With 'Ballet Class,' teacher turns writer

Neighbors

May 07, 1998|By Geri Hastings | Geri Hastings,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CAROLINE WILSON Denzler of Highland, a ballet teacher in Howard County since the late 1960s, has become an author.

In collaboration with British artist and illustrator John Green, she has written "The Ballet Class," a children's coloring and resource book.

Denzler, who specializes in teaching younger students, is an instructor at aesthetics, ballet royale and Caryl Maxwell classical ballet.

Dover Publications in New York selected Denzler to write the book from an international pool of ballet teachers.

The project involved faxes between Howard County and London, so that Denzler could consult with Green about integrating text and drawings.

"It was a lot of work, but very exciting, and I love the idea of speaking to children everywhere through this medium," Denzler says.

Denzler studied with many exceptional teachers, including Oleg Tupine of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and Tanya Rosseau of the Paris Opera Ballet.

She has performed as a soloist with the Virginia Ballet and Ballet El Paso! and is a former member of the National Ballet in Washington.

But Denzler's first love is teaching.

She has taught classes at the Ballet Centre in El Paso as part of the Outreach Program of the University of Texas.

She moved to Howard County in 1967 and taught the first after-hours ballet classes in county schools for the Department of Recreation and Parks.

She started the Children's Ballet Center in Ellicott City, turning over the school to Caryl Maxwell when she left for New Mexico in 1974.

Returning to Howard County the following year, Denzler resumed a full-time teaching schedule and became interested in designing classes for young children.

She has been teaching with Maxwell for nearly 15 years and has choreographed school performances for the Ellicott City May Day Celebration as well as children's student concert pieces for the Ellicott City Ballet Guild.

Autistic children at the Linwood Children's Center in Ellicott City had the opportunity to participate in an experimental ballet class taught by Denzler in the late 1980s.

Denzler no longer has a ballet studio of her own. Instead, she chooses to teach beginner-level classes in several local ballet schools because, she says, "running a business takes too much time away from teaching."

After decades of demi-plies, Denzler has former students who have become professional dancers, dance therapists, dance teachers and parents who are passing their love of dance to their children.

"And just as important," she adds, "many will keep a love of ballet for a lifetime."

This summer, Denzler plans to travel to Bosnia, where she has been invited to teach ballet at the new Pavarotti Institute.

She says she is looking forward to using her teaching skills to provide happy experiences for children who have seen the ravages of war.

The institute, run by the British charity War Child, is committed to rebuilding Bosnian cultural life.

Denzler's feelings about the trip have run the gamut from excitement to fear -- excitement about working with children in the country from which her childhood dance teacher emigrated; and fear of the unstable political situation in the former Yugoslavia.

After being reassured by a friend who works for the institute that NATO troops have secured the region, Denzler is eager to begin her adventure abroad.

"The Ballet Class" can be purchased at bookstores in Howard County and at the Kennedy Center Gift Shop in Washington.

Glenelg marches

Members of Glenelg High School's bands and Marching Unit participated in Fiesta-Val's Myrtle Beach National Music Festival April 24 and 25.

Accompanied by band director Barry Enzman, drill team director Terry Newsome and silks director Diane Bissell, the exhausted students returned from South Carolina on April 26 with a sense of accomplishment.

They received superior ratings and won first place in their division in the concert band, jazz ensemble, parade, silks and dance team categories.

Glenelg groups won awards for best overall jazz ensemble and best overall marching band in the parade category.

The jazz band won an award for having the best rhythm and saxophone sections of all the jazz bands at the festival.

Sophomore trombonist Alex Asher won an outstanding jazz soloist award.

Senior trumpet-player Leigh Bender won awards in the outstanding concert and jazz soloist categories.

In the fall, Leigh will attend the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where she plans to major in music education with an emphasis on trumpet performance.

Leigh says the spring band trip was one of the most emotional she had experienced. "I was so happy when we won, but so sad because it was my last one. It was a really bittersweet experience.

"I wasn't surprised at how well we performed," she says, "but with over 20 high schools competing, it was amazing that we won so many awards."

While proud of the award he received for his solo performance with the jazz band, Alex remarked that the awards won by the Glenelg group as a whole were more important.

Both young musicians credited their success to Enzman.

"He expects us to perform our best," Alex says, "and we expect the same thing from ourselves."

Leigh echoed the sentiments. "We owe everything we do to Mr. E.," she says. "I'm never going to find anyone quite like him after I leave Glenelg. He's one of a kind."

Teen-age drivers

If you are the parent of a teen-ager or a student driver, don't miss "Licensing Teens To Live," a program on safe driving for teens, sponsored by Glenelg High School's PTSA at 7: 30 p.m. Monday.

The school is at 14025 Burnt Woods Road in Glenelg.

Time for mulch

Prepare your garden for spring and protect it all summer with fresh, top quality shredded hardwood mulch.

Mulch, provided by Glenelg United Methodist Church, can be delivered to your door Saturday. Prices range from $25 a yard to $210 for 10 yards.

Information: 410-531-2064 or 410-442-2189.

Pub Date: 5/07/98

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