Student Stories: Beginning Ballet with Tammy Hurt

By Jessica Cooke

Jessica Cooke demonstrates a combination at the barre during Tammy Hurt’s beginning ballet class.

My very first dance class was ballet and twenty years later I still love it. The ballet class I take on Wednesday’s with Tammy Hurt is certainly different from the one I participated in at age five. Aside from her helpful advice and wonderfully frank manner of teaching, the best part about class with Tammy is the way she challenges her students, whether it is your first class or you are a familiar face. She constantly helps me find new ways to improve my technique and the way I move through choreography. Tammy has often given us one piece of advice I feel is applicable to all dance classes – remember to not simply perform a series of steps, but dance all combinations whether across the floor or at the barre.

Class begins at the barre with a series of combinations focusing on movements such as plié, tendu, relevé, and a stretching exercise before battement. At the barre is where one gets the chance to warm up their body as well as focus on strengthening and correcting their technique. This is also the part of class where it is easier for Tammy to give specific advice to individuals and can actually physically help us correct our ballet positions and form. Once the barre is put away Tammy will usually give an adagio in the center. Then she tests our endurance with a petit allégro combination consisting of several jumps. After we are all nicely winded we begin going across the floor and this is where you really find out if you have been working hard at the barre! At the conclusion of class, Tammy slows the pace once again with an adagio to cool us down before leaving.

Tammy has a hilarious and dry sense of humor that keeps class light despite the technical challenges. Though she often keeps us laughing, Tammy is undoubtedly earnest about her art and committed to improving our technique and skills. Her willingness to always answer questions and give further help is what makes Tammy a wonderful teacher. It is this dedication and ability to pull the best out of her students that keeps me coming back week after week!

Tammy teaches an advanced beginning ballet class Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. and a beginning ballet class Wednesdays 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. at Joy of Motion Dance Center Atlas. View our schedule of adult ballet classes.