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Publication - BDancewear.com

PDT’s owners and instructors were recognized for our variety of classes, our methods to instruction and our wholsome family environment in our school!  Please take a moment and read their blog post!  

BDancewear.com Article

The Plano Dance Theatre (PDT) in Plano, Texas, is a high quality performing arts school with training in dance, drama, music and acrobatics. Katie Miller and her mother, Terri Bruno, and Sharon Godsave, the Drama Instructor are the owners of PDT. Katie is also the Performance Ensemble Director and her mother, Terri, is the Artistic Director.

Katie believes that PDT offers more for their students than most studios in their area can offer. PDT has a variety of different options for their students.  Most schools put their focus in only one area, while PDT offers quality triple threat training options for students with multiple talents, as well as single focus training.

PDT is considered a pre-professional school.  Their instructors have a higher level of expertise, their class sizes are smaller and they don’t hold typical recitals, however, performance opportunities are available for ALL of their students, beginner recreational through pre-professional.  Because their class sizes are smaller their students receive individual personal attention catered to their own personalities providing growth personally and skillfully.  Whether you are looking to take a class recreationally or on a more serious level, PDT can find the right track for your child.

At PDT, our classes are always fun!  Your child will be learning dance steps whether they are beginner recreational dancers or pre-professional.  All of our performers are expected to follow school policies, learn respect, time management and responsibility as part of their education.  We ensure these lessons are learned in a fun and creative way for all students.

PDT always recommends ballet be the first choice for dancers, however if the child is dancing recreationally or is looking for experience in acting or singing, they commend Musical Theater, Drama, Voice or Hip Hop classes to introduce them to the other options they have.

Pre-professional training will require significantly more in the time commitment department, as+ well as financial commitment department. Pre-professional training will have students in class multiple times a week, for many hours. Most of the hours will be dedicated to ballet classes. Class sizes tend to be smaller, and teacher qualifications tend to be at a higher level. Pre-professional schools do not usually offer annual recitals, but they offer performance opportunities through showcases, galas or even parts in ballets with local professional companies. A pre-professional experience will ask more of the student and the parent.

Although PDT is a pre-professional school due to the high volume of dancers that move on successfully to college programs from their school, their recreational programs are intertwined with their pre-professional programs so that all performers are treated with equal respect.  Their instructors are all highly qualified from some of the most prestigious schools in the country and Europe, however, this does not mean they don’t like to have fun!

Qualifications of the teachers are important. Since dance is not “monitored” (meaning no certifications are required to work for recreational studios), you want to make sure the studio is hiring teachers who are properly trained. The students at the Plano Dance Theatre are privileged to have teachers like Katie Miller and Terri Bruno.

Katie Miller began her dance education at the age of 2.  As the daughter of Ms. Terri Bruno, she grew up in the studio taking any classes available to her ability. She attended her first competition at the age of 6 bringing home awards both regionally and nationally for her talent and performance throughout her youth. At 12 years old, Miss Katie began traveling to a variety of prestigious schools around the country to expand her education.  She attended Ballet Chicago, Ruth Page Foundation School of Ballet, Gus Giordano Dance Center, Lou Conte Dance Center, Joffrey Ballet New York and Ballet Magnificat, to name a few.  She studied intensively each summer, returning to her home, The Caledonia Dance Center, owned by Miss Terri at the time.

Upon high school graduation, Miss Katie moved to Chicago Illinois, where she attended Columbia College. She earned her BFA and continued her dance training throughout the city studying with company members of Hubbard Street Dance Company, Ballet Chicago and Gus Giordano.  Due to a back injury, Miss Katie had to set her performance career aside, where she discovered her true love of choreography and teaching. She taught at several schools in the Chicagoland area before relocating here to Plano in 2005 to open The Plano Dance Theatre with her mother and best friend, Sharon Godsave.

Since inception in 2005, Katie has won countless awards for her teaching and choreography.  More importantly, she and the other PDT staff members have raised many students in the arts to gain scholarships to colleges across the country.  Miss Katie maintains personal relationships with all of the students that have grown through PDT and finds her purpose in positively affecting the lives of young students.  Her primary focus is to ensure that all students know they have a place on the stage, that each child can learn self expression through the arts and that through dance they have a voice.  Her passion is to help young students grow, gain healthy self worth and learn the lessons to carry them fully and successfully through their lives.

Terri Bruno began her dance education at age 4.  She trained throughout her early childhood to become a member of the Grand Rapids Ballet for several years. Terri owned and operated The Caledonia Dance Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan for 17 years prior to relocating to the DFW area.  In that time, she directed 8 seasons of The Nutcracker won countless awards for her performance, choreography and teaching skills both regionally and nationally.  Upon inception of PDT Miss Terri has written and directed over 20 productions for PDT.  She also works for the City of Plano at the Courtyard Theater as Lighting Designer, manager and theater technician.

Terri has enhanced the lives of countless students over her career and many have her to thank for their successes.  She has been a blessing to many and will continue to be as she continues to pass on her values of hard work, determination, accountability and strength.

