I’ve been meaning to send you a note for some time to thank you for all of the attention, care, and energy you are putting into the weekly Pre-Ballet dance classes. Every time I pop in to watch for a bit, I’m so impressed by the quality of the program. The kids are really learning how to dance and you keep their attention using such creative methods. My daughter is so proud of herself and her progress. I know it must be really difficult to teach dance remotely, of all things, and I wanted to send you a special note of thanks.
My family applauds YOU for all the effort, patience, and expertise you put into pulling off a wonderful virtual recital this year. Thank you for rising to the occasion. And thank you most of all for providing Eliza with such a warm, wonderful dance experience. You’ve been a consistent, positive part of her life ever since we moved here almost ten years ago — and you will be missed.
April M. (on RCDA’s Virtual Recital and response during COVID-19)
I wanted to write a quick note to say how impressed we have been with RCDA during these past few months and especially today. You managed to do the impossible — create a true recital experience for a little girl whose spring and summer has been filled with disappointment and cancellations! This entire weekend Dylan beamed and didn’t want to take off that adorable costume. Moments of pure joy are few and far between these days and we have you to thank. What’s even more amazing is that you are working mothers trying to juggle it all! As a working mom, believe me when I say I know that what you’ve achieved is a direct product of how hard you both work!
Jenellen F. (on RCDA’s response during COVID-19)
We just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful year for Aliyah. It’s been so challenging this year in general much less the last three months. Being able to move her body in familiar ways was an important tool in her tool box for maintaining emotional wellness. Seeing Miss Diana and her fellow dance mates was a support system that was really meaningful to her and of course, to us too.
Patrick C. (on RCDA’s Virtual Recital and response during COVID-19)
Just wanted to say congrats on a terrific job by you, your teachers, and everyone else who helped with today’s performance. I can’t imagine the challenges you’ve faced in these bizarre times. Despite all that, you and your folks have done a tremendous job maintaining continuity for the kids. My wife and I are so glad that Rachel has had the benefit of your school through these trying times. I’m sure you and your staff will continue to maintain your standard of excellence regardless of the circumstances.
Sabrina S. (on RCDA’s Virtual Recital and response during COVID-19)
Thank you so much for continuing with the dance lessons via Zoom and for the great virtual recital. I know how difficult it must have been to coordinate an on-line recital and it went so smoothly. Emma had a wonderful time this year and really enjoyed participating in the recital.
Theresa Y. (on RCDA’s first-ever Virtual Recital during COVID-19)
What a year to remember! Thank you for this wonderful first ever virtual recital. Our family enjoyed it very much and even our extended family got to tune in to see Samantha dance in Zoom. I know many hours and labors were put into organizing this virtual recital. Kudos to you and your family for making this happen. I really appreciate how organized the program was and the clear instructions that you provided before each performance. It was so helpful for people like myself who are new to Zoom. Samantha is looking forward to returning next year.
Lucia F. (on RCDA’s first-ever Virtual Recital during COVID-19)
It was a great recital. We all enjoyed watching all the dances. It was moving to see dancers in every type of room, or outside deck, dancing their hearts out!
“I am writing to you today to thank you. I never got the chance to thank you for such a wonderful year at your dance studio. The faculty, the dancers, and the whole experience was just beautiful. I fell in love the moment I stepped into the dance studio. My first dance instructor at RCDA was phenomenal and such a sweet person. All the RCDA faculty have a special place in my heart. I have a memory and dance tip from each one that I apply to each performance I am in:
Miss Sarah: Miss Sarah taught me how to be fierce. I remember holding back a little when I first started in class, but she taught me how to loosen up and challenge myself until I could strike that jazz pose with power.
Miss Hayley: Miss Hayley taught me how to be graceful. During class, she helped me really get into the music, feel every beat, and flow through the steps. I never knew dance could be so relaxing.
Miss Christina: Miss Christina taught me joy. I saw the passion and joy in her dancing. Now, whenever I perform, I always remember to be happy and grateful that I can dance and that I have this God-given talent that will be within me forever.
