Kate is not only a proficient of ballet technique, but she provides a wholistic approach of incorporating strength, flexibility, diet and injury prevention. Her hands on approach paired with an innate ability to find what motivates each student brings improvement specific to the individual. She genuinely cares about her students and has become an influential mentor to my daughter. In our 10 years of working with Kate, my daughter has gained insights and experiences that she will take with her for the rest of her life.
Kate is one of those unique teachers that sets high and demanding expectations of her students, yet provides the necessary support and encouragement to get her students to meet and exceed them. She is able to translate instruction in a way that will be meaningful to each child as they gain more and more control of their bodies and ballet technique. Even when my daughter felt something was too hard, or that she couldn’t do it, she knew that Kate believed in her and that encouragement inspired to keep at it until she did meet the challenge.
I first met Kate Rowan at the Joffrey. I was traveling to Chicago from Wisconsin to take her classes (an hour to two hours, depending on traffic!) because I knew i was in the company of “extraordinary”. Kate is a fusion of strength and technique, a delicate ballerina with incredible poise and beauty who, increases your turnout and flexibility through strength and placement. She exhibits and passes on her own incredible achievements in these areas, breaking it down, drilling it in, in order to pass it on in the manner of a true artist. In Kate’s classes the science and perfection of ballet merge perfectly with the art form. There are no injuries to fear. Whether it’s a private class with bands and core exercises prior to the barre (an incredibly complete warming up of feet and turnout), or learning a variation, Kate’s focus is on placement and technique, a constant rundown on how to get there with encouragement and hands on assistance until mastery is achieved. If someone walks in with a problem, Kate takes time to talk, to illustrate exercises for improving the strength or placement or how to avoid these problems to begin with. This makes her ideally suited for all age groups. She is a whiz at instilling good habits as well as curing bad ones. Kate is the ultimate merge of science and art. She is precise, lyrical with an astonishing sensitivity to detail. When you learn something from Kate, you get it right. There’s no need to go back and relearn it or correct it down the road. Her temperament, which separates her from most teachers I’ve encountered, is that of a refined teacher with a sense of humor, a sense of delight that she is doing what she loves most and is anxious to pass on her gifts without judgment or criticism. That said, she is a perfectionist who encourages each student to go as far as they can and then a step further. This is Vaganova but not in the style of the Russian teacher who chides or upbraids. In Kate’s class you can completely miss the mark and she will simply say, “Lovely, lovely. Okay, let’s try that again,” which often sets off a chain of smiles even while sweat pours down your body. She has an awareness and determination to correct, realign and see you through to your goal. She misses nothing. Since taking her private classes at Salt Creek Ballet I’ve not only seen progress but have hope of breaking through plateaus and continuing my journey into ballet, a difficult and demanding art. I attribute that to Kate’s incredible ability to combine dancing and teaching — she is a role model as well as an instructor, a delightful person as well as an extraordinary teacher, a combination one rarely finds, a jewel in her field. I am incredibly grateful to her for all I’ve learned.