She believes that she has the privilege of experiencing proud moments daily when any student reaches a hard earned goal, but said that she would have to say her proudest moment was when one of her students was accepted to Juilliard.

The biggest mistake she sees dancers make is giving up.  It is difficult to help children understand that nothing in dance is easy, and that nothing that is worth having is easy.  Kids think that if they don’t get the latest trick they’re not “good.”  In today’s immediate gratification society, they don’t understand that it takes patience, practice and work for true reward.  

Katie’s goals are to grow her school and help the community hear more about them, the work they do, and what the Plano Dance Theatre can do for them.

Katie started her studio because of a group of misfit students with big dreams that she wanted to help them fulfill.

At PDT they are all about the students and the arts. Their primary goal is to share the arts with their students, teach them about themselves, each other, and how they can use the arts as a beautiful form of self expression.

At PDT, they do not allow dancers under the age of 6 to audition for their performance ensemble, their competitive performing company of more serious dancers.  In addition, their younger dancers run a different program than their older serious dancers.  While both acquire performance opportunities, the experiences for each age are geared toward the appropriate age and preference of the student.

Their performance ensemble participates in conventions and hold master classes. Additionally, PDT encourages their dancers to audition for summer intensives at schools such as Joffrey, ABT, Ballet Austin, Alvin Ailey, Ballet Chicago and Juilliard.  Many of their dancers gain scholarships to these intensives and find they are extremely beneficial for the growth of the child.

If you would like more information about The Plano Dance Theatre, visit their website at theplanodancetheatre.com, call them at 214-287-7816 or email them at pdtnews@gmail.com. You can also “Like” them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and connect with them on Instagram.

Please post a comment if you have had any experience with Katie Miller of The Plano Dance Theatre.

Written By Cyndi Marziani
Owner
BDancewear.com

Publication - Dance Studio Life Magazine

In the September 2014 Issue of Dance Studio Life Magazine, Ms. Katie Miller was asked to give her philosophy on dance instruction.  This is the article that was published.

Thinking Out Loud

By Katie Miller

When Plano Dance Theatre opened nine years ago, as a co-owner and director of our Performance Ensemble, I knew I did not want competition to be the primary focus, but instead chose to encourage the artistry of dance as its own reward. Instead of participating in many regional competitions and one or more national finals, my dancers compete only two or three times per year. We don’t attend national finals; instead I encourage them to audition for summer intensive programs where they can continue their technical growth and development.

At PDT, classes focus on technique, not rehearsals. We don’t begin choreography for competition until January, and the students are performance-ready by March. Rehearsals for competition are held on Saturdays. In their classes, the dancers work on technique and movement quality all week, every week, which prepares them to come to rehearsals with the tools they need in order to do the various styles of dance they encounter in their competition choreography.

Since PDT is a performing-arts school, we provide our dancers with a wide variety of performance opportunities, including a holiday performance at Christmas, a full musical in the spring, and, at the end of the season, a concert performance of the dances they do at competitions. These original performances involve singing, dancing, acting, and students who study all three; casting depends on each student’s primary focus. By offering a variety of performances, we expose our dancers to many options for their futures as artists. As with the competition dances, rehearsals for these performances are held on Saturdays to keep the weekday classes focused on technique.

Performance Ensemble members are required to take six core classes (two ballet classes plus jazz, contemporary or lyrical, tap, and improvisation); other classes (musical theater, acrobatics, hip-hop, pointe, drama, voice, conditioning, and leaps and turns) are available at no additional charge.

We require improv because it encourages freedom of movement and individual creativity. Without any set choreography to restrict them, the students explore contact and trust exercises that help them relate to other dancers personally, physically, and spatially. Once they are all on the same “wavelength,” they learn to watch and feel for one another’s presence and placement. The bonds that result allow the dancers to connect with one another on a deeper level and build stronger working relationships with one another both on and off the stage.

Some improv sessions are technical, exploring musicality, timing, and rhythms. Others are spent expressing emotion and ideas through movement. These often become therapy sessions for some teens, who share their experiences and thoughts. These are the classes I find most rewarding, I believe because the dancers are free to be themselves, express their thoughts and feelings, and let go of the stress that comes with trying to balance family, school, friends, dance, and other activities and responsibilities.

We emphasize expressiveness, artistry, and technical accomplishment equally. The main reason we require improvisation class is to teach the kids that dance is not a sport but an art form. They learn that dance is a way to communicate their thoughts and feelings without words, to share a message, feeling, or part of themselves with any audience, large or small. As their instructor, I am given the privilege of knowing them on a very personal level, which is one of the best aspects of my career choice.

Our students perform in various kinds of shows to learn the art of stagecraft and to prepare for future performance opportunities. We do competitions because they are fun and provide opportunities for the students to absorb the ideas, talent, and artistry of others who share a love of dance. These varied performance opportunities, along with the focus we place on technique in every class, give our students the learning and motivational tools they need to strive for their own personal greatness.


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