Kelly Ann Vitacca is committed to making professional dancers. The high-energy artistic director of Vitacca Vocational School for Dance (previously Vitacca Dance Project) located in the former Montrose studio of Dominic Walsh Dance Theater even built the second studio addition with her own hands alongside founding Ballet Master Phillip Broomhead and local volunteers. The mission: provide aspiring young dancers in Houston with a fresh, new venue for cross-training dance education.
That was 2015. Since then, the program has solidified its reputation as one of Houston’s top dance training programs, offering primary, pre-professional and professional dance students access to a world-class destination for dance education and rebranding itself as the Vitacca Vocational School for Dance. Unique to its success is a dual-program curriculum of advanced classical ballet and contemporary/modern dance—“the foundation,” says Vitacca, of professional dance careers and college scholarship opportunities. The School even offers an accelerated program track for homeschooled dancers and separate summer intensives.
Vitacca tailors each season’s programming to the skills and strengths of the incoming class. “Our goal is to help grow and educate the individual dancer allowing them to surpass their preconceived limitations. To do that, we have created a mentorship program including specific technique schedules per dancer and provide a foundation of discipline and work ethic expected in the professional world.”
With the 2018-19 season, the school continues its commitment to training diversity with two new appointments: Ballet Master Richard Bowman, formally with American Ballet Theatre and Australian Ballet, and Ballet Mistress Tina Bohnstedt, a German artist formerly with the Bavarian State Ballet and Houston Ballet. Phillip Broomhead will continue as Guest Master Teacher and Coach for the school’s students. In addition, Vitacca has launched the professional Vitacca Resident Artist Program (RAP). The five-weekend program aims to bridge the gap between academic training and the real world and provide admitted dancers the opportunity to explore choreography, set repertoire for performance, attend master classes and receive private coaching from specially-curated professional artists from the national dance community. Contemporary dancer and commercial choreographer Jess Hendricks and professional ballet dancer/choreographer Andrea Shelley open the 2018-2019 season.
Vitacca’s focused mission and tailored approach have paid off. Graduating students have gone on to land spots in prestigious national and international conservatories and professional companies such as Alberta Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Boston Ballet and the iconic Juilliard School, to name a few.
Brittany Broussard, now a professional dancer at Alberta Ballet, and Maddie Medina, a freshman at Juilliard, both chose the school for its strong dual-program training and focus on creating professional dancers. “I knew I would be getting the best training possible in Houston,” says Medina. “Vitacca Vocational School for Dance is a place where all of the faculty truly care and want you to grow to your highest potential. Without my time at Vitacca, I would definitely not be at Juilliard today.”
The program isn’t just for teen/young adult dancers either. Vitacca Vocational School for Dance welcomes children ages 5-9 for their primary program and offers drop-in classes throughout the week. As a female entrepreneur and now new mother, Vitacca hopes these opportunities will help up-and-coming dancers and the Houston community explore the benefits classical and contemporary dance training have to offer.
The school is encouraging the Houston community to learn more on Friday, April 20 with an Open House from 4:45-8:30 p.m. offering complimentary technique classes taught by 2018-19 Vitacca School Faculty followed by a studio performance by the 2017-18 Vitacca Dancers at 8:00 p.m. All classes are open for parent/dancer observation. Auditions for the Vitacca 2018-19 Training Program take place Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, June 10 at 2311 Dunlavy in the Montrose section of Houston. More information and registration can be found at the Audition Page of VitaccaDance.org. Follow the Vitacca Vocational School for Dance on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates about the program.
Vitacca Vocational School for Dance
2311 Dunlavy, Houston, TX 77006