Let’s Swing!

Get your jitterbug on in our new ballroom dance class, Intro to East Coast Swing!

Led by Alex Bloomstein, this class is designed for people who have never taken a partnering ballroom class before. The class will introduce the participants to ballroom partnering and basic East Coast Swing steps. The goal is to give participants the confidence to step out onto a dance floor with a partner, relax, and have fun dancing.

Classes start March 18th, and full six week participation is strongly recommended. Students should sign up with a partner (contact us if you’d like to take this class but don’t have a partner and we will pair you with one).

Ballroom Dance: Intro to East Coast Swing

Open level, ages 16+

Fridays, 6-7pm

March 18 – April 29


NEW: Creative Dance for Ages 4-6

with Sara Kiesel

Ages 4-6

Mondays, 3:45-4:45pm

April 4 – May 23

In addition to our Saturday classes with Erin, we’re adding a new session of Creative Dance on Monday afternoons! Led by Sara Kiesel, this class encourages the joy of movement and imagination through a playful and guided approach to shape, rhythm, balance, flow, and locomotor skills. Lively music, stories, and imagery are key elements of this class.

Learn more and sign your little one up here.


Upcoming Workshop: Broadway Jazz

with Ilana Ransom Toeplitz

Open level, ages 16+

Fridays, 6-7pm

March 18 – April 29

Ilana Ransom-Toeplitz’s Broadway Jazz Workshop is just around the corner—and it’s sure to be a fun, laughs, good time!

This one day workshop focuses on jazz style, technique, interpretation, and quality—with exclusive access to a “behind the scenes” look at what it’s like to work on Broadway. Designed to support students with all levels of experience, Ilana emphasizes work ethic, commitment, individuality and focuses on bringing the best out of each student.

The workshop is just around the corner—on April 2nd. Learn more and save your spot here!


Summer Intensive Registration Now Is Open!

Check out our ballet, contemporary, hip hop, Dance Discovery, and Rhythm Alive programs—it is shaping up to be a phenomenal summer already!

Find Your Voice in Our Upcoming Workshop

Lovers of singing and theater—find your unique voice in our next one day workshop in our spring series!

On Saturday March 5th, bring a song and a sense of play to Lauren Berkman’s Acting Your Song workshop. In this workshop, you’ll explore games, ideas, and tools to help strengthen your confidence as a performer and a storyteller. Participants will work on understanding the meaning of their song of choice as text—and then dive deep into storytelling through acting and voice work.

This all day workshop (from 10am-5pm) will take place at Simon’s Rock and is open to all levels, ages 14+. Click below to read the full summary, view the workshop schedule, and register. (Space is limited!)

And a huge thank you to all who made last weekend’s workshop with Christal Brown such a success!


📣 A Few Class Updates

NEW DAY!

Brazilian Percussion Ensemble

Starting March 5th, class is moved to Saturdays from 3:15-4:15—right before Capoeira. Make sure you’ve signed up! (And note: there’s no class this week.)

NEW CLASS!

Ballroom Dance: Intro to East Coast Swing

We couldn’t be more excited to be offering ballroom dance this season. More details coming soon, so stay tuned!


Enjoy This Original Song Written for Pulse!

We are honored to share that local composer Joseph Gold composed a song for Pulse! Listen to the song below and be sure to check out his other work.

“I composed the upbeat ‘Joyful Beats, Joyous Pulse‘ as an homage to Berkshire Pulse, the fabulous dance and creative arts organization.”

— Joseph Gold

Save the Dates… for Our Performances & Intensives!

Summer 2022 is really starting to shape up! We’re so pleased to share that our end-of-year performance will take place on Saturday, May 28th and Sunday, May 29th. These performances will be held at the Daniel Arts Center again—for the first time since 2019!

And while you have your calendar open…

Our summer intensive dates are officially up! Take an early peek at our Rhythm Alive, Dance Discovery, Hip Hop/Street Style, Contemporary, and Ballet intensives—more details and registration info to come.