I couldn’t have earned a spot on my school dance team without RCDA. Thank you so much for everything. Your studio has given me life long memories and lessons that I will apply to my life every day. You have a special place in my heart.”
“I’m not sure I ever fully conveyed to you the lasting impact you and your staff have had on my life – from classes I took to those I helped teach through my participation in the Apprenticeship Program. It’s not only something that shaped me in physical and psychological ways throughout middle and high school, helping me cope in immeasurable ways with the stress of that time, but has also helped me figure out the dance that is adulthood.”
“Thank you for having such a major impact on my life! Miss Christina is like family to me- someone who I’ve seen almost every week since kindergarten, someone who has always been a wise, patient, and loving figure. Not only is she a wonderful dance teacher, but a real role model for all of her students. Dance is a sensitive thing. It can be competitive, tough, and make people- especially adolescent girls- uncomfortable. RCDA creates a safe, open environment, with a perfect balance of challenge and fun. Dance class, initially a place of play, became a home where I could escape from everything and focus on expressing myself in an entirely new fashion. The gifts I have received are invaluable- discipline, healthy habits, free life advice, fun, confidence, love, and most importantly dance. I cannot imagine how different I would be without dance classes every year since I was four. Thank you so much.”
Susan Brown Faghani
“Rock Creek Dance Academy (RCDA) strikes a perfect balance because the instruction is excellent, and the culture is supportive and embracing of all students. The school continues to grow, and there’s a strong community of students and families that includes ones who have been with Miss Christina for 10 or even 15 years and newcomers, who are warmly welcomed.
My 8th grade daughter began with Miss Christina as a Kindergartner and my 3rd grade daughter began as a toddler, and both have had wonderful experiences. The faculty are not only highly trained and outstanding as teachers and choreographers, they are also people who clearly enjoy working with young dancers and making a positive difference in young people’s lives. With Miss Christina at the helm and Miss Diana by her side, my daughters have teachers they see not only as dance instructors but as role models and mentors.
The structure, necessary foundation in dance theory along with technique, and goal-setting offered by the Cecchetti training method — including the students’ shared experience of preparing for and progressing through accredited exams as they approach their tween years — help build confidence, character and a solid work ethic in addition to strong, well-prepared dancers. My older daughter has the fantastic opportunity to develop leadership and instructional experience while deepening her own dance background as a teaching assistant through RCDA’s apprenticeship program — it’s a life-enriching experience for her and one she values tremendously.
The annual recital each June is a professionally produced spectacle of superb dancing for families and other audience members — and for the young dancers, it’s a moment of pride and joy in the culmination of their teamwork and efforts throughout the year. Among the resounding themes of the conversations between parents after the recital each year are that it was a fantastic show and that their young dancers developed and improved by leaps and bounds.
Whether your aspiring dancer is 3 or 17, RCDA is a wonderful place to call home, for students and families.”
“Rock Creek Dance Academy truly lives up to its mission. My daughter has been a student of RCDA and its predecessor school, CPR School of Dance, for at least 10 years. We are just one of the many loyal RCDA families whose dancers return year after year. Miss Christina and all of the other dance teachers have been excellent, both in terms of the quality of the instruction and the nurturing provided. They have accommodated my daughter’s needs and made her the best dancer she can be, all while ensuring that it continues to be fun for her. Dancing at RCDA has also given her confidence, and performing on stage at the annual recital is the highlight of each year.
The students at RCDA are well-rounded; this is not the sort of dance school where you have to give up your other sports or interests. My daughter dances there two to three days per week because she wants to, not because it is required. It is clear that her love of dance, which was nurtured at RCDA, will be something she carries through her entire life.”
“I originally sought out Miss Christina and her staff for the Cecchetti method of ballet that she teaches. I studied Cecchetti and knew it to be a solid method of ballet instruction. My daughter, now 13, has trained under their direction since she was 4. I can truly say there has not been a day in the past nine years, when she didn’t want to go to dance. The level of instruction is excellent. But what is even more impressive is the amount of self-confidence they have helped to instill in my daughter. Christina and her staff know how to instruct and encourage girls and young ladies to be the best dancers that they can be. They are not a competitive studio, which allows the girls to develop their dance abilities as well as true friendships with the other dancers. The annual recital is an amazing production! RCDA excels at bringing out the best in all their dancers, from the smallest preschooler afraid to take the stage to the high school senior being sent off to college with poise and self-assuredness.”
