It may be housed in a quiet building on a busy suburban street, but the New Tampa Dance Theatre (NTDT) offers dancers a world-class, professional experience that is unmatched in the Tampa Bay area, whether you or your child like to dance for fun or dream of a career on stage one day.
Located on Cross Creek Blvd. (across from Heritage Isles) in New Tampa, the 7,500-square-foot NTDT is the largest professional dance training facility in the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area. Owner and artistic director Dyane Elkins IronWing is in her 24th season of creating dance memories and futures for her New Tampa- and Wesley Chapel-area students, many of whom have gone on to study dance in college and/or dance professionally.
“As always, I’m so proud of our students,” says Elkins IronWing. “Our dancers become excellent college students, with their impressive time-management skills, perseverance and creative thinking.”
Elkins IronWing herself says she started dancing at age 5, later trained in New York City, and performed with the Ballet Metropolitan in Columbus, Ohio.
She moved to Tampa in 1995 to be near family and friends and immediately opened NTDT in the Pebble Creek Collection on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. In 2002, she purchased the property on Cross Creek Blvd., designed her spacious new studio herself, and moved the school to the new building in January 2006.
With the bigger location, Elkins IronWing was off and running, offering smaller class sizes and larger, more varied schedules.
She says she also has a larger pool of students today, with the ongoing explosive growth in Wesley Chapel.
“Our name might say New Tampa; however, our location is much closer to Wesley Chapel than one might assume,” says Elkins IronWing. “We are extremely convenient to all of the current growth (there). Wesley Chapel families are shocked to discover just how close we are and excited because of how quickly they can drive to our school.”
All Ages & Experience Levels
Elkins IronWing caters to both the recreational dance lover as well as the devoted pre-professional, and every level in between.
NTDT’s leveled curriculum offers multiple art forms for students to explore. Through personalized attention and professional expertise, the NTDT faculty provides a positive educational experience based on the studio’s core principles of respect, responsibility and teamwork.
Teen/Adult classes include four eight-week sessions (from Sept.-May) of classical ballet, tap and Zumba.
Children ages 3-4 can participate in the Early Childhood Program, ages 5-8 can take part in the Children’s Program, and ages 9-18 can participate in NTDT’s Youth Program.
In addition to classical ballet, the studio offers full programs in creative movement, modern, jazz, tap and hip-hop.
Each program has its own directors and specific syllabuses guiding students in a structured manner through their studies.
Dyane’s husband, Troy IronWing, is NTDT’s director of tap, while she will instruct ballet, jazz and creative movement classes this season. Both have continued to tour internationally, now for 14 years, with the Rhythm Extreme performance troupe.
In addition, NTDT ballet director Cristy Garcia Tanner started her dance training at age 3 in her native Puerto Rico, and at age 13, she was invited to join the Ballet Concierto Company in San Juan, PR.
Modern dance director Carla Armstrong, who joined the NTDT faculty in 2005, graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Dance.
Jazz director Kristine Morgan has been dancing professionally since age 19, and she earned her BFA degree in Dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, and also currently is the director of entertainment at Busch Gardens.
Hip-hop Director Dreama Davidson, who also has been with the school since 2005, has 19 years of professional performances and choreography to her credit, including participating in the “Katonga” show at Busch Gardens.
The facilities at NTDT are as top notch as the instructors, and include maple flooring for the tap classes, 20-25-ft.-tall mirrored walls, student locker rooms and a large studio space that can accommodate up to 200 people. Sprung floors provide shock absorption to protect the dancers’ joints, and an on-site physical therapist ensures the health of the dancers. NTDT also features a café offering light meals, snacks, coffee and other drinks.
The Training You Need
NTDT has developed a reputation for creating strong, professional dancers with alumni who have moved on to highly respected companies, Broadway productions and the Walt Disney Company.
Because NTDT students learn to be proficient in multiple art forms, these students have an edge in the competitive world of dance and many of them have been accepted into prestigious summer intensive programs, including the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theater in New York City, The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago and the Boston Ballet.
However, Elkins IronWing also is diligent about providing the same quality of instruction to the roughly 60 percent of the students who are enrolled in NTDT’s popular recreational programs, who have no professional dance ambitions.
“If a student doesn’t choose to pursue a career in dance after high school, they can still reach a level of artistry to be accepted into many college dance programs,” says Elkins IronWing. “Believing in yourself, respecting the process of working toward a goal, and having a well-rounded dance education give our students the tools and confidence to continue discovering new passions throughout their lifetimes.”
Great Productions, Too!
All students get to perform in the “Spring Production” and — through the studio’s nonprofit partner, the Dance Theatre of Tampa (DTT) — in the winter production of “The Nutcracker,” as well as the “Summer Concert Series,” held in June at USF.
DTT provides more than 300 free tickets to NTDT’s corporate sponsors, local community supporters, alumni members and students. A small costume rental fee for productions is the only cost over the tuition that parents have to pay at any time — there is never a requirement to buy advertising or pay performance fees.
New Tampa residents Dan and Lisa Sirois relocated here from Port St. Lucie in 2016 and enrolled their daughter at NTDT.
“With Cassidy dancing since she was 3, choosing the correct school was important,” Lisa says. “Right away, we knew we made the right decision. We appreciate the fact that Dyane faithfully believes in running the school with a policy that all students are treated fairly, with no favoritism. Absolutely no bullying is allowed. And, above all, Dyane strives to help guide each student to become respectful, decent human beings as well as great dancers.”
Transferring at 11 years old, Lisa says Cassidy was originally placed in the Youth Program Level 3 and has made true, long-lasting friendships at NTDT. “Her dance technique and confidence have improved tremendously because of all the extremely caring and knowledgeable dance teachers,” Lisa says. “She loves NTDT!”
Every holiday season, Dyane says local residents look forward to the community’s largest and longest-running interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, “The Nutcracker,” now in its 19th season. This year, it will be held Friday-Sunday, December 14-16, at USF Tampa’s College of the Arts Theater 1.
You can catch free sneak peeks of NTDT’s “The Nutcracker” at the Shops at Wiregrass mall on Saturday, November 24, Friday, November 30, Saturday, December 1 and Friday-Saturday, Dec. 7-9.
NTDT’s much-awaited Sugar Plum Fairy Tea fundraiser is now in its 14th season and will be held Sunday, December 2, at USF’s Gibbons Alumni Center. This popular event features a light lunch, desserts (including a chocolate fountain), giveaways, a sneak preview of “The Nutcracker,” and an opportunity to dance with Clara (the lead role of the young girl who receives the beloved Nutcracker as a Christmas gift) and her “party friends.”
Each year, a portion of the proceeds from the Tea is donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in South Tampa. Tickets for both the Tea and “The Nutcracker” go on sale on Monday, October 1.
“It’s all about the children at NTDT, always has been and always will be,” Dyane says. “We are a company that enables children to succeed. The key is setting high expectations all while having fun and building self-confidence. With the amazing season ahead of us, we would like to thank all of our trusting and loyal families over the years and the organizations that continually support our vision. Without their recognition and time, NTDT wouldn’t be the magical place it has become!”
The New Tampa Dance Theatre offers year-round free trial classes for prospective dancers of all ages. To tour the facility or to rent it for a meeting, party or function, visit NTDT at 10701 Cross Creek Blvd. For more information and to check out the exciting lineup of fall classes, visit NewTampaDanceTheatre.com or call (813) 994-NTDT (6838).