February Break Reminder

During the break, all Youth Performing Arts Program classes are on break for the week of February 19-25, resuming on the 26th. Select community classes are ongoing—a full schedule for community classes during the break can be viewed here. Questions? Contact us here, or simply reply to this email.

Take a Workshop with Christal Brown!

We are excited to announce that we’re hosting a new workshop series in partnership with Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Throughout the spring, guest teaching artists will lead special and wide-ranging one-day workshops for students and community members. These workshops are open to all levels, ages 14+, and will take place in the beautiful Beckerman dance studio at the Daniel Arts Center.

First up is Christal Brown’s Choreography Workshop on Saturday, February 19th! (Space is limited, so sign up soon!) 

Be sure to keep your eye out for more to come in this special series throughout the spring.

Contemporary Dance + Choreography Workshop

with Christal Brown

Saturday, February 19 at Simon’s Rock
All levels, ages 14+  

$40 for full day
($20 for current Pulse students, Free for YCI students)

Workshop Schedule:
10:30 am: Welcome 
10:45 am-12:45 pm: Technique Class
12:45 pm-1:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm-3:30 pm: Choreography Workshop
3:30 pm-4:30 pm: Open discussion about working in the industry, Q&A

CHRISTAL BROWN is the Founder of INSPIRIT, Project: BECOMING, the creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dance an Associate Professor of Dance at Middlebury College and the CVO of Steps and Stages Coaching, LLC. Brown received a BFA in Dance and a minor in Business from UNCG and her MFA in New Media Art and Technology from LIU. Brown is a native of Kinston, North Carolina, where she remembers cleaning up on Saturday mornings as a child to the music of the Chi-Lites, Marvin Gaye, and Shirley Caesar. These rituals innately produced a strong desire in her to make all work melodic, sensual, meaningful and set to music. The melodies in her body are melancholic and brought to life through the music; seen rather than heard through her choreography. Learn more about Christal at christalbrown.com.

(Photo credit: Jhsu Media)

Spring Classes Are Here!

Let’s dance all this winter cold away! Our community classes and upper level PAP classes are officially back in full swing—and our younger students will return to start the spring session on January 29th. (You can review the limited changes we’ve made to the PAP schedule here.)

Haven’t signed up for a class yet? Don’t forget—for the month of January, try any of our community classes, including one of our 6 brand new community classes, for FREE!


Two New Community Classes to Try!

Brazilian Percussion Ensemble

with Tarcísio Ramos Dos Santos

Ages 11+, Thursdays 5:45-6:45pm

In this class we will learn several iconic Brazilian rhythms. We will learn Samba, Samba Reguea, Baião, Xaxado and Maracatu. All these rhythms have an African influence and they are the back bone of the Brazilian musical soul. We will learn to play traditional Brazilian instruments that compose the Brazilian percussive ensemble called Bateria! It will be fun and we will learn together one beat at the time!

Intro to Brazilian Samba Dance

with Tarcísio Ramos Dos Santos

Ages 16+, Thursdays 7-8pm

Samba is the most popular Afrobrazilian dance known and practiced in Brazil and around the world. The peculiar and fun samba dance steps is a fun workout and a way to express yourself. The meter is a simple 2/4 but its syncopation brings an authentic energy where the dancer will play, dance, create and the most important, have fun. This is an introductory Samba class and no dance experience is required.


BODYSONNET presents: Art Tonic

January 30- February 1

Art Tonic is a virtual celebration and a platform to premiere new work developed and produced by BODYSONNET, a collective of contemporary dance artists. As a collective committed to innovative and accessible art, BODYSONNET will be hosting Art Tonic on bodysonnet.org as a private website open for 72 hours to audience members who make a tax-deductible donation of ten dollars or more to receive a ticket.

Included in the virtual space is a talkback hosted by creative consultant, and educational developer Antonio Viva, the world premiere of BODYSONNET’s new film The Mount: a visually captivating short set at the historic home of Edith Wharton, and exclusive season previews.