“Our daughter began taking dance classes with Miss Christina and her team of teachers eight years ago at the age of 5. Rock Creek Dance Academy is an amazing dance program. It is a place where our daughter has grown as a dancer and developed a passion for dance. She has learned poise, grace and strong technique. She has developed confidence in herself and stage presence. Miss Christina and her dedicated, longtime teachers create an inspiring, motivating, noncompetitive dance environment and provide high levels of instruction. Students grow and learn as dancers, and each child and teen feels valued. We have watched our daughter grow into a beautiful dancer, and we feel lucky to have found Rock Creek Dance Academy.”
“Studying dance with Ms. Christina and the staff of the RCDA has been a wonderful experience for our daughter. She began classes in kindergarten and is now entering 5th grade, so she has truly been “growing up” in the program.
RCDA provides a very solid foundation in dance through its use of the Cecchetti ballet method and highly trained instructors. The approach is appropriate for both the more serious dancer and those who dance simply for enjoyment. But the classes have so many other positive effects beyond the development of technical skills.
Through the weekly exercises our daughter is developing grace and good posture, balance, and strength. In addition, she seems to experience a calm confidence and satisfaction in the activity that we believe is due to the encouraging and supportive, rather than competitive, nature of the environment. It is nice to see her focus on her own progress rather than being encouraged to compare herself to others. She also benefits from the opportunity for creative expression through movement against the lovely backdrop of music. This brings her great joy, both on-stage and in the classroom.
Finally, she is positively influenced by the excellent demeanor of the teachers, who are always great examples of respectfulness, politeness, patience and good humor. We would highly recommend this program to anyone considering dance classes for their child.”
“My two daughters have been studying with Ms. Christina Prete and her staff for several years now and we have extremely happy with our experiences. The classes have been both challenging and stress-free at all levels. My daughters thrive in the non-competitive atmosphere. Our family has enjoyed the inclusive attitude projected by the teachers. My girls have steadily progressed through the grades in their ballet studies and have been encouraged and supported every step of the way.
We love the recital experience! Every stage of recital preparation is exciting, from costume selection to final performance. We’ve loved the age-appropriate choreography so that all dancers can succeed. Without placing undo pressure on the students the recital is an amazing production!
Through the Rock Creek Dance Academy my girls have been introduced to outside dance experiences. Both girls thoroughly enjoy tap dancing in the annual Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington DC. Miss Diana Samata always makes sure the girls are prepared and feel confident to join the large group of tap dancers. It’s a great experience! The Rock Creek Dance Academy has also recommended The Cecchetti Conference for my dancers. The weekend spent attending classes with other dancers in the area was well worth it and has increased the girls’ knowledge of the world of dance.
The teachers at Rock Creek Dance Academy are experienced, knowledgeable, capable and caring. My daughters continue to grow and learn with each dance class. We look forward to more dance in the years to come.”
“It is hard to know where to begin since there are so many wonderful things about Christina Prete and the Rock Creek Dance Academy. My daughter has been dancing with Miss Christina since she was 4 years old. As a teen, my daughter still loves dancing with Miss Christina, and the wonderful teachers at Rock Creek Dance Academy, so much that she has no intentions to stop anytime soon. My daughter has developed a grace and poise that she will carry with her the rest of her life. She also has a drive to keep dancing that I did not anticipate and I credit to the great atmosphere at Rock Creek Dance Academy. Miss Christina works very hard to ensure every girl feels encouraged to learn and enjoy dancing while moving them on to the next level. The highlight of the year is the professional style recital, which is well organized and a delight to watch. I am sure the recital helps to bring the girls back because they love to be on a real stage. All in all, Miss Christina and the Rock Creek Dance Academy are top notch.”
