When Rebecca Harman decided to leave the corporate world and earn a living closer to home, she returned to what she referred to as “my passion and my love.” A former professional ballet dancer who performed with troupes across the country, Harman decided to open a ballet studio for young people in her own Grant Park community.
Because she saw it as an asset for her community, Harman named her new venture Neighborhood Ballet.
Starting in 2016 from what Harman described as “humble beginnings,” Neighborhood Ballet became so popular that she opened a second, then a third location. In September Neighborhood Ballet opened its fourth location. For her newest studio, Harman chose what she called “the vibrant Northlake area.” She said she chose the location because Northlake/Tucker, like Grant Park, has a strong sense of community. “I like to feel wherever I open a location I am serving my neighbors,” she said.
Located in the Northlake Village Shopping Center at Northlake Parkway and Henderson Mill Road, the new Neighborhood Ballet in addition to a dance studio has a dancewear boutique, “all designed to create a secure and inspiring setting for young dancers,” according to Harman.
“We are absolutely thrilled to infuse the spirit of dance into the dynamic Northlake-Tucker community,” said Harman, who in addition to being the founder and artistic director of Neighborhood Ballet operates its associated youth company, Rise City Dance.
Although there are adult classes at other Neighborhood Ballet locations and adult classes are scheduled to open within weeks at the Northlake location, Harman said she takes special pleasure in teaching dance to children. “Kids take to dancing naturally,” she observed. “Dancing is part of our soul. I seek to preserve that love of dance and add layers of technique.”
In announcing the new studio, Harman said, “Neighborhood Ballet’s mission is to inspire, develop, and bolster a love of dance in every student.” Harman, who has an undergraduate degree in history and a master’s degree in historic preservation, said training in the arts benefits everyone no matter what field they choose for an occupation.
“We do not take our roles as arts educators lightly. While we value the importance of precision and technique, we know that our students will be the next generation of not only dancers, but teachers, politicians, patrons, parents, community members, and leaders. By instilling the importance of the arts in our students, we can impact our future,” she continued.
The new studio offers an array of dance classes tailored to various age groups and skill levels, according to Harman. With classes for dancers 18 months and older, Neighborhood Ballet “offers an all-encompassing curriculum designed to nurture the distinctive potential of each student,” she said.
Harman said she holds annual ballet recitals at the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech. “It a beautiful evening with costumes and performances at many levels. Our longstanding mission has been to cultivate confidence, discipline, and a profound reverence for the arts within our students. With the inauguration of our fourth location, we are resolute in our mission to continue enriching young lives through the important language of dance and movement,” she said.
The expansion, Harman said, “underscores the studio’s unwavering dedication to delivering exceptional dance education for children and fostering a lifelong passion for the art form.”
Neighborhood Ballet has a staff of about 20, including what Harman called “an amazing team of committed and experienced instructors.” When it is fully staffed, the Northlake location, which opened Sept. 10, will have approximately seven teachers. “The studio,” Harman said, “offers a well-rounded curriculum that emphasizes not only technical growth but also care to the artistic and social-emotional growth, enabling students to flourish both physically and emotionally.”