Not having bricks and mortar yet, isn’t stopping the launch of our 2018 fall programming. As we gear up for a capital campaign, in addition to architectural design and construction developments, this inaugural programming gives us even more momentum.

We will currently be utilizing space at the existing Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture (PARC)-run Cornelius Arts Center at Oak Street Mill (19725 Oak St., Cornelius) for pre-kindergarten and senior dance classes provided through a partnership with Charlotte Ballet. This will be the renowned dance organization’s first presence in Lake Norman, although it has served portions of the Lake Norman community and beyond for years at its home base in Uptown Charlotte and through outreach in south Charlotte community programming.

Registration opens for the classes on September 1, 2018. Classes will be held weekly on Wednesdays, starting on October 3 and running through December 12.

Charlotte Ballet instructor Gretchen Jax (Photo by Jeff Cravotta)

Gretchen Jax, who graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Performance, and has worked as a faculty member of Charlotte Ballet since 2003, will instruct both classes. She is thrilled to serve the North Mecklenburg region and Lake Norman community. The dance organization has received national recognition for its excellence in programming, education and outreach, and dance training.

Offerings for seniors and youth showcase our diverse programming plans and no previous experience in dance is required. Executive Director, Justin Dionne, says the Center plans to provide new opportunities for the community through its programs. When in discussions with Charlotte Ballet, it was noted that classes for pre-schoolers and seniors are often overlooked. While the current PARC-run Arts Center provides art and ceramics classes, it does not offer any performing arts classes. 

Senior dance classes will be held on Wednesdays from 11-11:45 a.m., October 3rd through December 12th at Cornelius Arts Center at Oak Street Mill. (Photo by Peter Zay)

Senior dance classes, 45 minutes to one hour long, will be tailored to the needs and desires of the group and may be done on foot or in a chair. The senior dance classes do not have specific age limitations and are meant to introduce movement to the body.

Meanwhile, in the 45-minute “First Steps Pre-School” class, students (3-5 years old) will explore musicality, rhythm, creativity, and movement through space. The class aims to encourage age appropriate stretching, strengthening, balance, motor skill development and coordination techniques. The classes will provide students with the skills needed for pre-ballet classes. Following the end of pre-kindergarten classes, there will be a special showcase for family and friends of students.

Pre-kindergarten classes will be held on Wednesdays from 12-12:45 p.m., October 3rd through December 12th at Cornelius Arts Center at Oak Street Mill. (Photo by Lynn Spence)

Dionne plans to offer other dance classes and theater classes in the future. Design plans for the future Center include two classrooms, one for dance classes and another that can serve as a multi-purpose room for theater and arts classes. “We want to establish flagship programs,” says Dionne. “This partnership with Charlotte Ballet provides us with an opportunity to serve the community and test programs.” 

For more information on Cornelius Arts Center classes, visit

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