Go to bodysonnet.org for tickets or contact collective@bodysonnet.org.

Our Program Won a National Award!

The National Endowment for the Arts awards $10k to Moving Life Stories!

Berkshire Pulse has been approved for a $10,000 Challenge America Award from the National Endowment for the Arts! This award will support our program, Moving Life Stories—which offers movement and community-building activities to people of diverse ages, cultures, and communities, including recent immigrant families to the Berkshires.

To receive the Challenge America Award, we must raise matching funds. Please consider supporting this incredible program and help us meet our $10,000 goal!

HELP US MEET THE MATCH

Spotlight: Moving Life Stories

Moving Life Stories is a free workshop series led by teaching artist Tom Truss, held both in Pittsfield and at our studios here in Housatonic. Through partner organizations including Berkshire Immigrant Center, LitNet, and Volunteers in Medicine, Moving Life Stories serves recent immigrants and refugees—with Spanish translation provided—but is also open to residents of all ages and backgrounds. The workshops introduce participants to modern dance techniques, improvisation, storytelling, and dance-making. Through the process, participants find connections to one another and learn about the diverse cultures that make up our community.

SUPPORT MOVING LIFE STORIES

We Love Our Staff!

In celebration of our shiny new website, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate our incredible, talented, hardworking staff. These are the wonderful people who keep Pulse going (and growing)! Get to know them with a few fun facts… 

Bettina Montano

Founder/Artistic Director

* Swims, knits, gardens, jumps on a trampoline, cooks, walks her dog, and dreams dances.

Benjamin Court

Operations Manager

* A member of Creation Global, a Chicago Footwork dance crew.

* Plays the guitar and also produces dance music!

Susan Ingersoll

Finance Director

* Loves everything ocean—being on it, in it, and eating anything that comes out of it!

*Also loves running, thrifting, and exploring. 

Veronica Bone

Program Coordinator

* Loves exploring New England by foot, car, ski lift, and bike.

* Craving to learn more about dance film and dance theatre!

Jaimee Christinat

Administrator

* Bilingual and loves to sing (only in the car), dance, and cook!

Kim Waterman

In-School Program Coordinator

* Loves science fiction (everything from The Blob to Blade Runner to Rocky Horror) & show tunes (can be heard singing Godspell, Lil Abner & more as she cruises down rt.7).

Maxwell Chase

Front Desk Staff

* Loves to read books about history + always has the coolest socks!

Madeline Despres-Chen 

Front Desk Staff

* Recently graduated from the SomaSoul®: Somatic Therapy program at The Leven Institute for Expressive Movement! 

Alicia Ortwein

Front Desk Staff

* Been in the Pulse family for 3 years

* A homeschool teacher who loves to paint!

Andy Reynolds

Grant Writer

* The youngest of 8 children and writes plays for fun!

Moscelyne ParkeHarrison

Social Media Manager

* Grew up dancing at Pulse!

* Always trying to learn something new—by making art and diving deep into collaboration.

Jordyn Cormier

Marketing + Wordsmithery   

* Recently directed her first short film.

* Makes phenomenal gluten-free cider doughnuts!

Thank you to each and every one of you! 

Making Pulse Accessible to Everybody

We have been granting Tuition Assistance to families-in-need since 1996. Thanks to this special program, Pulse has never turned away a student for an inability to pay. Here’s a glimpse at what our Tuition Assistance Program looks like by the numbers…     

How Tuition Assistance Makes an Impact   

  • 1 out of 5 Pulse students receive tuition assistance. In 2021, students were awarded between 30% and 100% of the cost of tuition, ranging from $120 to $3000 per student. 
  • $35,000+ has been granted to Pulse students in tuition assistance this year.  
  • The need for tuition assistance has increased by 120% for families-in-need between 2020 and 2021.    

Help Us Continue Offering Tuition Assistance 

With so many challenges facing our community this year, the need for this program continues to grow. Learn more here, and make a donation here. We hope you’ll consider supporting this very special program.  

Berkshire Pulse