Dance company opens Edinburg studio

Young girls in the Pre Primary 2 ballet class giggle during a recent session at the Italia Performing Arts ballet studio in Edinburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

EDINBURG – Winchester-based dance studio Italia Performing Arts is reaching out to students in Shenandoah County after recently opening a new location on Piccadilly Street.

Lorenza Kirk, a native of Florence, Italy, owns Italia Performing Arts and teaches classes as head ballet instructor. Her husband Peter Kirk is the business manager.

Instructors at Italia Performing Arts have taught classes out of Winchester since August 2012. In October, Peter Kirk said the company began offering lessons in a classroom at Anytime Fitness in Woodstock to gauge possible demand for classes in the area.

“We did better than expected in terms of numbers of people,” he said. “We were restricted there by the time we had available and the space.”

With Shenandoah clientele in mind, he said the business began looking at locations in January and found their second location in Edinburg. The building that the business is now renting stood vacant for about a year, previously home to Shenandoah Valley School of Therapeutic Massage.

Lorenza Kirk, school principal and head teacher of the ballet department, has a group of 5 year olds stretch during ballet class. Rich Cooley/Daily Rich Cooley/Daily

Lorenza Kirk said her Primary and Pre-Primary classes lay the groundwork for creative expression, teaching children from ages 3 to 7 the basics of ballet and discipline. From there, Ballet Essentials classes and classes in other styles of dance take them further.

“If they have a good base of ballet, they can branch out and be good in all the other disciplines,” she said. “If they don’t have a good base in ballet, they’ll struggle with the others.”

Lorenza Kirk teaches the Cecchetti method, which she trained in under a number of instructors in Florence, England and the U.S. – some involved in Cecchetti-devoted councils and societies.

“It’s a very structured curriculum, starting from 3 years old … ’til when they start to really be artists and they can start expressing themselves,” she said. “Basically, the school is not recreational school … it’s a training school.”

She said that despite some people’s objections to rigorous classes for younger students, that structure is vital in building the dancers’ foundation in learning dance.

Aviyana Zays, left, and Avarose Winner, right, both 5 and of Woodstock, jump during a recent ballet class at the Italia Performing Arts studio in Edinburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

Besides the ballet classes, instructors teach other styles of dance like hip-hop and lyrical, as well as a class meant for adults.

“I teach my ballet and Pilates combo, and then we were thinking to add more genres because some other people think they like ballroom or Irish or jazz,” she said.

For the moment, the studio is only giving lessons in ballet for children and its ballet and Pilates combo class for adults at the Edinburg location. The Winchester studio has offered Irish dance classes for more than a year, and Peter Kirk said they’ve considered offering multiple other dance disciplines if they can find the proper instructors.

“It’s going rather nicely, because it wasn’t part of our original plan with the Italian name to put in Irish,” he said.

Italia Performing Arts offered free trial classes for children at the Edinburg location when it first opened on Feb. 15 and on Feb. 22 because of the weather. Kirk said some clients living in Shenandoah have already switched over from the Winchester studio to the new Edinburg location.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or