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Bay Pointe Ballet on the move: Company finding a home in South San Francisco
September 28, 2013, 05:00 AM By Kerry Chan Daily Journal

Kerry Chan/Daily Journal
Dancers practice at Bay Pointe Ballet in Foster City. The studio’s founders are in the works to open a new location in South San Francisco.

Off the well-traveled Beach Park Boulevard in Foster City, Bruce Steivel, artistic director of Bay Pointe Ballet, calmly looks over his notes and musical selection while his dancers enter.

Classical music starts and the dancers glide across the hardwood floor with lean legs and pointed toes. Their long arms stretch out gracefully with fingers pointed to the sky emulating a swan regally spreading its wings.

“It’s indescribable, it’s like you enter another world but everybody that is watching gets to see inside that world and you get to share it with them,” said Tiffany Hartsfield, a company dancer that is training with Steivel.

Steivel founded Bay Pointe Ballet in April with his partner Sharon Terrano to teach ballet and create a professional dance company. They conduct classes in San Carlos, San Mateo and Foster City by renting space at established dance studios until they found their own location.

After considering various Peninsula cities, Bay Pointe chose South San Francisco because it is convenient, cost effective and business friendly.

Bruce Steivel says the ample parking, lack of competition and demand for dance programs are all reasons to move to a centrally located city close to San Francisco.

“South San Francisco was great, they were helpful and welcoming,” said Steivel.

Marty Van Duyn, South San Francisco assistant city manager, said the city invests a lot of resources to assist companies and individuals wanting to start a business.

“We want to expedite, we do not want to interfere with anybody’s ability to get moved in,” said Duyn.

Steivel is still waiting for the city to issue a change of use permit for the building but he remains hopeful and inspired by the end result.

“I want a really good company that serves the community,” said Steivel, “a company that is not so expensive and has performances for children.”

Steivel comes alive when he talks about music, choreography and sharing the stories of ballet to children. A graduate of North Carolina School of Arts, Steivel had an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer and art director for several international programs.

“‘The Nutcracker,’ ‘Coppelia,’ ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream,’ ‘Peter Pan,’ those are the stories that I want to give from our ballets,” said Steivel.

Despite the negative stigma ballet has received concerning bone fractures, negative body image and eating disorders, Steivel said the industry is becoming more aware of how to handle these issues and address them early on.

It is important to be a supportive dance instructor and focus on the art of ballet, the training, the discipline and the culture, he added.

“It is the best exercise a child can do, not only is it exercise, it’s the mind and it’s coordination,” said Steivel, “Ballet uses every muscle, including your brain, to dance.”

Steivel hopes to be in the new studio at 271 Wattis Way in South San Francisco, teaching children and rehearsing “The Nutcracker” in time for the company’s performance at the newly renovated San Mateo Performing Arts Center Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22.

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Tags: steivel, ballet, dance, francisco, company, south,

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