The Great Neck School of Dance, which is celebrating its 37th anniversary, has sparked a love of dance in quite a few little girls who have gone on to enjoy successful dance careers.
The school is particularly proud of student Ashley Hod, who began her training at the Great Neck School of Dance before being accepted into the school of the New York City Ballet, America’s leading ballet company.
Like other dancers, the North High grad began in the corps de ballet, but she was quickly given solo roles and then principal roles. Last year in Saratoga, she danced the leading role, Odette/Odile, in Swan Lake.
“This past December, I was proud to watch her dance The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker with principal dancer Andrew Fogette as her partner,” said Roberta Senn, the school’s founder and director. “It’s extremely rare for a dancer who is only 21 to be given principal roles. That is a testament to her basic training at the Great Neck School of Dance, where she showed extreme talent from a very young age.”
Hod, who grew up in Great Neck with five brothers and sisters, also received another huge honor. She was selected in the annual Lincoln Center Awards ceremony for emerging artists as the most promising young dancer of 2018.
“There is only one winner in each category and she won in the field of dance,” said Senn. “She recently appeared in a photo in The New York Times dancing the lead in Jerome Robbins’s Les Noces. Ashley also danced in ballets by [George] Balanchine and Robbins, as well as by Peter Martins and has originated roles in ballets of Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmanksy, Christopher Wheeldon and many others.”
The Great Neck School of Dance is also proud of other alumni, including Isabelle de Vivo, who at 21 is already a soloist at the San Francisco Ballet; Sarah Hughes, who won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2007 after training at the school for 11 years; and Emily Hughes, a fellow Olympian who studied ballet for eight years.
“Of course, we are exceedingly proud of our illustrious graduates,” said Senn. “But throughout 37 years, thousands of young women have grown elegant, accomplished, graceful and strong from practicing the discipline of classical ballet through the Great Neck School of Dance.”