Bak MSOA Dance Department has about 190 dance majors in grades 6-8. Each student takes one dance class per day in ballet and modern in 6th grade, adding jazz and pointe for girls in 7th and 8th grades. In addition, we offer a multi-cultural class, a tap elective, and an audition only Dance Repertory rehearsal class for 7th and 8th grade dance majors. Students all perform at least twice per year. Our curriculum includes technique, vocabulary, dance history, anatomy, nutrition, and composition.
The Bak Middle School of the Arts Dance Department has four full-time faculty members are Martha Satinoff, Heidi Sperounis, Carlos de Barros, and Hollond Schiller. Through artists in residence and guest teachers, we broaden the experience and introduce our students to working professionals from outside of the county. Laura Bennett from the American Dance Legacy Institute has staged two pieces, Parsons Etude and Limón Etude, on our Repertory Dancers and taught master classes for the rest of the seventh and eighth graders. Our young dancers performed with Rioult, a modern dance company from New York City, and The PGK Project from San Diego.
Many of our students continue their training at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, the magnet high school. Alumni have gone on to Harid, Houston Ballet School, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey, and Julliard. Though many of our dancers are returning to teach in Palm Beach County and others are finding success in other fields. One dancer took his first ballet class at Bak as a visual major, changed his major to dance, was in Twyla Tharp’s Movin Out and now dances with Steven Petronio Company in New York. We also have a dancer in Alvin Ailey, in West Side Story, Ballet Hispanico, and another is in Cirque du Soleil. One of our students went straight from Bak to Broadway playing the title role in Billy Eliot.
Our chapter of the National Junior Honor Society for Dance Arts’ mission is to honor the art of dance by recognizing young dancers who excel in their dance classes as well as academic classes, further their training by attending performances, master classes and summer programs, who perform in the community, and who exhibit outstanding behavior. These young dancers put on a school-wide talent show, raise money to support a dance residency through Very Special Arts Palm Beach, and donated dance clothing to a school in Haiti.
Bak Middle School of the Arts Dance program is proud to nurture the talents of our students, to offer tools to develop creativity, discipline and perseverance, and to promote excellence in art and academics.
Martha Satinoff trained in Oklahoma, began her career as an apprentice with the Hartford Ballet, and went on to dance with the Maryland Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Eglevsky Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Princeton Ballet. She worked with Frederic Franklin, Edward Villella, Natalia Makarova, Dermot Burke, Finis Jung and performed in works by Balanchine, McMillan, Tudor, Ailey, and John Butler. She directed the Charleston Civic Ballet School while dancing with her husband’s company, DanceSouth. After her performing career, Ms. Satinoff earned her degree in education from Edinboro University. Combining her experience as a performer, ballet teacher, and general educator, Ms. Satinoff is currently the head of the dance department at Bak Middle School of the Arts. Ms. Satinoff’s classes are influenced by her work with great teachers and choreographers along with the repertory she danced. Her ballet classes emphasize the tradition and customs of ballet while using imagery, dynamics, and joy of movement. She enables her students to develop strong technique with musicality, a sense of line, and pride in being a part of dance as an art form. She continues to further her studies by attending workshops at IADMS, FDA, and currently serves on the board of FDEO. Martha Purl Satinoff is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Heidi Sperounis, originally from Massachusetts, began dancing at her mother’s dance studio and trained with The Boston Ballet and the North Shore Civic Ballet Company. Ms. Sperounis is a cum laude graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a BFA degree in dance. After touring with the University Dancers while in college, she trained with Marcus Schulkind, in Boston and danced professionally with BAF Dance Company in Boston. She then moved to New York City and danced in numerous workshops and regional modern companies. Ms. Sperounis moved to South Florida in 1991 and danced with Dance Wave—the Art of Human Movement, in Miami, directed by Gary Lund. Heidi has been teaching ballet and modern dance in the West Palm Beach community for almost 20 years. Ms. Sperounis places emphasis on creative self-expression by encouraging a young dancer to "discover" ideas in movement for promoting self-initiative and personal responsibility. This is Ms. Sperounis’s 14th year at Bak.
Carlos de Barros, a Florida native, was a full scholarship BFA graduate of the New World School of the Arts/UF Dance Dept., danced professionally with The American Dance Theater of Miami, The Freddick Bratcher Contemporary Dance Theater, Demetrius Klein and for various free-lance choreographers. He is currently in his 13th year at Bak and teaches all disciplines of dance, including Repertory, and founded and directed the award-winning Dance Team from 2000-2005. In addition, Carlos has taught ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, ethnic dance, and hip hop in the South Florida area for the last 17 years. He has done master classes and/or adjudicated for Dance Master’s of America, The Alabama Governor’s School for the Arts summer program, Starpower, Harid Conservatory, The Florida Dance Festival’s Young Dancer’s Workshops, The All American Dance Festival, Starquest International, The Grier School, and at private studios. Mr. de Barros’ classes are an eclectic style of the contemporary and the classical combined due in part to the influence of his early mentors and the repertory he danced in college. His classes focus on strengthening all aspects of a dancer’s technique while at the same time integrating the importance of self-discipline and visualization techniques as lessons that can be used in all areas of a person’s life.
Hollond Ann Schiller, originally from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is a BFA graduate of The New World School of the Arts in Miami. She danced professionally with American Dance Theater of Miami and The Freddick Bratcher Contemporary Dance Theater. In New York, she continued to train at Dance Space, Steps, and Broadway Dance Center while performing at various theaters with local modern dance choreographers. She has taught tap, jazz, and ballet at the Palm Beach Ballet Center, The Weiss School, Interact Theater Camp and Ballet Florida. Ms Schiller is thrilled to be teaching modern, jazz and tap at Bak MSOA. Her classes incorporate technique, self-expression, improvisation, body alignment, anatomy and self-care. Ms. Schiller believes that while strong technique is a vital aspect of training, self-expression is the key to unlocking a dancers heart, which then enables a performer to communicate his or her ideas and emotions with an audience. She hopes to share her passion and love for dance with her students and that they always remember dance is fun!