By Ed Albanesi
Residents of St. Johns County have yet another reason to be proud of their local schools. Beginning next month a partnership between two entities will provide students and dancers a unique opportunity to enhance their education and development.
The St. Augustine Virtual Education Center is joining with Abellaâ€™s School of Dance to open the Academy for Dancers. It will provide current and future dancers with the opportunity to combine a full school schedule with an ambitious dance schedule.
Already housed in the same facility, the Virtual Education Center and Abellaâ€™s will allow students to pursue their dance dreams while eliminating the sometimes challenging logistics of getting from one school to another.
While the concept is not locally unique, this new partnership will be the first in our community offering both a state-certified educator on staff and the services of an American Ballet Theatre (ABT) certified instructor.
Abellaâ€™s School of Dance has been a mainstay in St. Augustine for more than five years. The St. Augustine Virtual Education Center opened this past January and shares ample classroom and studio space with Abellaâ€™s. The mission of the Virtual Education Center is to provide a safe, nurturing environment where self-schooled students can go to learn, build, and create themselves into role models for the community.
The Center wants to give parents the option of providing their children with a home-schooled environment with the added benefits of socialization and the flexibility to more easily include dance and other extracurricular activities into their schedules.
There are also some cases where the need for parents to return to the workforce would have been a limiting factor for continued home schooling. The Virtual Education Center can, in many instances, eliminate this impediment.
Students enrolled in the Virtual Education Center and the Academy for Dancers will also have the opportunity to enhance their experiences in courses covering art, music, yoga, conditioning and foreign languages. The curriculum is still developing and will be based on demand. Organizers also hope to include a community outreach component.
The fee schedule is flexible, affordable and can be tailored to each individual studentâ€™s needs. The Virtual Education Center follows the St. Johns County School District calendar. Dance instruction will commence during the second week of school.
There are two open houses scheduled when potential students can visit the Virtual Education Center and Abellaâ€™s Dance Studio to see what this new partnership has to offer.
The open houses are on Tuesday, July 14, and Wednesday, July 15 â€” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. The facilities are located across from the Cobblestone Plaza at 1711 Lakeside Ave. (keep heading north and follow signs after you pass Rhinos and Hyppo Cafe).
For more information go online to www.savirtualedcenter.com/academy.html.