"Studying ballet with Gretchen for almost ten years was an invaluable part of my development as a dancer and artist. Her knowledge and expertise go beyond the classroom and pedagogy; she is a true leader with a clear overall vision for the development of individual dancers, for the productions she directs, and the organizations she oversees."
~Joseph Medeiros, Actor/Singer/Dancer Broadway
"Gretchen was able to give me excellent training while allowing my love of dance to grow and mature. She made sure I received opportunities in her company and others as well. Without her training and guidance, I would not be the professional dancer I am today."
~Lindsey Duerfeldt, BalletWest
If you're looking for an inclusive, welcoming, healthy, positive ballet school that is offering in-person (with strict safety protocol) and online classes, I cannot recommend Greater Washington Dance Center enough. Aaron has flourished at this studio. The director, Gretchen, regards each dancer as one of her own and it shows. You feel as if you are entrusting your child to the most supportive and uplifting family member who only wants your child to grow and develop in the best possible way along his/her/their own trajectory. She has high expectations and clear rules, but the most loving heart and warmest appreciation for each dancer. And that mindset trickles down from the top to each instructor at GWDC.
Ballet, tap, jazz, modern, adaptive dance, musical theater, boys offerings (and scholarship program), adult classes... there are so many ways to dive into dance in a HEALTHY environment♡
"The instruction I received from Gretchen enabled me to realize my full potential as a dancer. She implements a teaching philosophy that inspired me to embrace both the strengths and limitations of my technique. Because her training encompasses not only dance instruction, but also physical and mental health, I consider Gretchen's teaching style as an enriched form of traditional dance education."
~Amanda Walker, student JMU
My daughter has loved every class she's taken her. I love the growth I'm seeing in her dance skills and I'm thankful for the time and effort the teachers give to her and the other students!
My daughter has been attending GWDC since it opened, and my son has been attending for the last year. As a former dancer, I sincerely appreciate this studio, the teachers, and the entire dance philosophy. As very young dancers, students learn the love of dance and movement and dance through play. As they get older, play is reduced and more technique is brought in. That is not to say the older kids don't have any fun, though. Through Ballet 2, students still play with props, but in a way that encourages the learning of new movements (think wax on, wax off only for ballet!). Ballet is taught as the basics and foundation of other dance forms, and older students can add in other dance forms. There is also a great feeling just bringing your children to the school. You can watch your younger children dance, as they are in a classroom with a large window for parents to look through), so you never feel like you don't know what they are learning or how they are doing. The teachers will answer questions and have often stayed late to do so.
I have personally taken some of the adult classes as well, and I highly recommend them! Right now, they're trying to get some of us former dancers back into form, and it's fantastic.
"Northern Virginia is so fortunate to have as brilliant a dance gem as Gretchen Vogelzang! Gretchen is truly one of the most skilled dance educators in the nation. She is also very well connected. As President of Regional Dance America, she has her finger on the pulse of the North American dance world.
We have been so fortunate to have Gretchen as a ballet instructor and coach for our daughter. Gretchen is incredibly gifted; she knows how to bring out the best in dancers. Her technical training is superb but she also teaches them how to find the fire within and how to take care of their bodies so they can continue to train at high intensity. Our daughter has benefitted greatly from Gretchen’s training and from her association with the Southeast Regional Ballet Association and Regional Dance America.
After spending summers at the School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, our daughter developed painful seisimoiditis in her left foot. Gretchen worked with her patiently throughout her recovery, even coming to our house to teach her exercises to strengthen her feet. She is truly concerned about the whole dancer and believes in keeping them healthy in body, mind and spirit. Gretchen also understands completely that school and family must come first so she is very rational in her approach to the amount of time dancers must spend at the studio.
We wish Gretchen tremendous success with her new studio and company and know that the dancers fortunate enough to be associated with her have a bright future ahead of them."
~Andy & Martina Leinz
My oldest daughter attends three dance classes per week at GWDC and she has learned more in a few sessions than she had in a year in a previous school. The instructors are top notch. This school is impressive for a newer school - it is incredibly organized, they offer a lot of guest dance instructors, varied fitness classes, and more music and performance art options are added all the time. Also - it's for both children and adults. This school is on a whole different level than some of the other local schools, but at the same time the philosophy of the owner is for kids to have fun. Highly recommend!