of the groups. Those who have been to New York for dance classes before often take classes from our regular schedule. Those who are new to New York or have younger/less-experienced dancers usually arrange private classes with a teacher from Steps. A special option we have for musical theater groups who will be in NYC for a few days is our Musical Theater Workshop. Students get the opportunity to work with a musical director and a choreographer to learn a production number vocally and choreographically so they have a finished piece to present when they are done. We also offer audition workshops where students participate in a mock audition to learn what it is like to actually go through the ballet, contemporary or musical theater audition process.”
How is Steps unique from other dance studios in New York City?
“I feel we really try to spend a lot of time pre-planning with the group leader to assure that the students take the most appropriate classes where they will be challenged and enjoy themselves. I check with them throughout their time here to make sure they are happy with their class selections. I also try to make sure they know how to get around the city and help them with any local information I can provide.”
How are groups with a language barrier able to fully participate in class?
“Since it is all about movement, most groups are able to get by with teacher demonstration. I have a group here from China right now, and they are doing fine without knowing a word of English. I meet with every group upon arrival and make sure there is a translator to help them all with the basics before they begin their classes.”
Do you connect groups with other events, activities and attractions in the city?
“We have relationships with nearby hotels, restaurants and performances such as New York City Ballet and The Blue Man Group. I try to help group leaders achieve their tourist goals but also point them to more unique NYC attractions as well.”
How many groups do you get every year?
“It can range anywhere from 60-80 groups that book through me, but many other groups choose to make their own independent plans to take class at Steps as well.”
If students from a group (either national or international) enjoy and want to return to Steps for future training, what options do they have?
“Many studios return year after year, but if students want to come on their own they are more than welcome to take our drop-in classes (if they are over 12 years old). We also offer programs such as The Steps Conservatory Program, Summer Study NYC, International Independent Study Program (IISP), Work-Study and the School at Steps Summer Intensive (for ages nine to 18).”
Tips from Suzy Norton-DiCerto:
- Group leaders should buy MetroCards online or the day they arrive. Sometimes they are even available from the hotel concierge. Buy just a few cards (since they cost $1 each), load them with a set amount of money (do the math so you don’t waste money on your card), and share them between your students.
- Try to avoid taking dance classes on the day you arrive, especially when traveling by plane. Take the first day to settle in and explore the neighborhood (and allow for any unexpected travel delays).
- Try not to overbook your students. Take class, see shows and be a tourist. But leave time for travel, rest and fun! Students will get the most out of their classes if they’re not worn out.
- Always tag 15 minutes onto your estimated commute time to account for possible subway delays or traffic.
- While hotels in New Jersey are often cheaper, keep in mind that you’ll probably need to rent a bus and a driver.
- Plan meals ahead of time. Pack lots of snacks, and make reservations at restaurants for your full group.
For more information on planning your next Group Visit to Steps on Broadway, head to www.stepsnyc.com/groups.
By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Escuela de Arte Alex Martinez with Mary Carpenter. Photo courtesy of Steps on Broadway.