About Our School
Whether you are brand new to dance or your heart’s desire is to become a professional dancer, to perform, or have a fun physical outlet, our goal is to provide excellent instruction in a friendly, inspiring atmosphere so that you can reduce stress and stay fit, while developing the skills that create discipline and self-esteem to feel good for a lifetime.
Established in 1977 by Juanita Wilson Duquette, the school has earned the highest esteem and respect locally, state-wide and nationally by training outstanding technical and artistic dancers. And even more importantly, the school has made a positive difference in thousands of student’s lives, as they apply disciplines learned in dance class to academics and on to successful careers and successful parenting.
We believe exposure to various dance types is beneficial in developing creativity and expression as well as technical expertise and that a caring student-teacher relationship is essential for progressive learning. As students explore different types of dance, they find the style that is comfortable for their body and fits their personality. Encouraging teachers who give individual attention at all levels of experience are the heart of our school. The teachers’ positive words, especially when movement is challenging, motivates students and promotes self-esteem.
In addition to our beautiful Annual Spring Performance, there are performance opportunities at our Christmas/Holiday Show, at local venues and this year we are honored to be performing at the 2016 Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. Students also have the opportunity to audition for our two Performance Groups.
Our lovely unique building, a former church, has two studios with professional floating sprung floors (like at NYC Ballet Co.). The resiliency of our floors helps prevent injury and make it easy on joints and muscles. There is helpful office staff available to assist you or answer questions. Amenities include free wi-fi, an area to do homework or use your laptop, and children’s books and toys. We are convenient to grocery, restaurants or shopping at Hollymead Towne Center.
We are honored as students continue with dance, from training with the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet to performing with Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, in European, American and Asian touring companies, Busch Gardens, and regional and community shows. Many now have advanced dance degrees and work as teachers, movement consultants, and choreographers. We hope you will join us and find how dance here at Wilson School of Dance can help you achieve your goals!
How the School Started
Since 1977 when Wilson School of Dance opened, Juanita Wilson has been a driving force in dance for the Charlottesville area. Her passion for all types of dance, with all ages and levels of ability has brought dreams alive for over 10,000 students.
"When I started the school people were only familiar with ballet and tap, so part of my mission was to educate the community and help them experience many styles of dance from traditional jazz to contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and more. Since those days I've taught 27 years of dance at the University of Virginia, 2 years at James Madison University, choreographed over 1000 dances for professional companies, schools, local, regional and National events including a TV pilot, the National Jazz Hall of Fame, and a Duran Duran music video that was chosen to tour worldwide,"
Perhaps a lesser known fact is that while I love Charlottesville I needed to spread my artistic wings so in the early 1980's after securing teachers for the school I moved to New York. It was rewarding teaching the kids on Broadway at Phil Black's Studio (dancing with Jennifer Lopez -- now J Lo), choreographing and teaching with New York Dance Theater, working with Frank Ohman, (a soloist with New York City Ballet) and watching rehearsals at Lincoln Center under the direction of world-renowned George Balanchine. As it came time to decide where to put down permanent roots it was the loving enthusiasm of my C'ville students who convinced me I could make more a difference here, that drew me back. I've seen this area grow from undeveloped land into a bustling suburban community and I love being a part of the "village it takes to raise" and empower females and males to use this beautiful art to express themselves.
We have highly qualified instructors who are not only good dancers but have a proven ability and passion for teaching. When asked why she dances at Wilson School of Dance one of our students commented , "I love dancing at Wilson because Juanita and all the teachers are encouraging and inspire us to do our best, not really competing against others but striving to be our own best. We get technically great training, but it's fun to dance for the sheer joy of the movement! "
Parents love the many times available to suit today's busy schedules and the awesome end of year performance! Dancing onstage with beautiful costumes from age 3 through teens to adults, from the smallest princess ballet beginners to the amazing technique of advanced dancers in tap , lyrical, ballet, musical theater, Broadway jazz, contemporary or hip hop this a what builds confidence and allows students to really shine!
"We are creating a legacy within the school that fosters not only a passionate love for dance but helps each person here to become successful, filled with confidence, integrity, poise, grace and a love for dance that will carry on for generations.
Of course physical fitness, increased memory and cognitive ability, and emotional well-being are all great reasons to dance here but we love to teach people who come to us just for good ol' FUN!",
We're located in a former church building with beautiful big Gothic arched windows at 3114 Proffit Road, near Hollymead Towne Center, and Forest Lakes so it's easy to locate and convenient to shop while the kids are in dance class!