Port Washington’s Berest Dance Center is partnering with the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts to bring professional dance classes to its students and the local community this fall.
“We really both have the same vision, both Tilles and Berest school, in knowing that dance needs to be spread in Long Island,” Olga Berest, the director of the Berest center, said. “There has to be a greater awareness for dance on Long Island and especially to the young people.”
Tilles is offering students of the Berest Dance Center “master classes” from the professional dancing companies that perform at the Tilles Center in Brookville. In addition, the students and families will have the opportunity to see these companies perform at Tilles. They will be given priority and discounted seating at the concerts.
Both centers agree that the performing arts are “losing the youth” to “screen entertainment,” and they’re seeking to combat this with live dance performances.
“In this age of screen entertainment, live dance performance must be made more accessible and must be encouraged,” Susan Dunbar, the community engagement manager at the Tilles center, said.
The family-owned dance school has been open since 1976. The center offers class for all ages 2 and over and for all levels. It offers over 100 classes in many dance genres, including contemporary, lyrical, modern, ballet, broadway, jazz, tap, hip-hop and African dance, among many others.
The Berest Dance Center’s relationship with Tilles is not new as they have had performers guest teach at the school in the past. The center recently also had about 150 students go to the Tilles center to watch the Paul Taylor Dance Company perform. Heather Berest, Olga’s daughter and the artistic director of the Berest Dance Center, was a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company for 10 years.
The performers will teach a master class a few days before their performance, Berest said. Berest said she will open the classes to the public. “I’m going to say families please come and watch these wonderful dancers give class,” she said.
The line-up at the Tilles Center for 2017-2018 through April includes Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Complexions, Contemporary Ballet and the Martha Graham Dance Company. The dance center is located at 12 South Washington St. and is open seven days a week.