Whether you or your child likes to dance for fun or dreams of a career on stage one day, the New Tampa Dance Theatre (NTDT) offers dancers a world-class, professional experience that is unmatched in the Tampa Bay area.
Located on Cross Creek Blvd. (across from Heritage Isles) in New Tampa, the 7,500-sq.-ft. 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 25th season of creating dance memories and futures for her 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.”
While the coronavirus pandemic wiped out most of the first half of the year for NTDT, Elkins IronWing is hoping to finish her “25th season 2.0” out strong.
“Our hearts are bursting with excitement, seeing our beautiful students again,” she says. “With last season ending differently than planned, we are continuing to get back to the community and extending this milestone celebration by offering all new students $25 per month tuition for every class!”
NTDT’s complete schedule of classes is being offered with in-person, Zoom, or a hybrid of both to ensure that families feel 100% comfortable during this transition. Elkins IronWing says that the safety of their students has always been her top priority, so social distance guidelines, extra disinfecting nightly with hospital-grade products and masks are required at this time.
“Our students are extremely excited about being back dancing at the school and spending time with their dance family,” says Elkins IronWing. “We’re extremely proud of our faculty and our students’ dedication during this transition. They are all truly living up to the NTDT motto of ‘Respect, Responsibility and Teamwork.’”
A Chance To ‘Do As I Have Done’
Elkins IronWing herself says she started dancing at age 5, later trained in New York City and performed with the Ballet Metropolitan in Columbus, OH.
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 current NTDT property on Cross Creek Blvd., designed her spacious new studio herself, and moved her 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,” she says, “but our location is much closer to Wesley Chapel than one might assume. We are extremely convenient to all of the current growth (there). Wesley Chapel families are shocked to discover just how close we are and are excited because of how quickly they can drive to our school.”
All Ages & Experience Levels
NTDT caters to both the recreational dance lover as well as the devoted pre-professional — and every level in between.
The studio’s leveled curriculum offers multiple art forms for students to explore. Through personalized attention and professional expertise, NTDT’s professional faculty strives to provide a positive educational experience.
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 studio’s Early Childhood Program, ages 5-8 can take part in the Children’s Program and ages 9-18 are invited to join NTDT’s Youth Program.
In addition to classical ballet, NTDT 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 also have continued to tour internationally — now for 15 years — with the Rhythm Extreme performance troupe.
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 dance 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.
“With this milestone 25th anniversary celebration season, it’s a time for reflection with extreme gratitude and love for all the amazing people who have been a part of our dance programs and family,” says Elkins IronWing.”
One local former student certainly agrees with that assessment.
“I credit all of my success as a professional dancer to the foundational training I received at NTDT from ages 6-18,” says Victoria DeRenzo, who today is a professional dancer and choreographer who has toured internationally in 28 countries on four continents, most notably with the renowned Pilobolus Dance Theatre in Washington Depot, Connecticut.
“I loved every second of my experience growing up there,” she adds, “but I had no idea how spoiled I was until I graduated. Not many people receive a top-notch dance education in multiple artforms during their lifetimes, let alone at the age of 6.”
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 towards a goal, and having a well-rounded dance education give our students the tools and confidence to continue discovering new passions throughout their lifetimes,” she says.
Great Productions, Too!
All students get to perform in NTDT’s “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 the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus.
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 — Elkins IronWing says there is never a requirement to buy advertising or pay performance fees.
New Tampa residents Gary and Charity Hartley relocated here in 2018 from Virginia, and enrolled their daughter Hope at NTDT.
“The New Tampa Dance Theatre and the entire staff were the linchpins for our transition into the New Tampa area,” Charity says. “The warmth of the studio, quality of instruction and wonderful students have made us feel right at home. We especially love the way (NTDT) manages the educational aspect of their DTT company members, ensuring they have exposure to various dance forms in their weekly training, master classes and dance performances they attend as a group.”
Transferring at 14 years old, Charity says Hope was originally placed in the Youth Program Level 6 and has made true, long-lasting friendships at NTDT.
“The positive atmosphere, paired with the super talented staff, is simply the best dance experience we’ve encountered throughout our various moves as a military family,” Charity says.
Every holiday season, Elkins IronWing says local residents look forward to the community’s largest and longest-running interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, “The Nutcracker,” now in its 21st NTDT season. This year, it will be held Friday-Sunday, December 18-20, at the USF Tampa College of Arts Theater 1.
“It’s all about the children at NTDT, always has been and always will be,” she 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 2020 classes, visit NewTampaDanceTheatre.com or call (813) 994-NTDT (6838). You also can follow NTDT on Facebook and Instagram at “New Tampa Dance Theatre.”