Christina Schreivogel & River Arts Ballet (March 2017)
For Christina Schreivogel of River Arts Ballet, it’s all about body, mind, and soul.
Growing up in Hendersonville, Christina Schreivogel got the ballet bug early on and started training at the age of 10. That training was interrupted five years later, however, when her family moved to Italy. Eventually she was able to resume her passion in the United States, first at the Virginia School of the Arts and later at New York City’s Steps on Broadway, and from there her career took her to such disparate locales as the London Studio Centre, the Omaha Theater Co. Ballet, New York’s Joffrey Ballet School, and the Sacramento Ballet. Yet she felt the tug of Western North Carolina, so in 2011 she and husband (and fellow dancer) Benjamin packed up their three children and moved back to the mountains, with the hopes they’d one day be able to create their own ballet studio.
Hence, the Fletcher-based River Arts Ballet (RAB), which opened its doors on March 1, 2015, with the assistance of a small business loan and advice provided by the Business Planning Class at Mountain BizWorks.
“We designed RAB the ground up to mimic the theater and professional training environment we were accustomed to, and opened our ‘field of dreams,’” Christina explains. “With the body being the ‘instrument,’ we knew the set-up of our studio had to be top of the line in size and condition and [have] nurturing, positive teachers who were excited to share their love of dance and artistic expression.”
Indeed, RAB is a world class facility, featuring state-of-the-art flooring supported with over 1,000 shock-absorbing foam blocks (to minimize stress on dancer’s muscles and joints), along with eight-foot mirrors and 20-foot-plus ceilings.
“We love what we do and we enjoy sharing our passion with others. We thrive in connecting community and are growing as a beacon to dancers of all ages, shapes, sizes, abilities. Be moved is our motto: body, mind, and soul.”
Christina’s training, and Benjamin’s own extensive background (he studied at the Houston Ballet Academy and went on to dance with professional ballet organizations in Ft. Wayne, Atlanta, and Sacramento), provide their studio impressive instructional power that’s further abetted by a seasoned staff: Casey Kristofferson, Ronnie Zink, Megan Medford, Otto Vasquez, Blue de Leeuw, R. Colby Damon, and David Keener. Classes are available for all ages, including Basic Ballet, Modern, Hip-Hop, Bokwa, Yoga, Homeschool Ballet, and Boy’s Only.
“My faculty and I have been blessed to have made long healthy careers in this physically and emotionally challenging world of dance,” says Christina. “Many instructors teach dance, specifically ballet, but very few have been ‘in the trenches’ of high caliber companies, or long enough, to know how to train dancers aimed for professional careers. We also provide individual guidance for leveraging doors in theater and dance background-enhanced paths. We cater to major league ballet hopefuls, but we also are inclusive to novices brave enough to come through our doors.”
She also cites, with pride, the successful run of RAB’s first world premiere last May, The Twelve Dancing Princesses Ballet, which was composed and choreographed from scratch. The company has also nearly completed earning certification to offer classes in Dance For PD (Parkinson’s Disease). “We love what we do and we enjoy sharing our passion with others. We thrive in connecting community and are growing as a beacon to dancers of all ages, shapes, sizes, abilities. Be moved is our motto: body, mind, and soul.”
Going forward, Christina says that they hope to expand soon. “It has been challenging to be in just one studio space,” she notes. “Three to five studios would be ideal, and ultimately, we would like to have our own black box theater here in Fletcher, as well as an International Ballet Boarding School. The quality of life—family, nature, health, culture—is what drew us back [to Western North Carolina]. I grew up and started my ballet adventure right here, and since then I’ve traveled and danced around the world. Now I’m back full circle.”
Studio schedules and details can be found online: www.RiverArtsBallet.com.
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