“My daughter studied with Miss Christina for eight wonderful years, and learned and grew in so many ways. In addition to mastering the requirements for each level of ballet she studied, my child learned about music, performing, working together in a corps for a dance, choreography, how to exercise, how to bring her natural grace to the forefront, to always stand up straight(!), to enhance her poise, how to perform under pressure, and more. And she had so much fun, too! These things will stay with her for life. Miss Christina and her staff are professional, always bringing out the best in each individual student, and I would encourage anyone seeking to introduce their children to the joy of dance, at any age, to go to Rock Creek Dance Academy!”
“I can’t imagine my girls taking dance anywhere else than with Miss Christina and her talented staff. What started out as a quest for an affordable way to expose all three of my daughters to the art of dance has evolved over five years into a relationship that has literally and figuratively helped shape them into confident and poised young ladies. The lessons go beyond the impressive Cecchetti method of instructing ballet.
The most unexpected perk in having selected this particular dance school is how much of a positive influence the teachers have on my kids. They are fantastic role models in conduct, attitude and the little things like the importance of being ready and prompt. These skills make such a difference in navigating through life and they are taught with kindness, humor and by example in every class by beautiful and graceful dancers the children adore.
It really strikes home how fast the girls grow up and how much of an influence a weekly dance class can be at the end of year recital. There it is on stage, the progression of ballet levels from the youngest little girl trying to keep up with her classmates to the accomplished ballerina pirouetting across the stage. Much of it has to do with the behind-the-scenes hard work and dedication of Miss Christina and her staff, but from the audience’s perspective it is magic.
With Miss Christina and her staff, my girls don’t HAVE to take ballet classes, they want to. — That is the best testimonial I can give.”
Alexa and Jon Lerner
“Our three daughters have been taking dance lessons with Miss Christina since they were toddlers. With Christina’s guidance, they have grown as dancers, developed confidence in themselves and deepened their love for dance. Christina is a wonderful mentor and teacher and we appreciate all that she has done for our girls throughout the years. We look forward to her new endeavor and being a part of the Rock Creek Dance Academy.”
“The thing we love about Rock Creek Dance Academy is that it’s a serious studio for dancers who have chosen not to be in a pre-professional program. Miss Christina and all her teachers encourage the students to be their best without the rigidity and sternness of the pre-professional studios. Our girls have danced at several studios. Once we found Rock Creek, we knew it was the perfect place for us. It is just the right balance, and our kids adore all the teachers. I’m sure we’ll be there for years to come!”
Gail Reizenstein Haven
“There are no words to adequately convey how important a role Christina Prete and her staff played in my daughter’s physical and emotional ‘tween and teen life. Starting in 7th grade, these incredible instructors introduced my daughter to a dynamic, supportive, challenging, stimulating, motivational, and incredibly fun dance environment. It was not long before Christina’s studio soon became my daughter’s home away from home. Fostering her passion for dance, Christina encouraged my daughter at every step – no pun intended! – of the way, bolstering her confidence, fine-tuning her skills, and inspiring her throughout her multiple weekly classes. And the experience in recent years of co-teaching some of the younger ballet classes with Miss Christina was beyond amazing.”
“With a heavy heart, my daughter recently had to say good-bye to her former CPR, and now Rock Creek Dance Academy, teachers, because she graduated and is going away to college. But her dance teachers will always hold a special place in her heart. And for me, well, I can never thank them enough for what they have done in so many ways for my daughter. With every best wish to the Rock Creek Dance Academy and all those associated with it, for an incredible and successful journey!”
“Miss Christina is a gifted teacher, she was my two daughters first dance instructor and introduced them to the love, art and joy of dance. She was always patient, took time to answers questions and kept wonderful order in her classes. Her recitals were fantastic! We moved about an hour away 8 years ago and have always kept in touch with Miss Christina. We miss her and my girls are excited to visit her new school! Both my girls are still dancing- and I keep Miss Christina updated on their progress which she always is very supportive of. Over the years I have contacted her to get her advice ; most recently she help guide me on whether my oldest was really ready for pointe- her opinion was invaluable! Christina Prete is a wonderful person, instructor and artist and I am thankful my daughters were introduced to the love of dance by her!”