As a mom with a daughter that now takes 11 dance classes a week, I’m very thankful we have an amazing ballet school right here in Ossining. Students come from all over Westchester to be trained by the Logreas, because they are truly exceptional.
Logrea Dance Academy is the leading regional ballet company in Westchester County, the official dance school of the Westchester Ballet Company (which puts on the Nutcracker each year, among other shows), and a place where my daughter has found supportive teachers, amazing friends and has gained important life skills.
Registration is open for the 2023-2024 season.
Thank you Mrs. Logrea for taking the time to answer these questions for us, and thank you for picking Ossining as the home of Logrea Dance Academy.
Tell us a bit about you
Jean Logrea and I (Beth Fritz-Logrea) are the co-directors of the Logrea Dance Academy, which is the official school of the Westchester Ballet Company.
I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. I started dancing when I was 7 years old at a wonderful ballet school in Memphis, and performed with the Memphis Civic Ballet. When I was 14, I won a scholarship to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, given by the great British ballerina Alica Markova, and became her protégé. I then joined the Met ballet company at the age of 16. After several years with the Met, I was offered a contract as soloist at both the St Gallen Stadt Theatre in Switzerland, and subsequently the Graz Opera House in Austria. I have also toured extensively, dancing leading roles in such ballets as Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, and Pas de Quatre.
Jean was born in a small village in Romania. At the age of 7, his innate talent became apparent, and he was given the opportunity to train at the Scoala Speciala in Cluj in Classical Ballet, Character, and Folk Dance. After graduation from high school, he became a principal dancer at the Opera House Cluj, as well as a teacher at the affiliated school for nine years. He then moved to Austria, where he was soloist with the Graz Opera House. He also toured throughout Europe in such major roles as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, the Jester in Swan Lake, the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, and the Rocker in The Miraculous Mandarin.
Jean and I met while dancing at the Opera House in Graz Austria. While there, we had a son, Nick, who has danced since he could walk. Nick is now an integral part of the school and business. He also is a Zumba ZES (Zumba Education Specialist) teaching master classes both in the US and abroad, as well as performing with Zumba founder Beto Perez.
In my free time, I do needlepoint, brush up on my German, which I learned and spoke while in Austria – and I also love to solve algebra problems. If I wasn’t a dancer, I might just be a mathematician. I love working with numbers.
Jean is a sports fanatic – from baseball to football to soccer – and also regularly attends the opera and ballet. You can often find him barbecuing for the family – and watching or doing anything Romanian.
Also, for the last 35 years, Jean and I have been co-artistic directors of the Westchester Ballet Company. WBC now has two major productions a year: The Nutcracker, and our Spring Performance, which we present yearly at the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase.
While I now live in Peekskill, Jean and Nick both reside in Ossining– and the Logrea Dance Academy has been at 2 Dale Avenue in Ossining for over 35 years.
Tell us about your business.
The Logrea Dance Academy has been in business for 35 years, providing dance education to the children of Westchester. When we began in 1986, we were lucky if we had 50 students. Now we teach over 300 student per year — some who come to train with us from as far away as Connecticut. Also, when we began, we had only one studio, and Jean and I were the only teachers. We now have 3 studios, and more than 24 staff members– including superb teachers, two marvelous wardrobe mistresses, and our fantastic administrative support staff. All our faculty are professionals who have worked in the business – some from Broadway, others from prestigious dance companies, and many travel from NYC to teach our students every week.
Many of our students start with us at the age of 5 – and leave us at the end of their senior year in high school. We love watching them progress from tiny children – to beautiful dancers and performers. We love the fact that during those years, we become their second family — and the friendships they form at the school become life-long. But I think my favorite part is when they come back to visit and I see how they have grown into such wonderful, smart, and well-rounded young men and women — and hear about all they’ve accomplished in their lives. Many of our students visit often, and now attend our performances as audience members. Some even now have their own children attending our school!
For someone not familiar with your business: what services do you offer?
Although our focus is on ballet, we also teach jazz, tap, modern and theatre dance. We believe that the basis of all dance is ballet – which is why we stress that all students should take at least one ballet class a week.
Many schools focus on competition. We don’t. We focus on technique. We assess the ability of each of our students before they begin training with us, and then place them in the correct class for their ability. In this way, each student learns the correct technique from the very beginning— which will carry through as they progress, no matter what type of dance they choose in the future.
That said, we’re not just teaching dance at Logrea. Our students learn life-lessons like discipline, poise, confidence, respect, teamwork, and perseverance. Many of our students have moved on to prestigious dance companies and Ivy League colleges. Some have taken their dance training and moved on to careers in musical theatre. But, as we tell our parents, whether your child wants a career in dance, or just wants to dance for the joy of it, he or she will learn life-skills at Logrea that will last a lifetime.
Why did you decide to open your business in Ossining?
In the 70s and 80s, Jean and I were dancing with the Graz Opera House in Graz, Austria. In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred – and we found out that it had triggered the release of acid rain in Austria. Nick was only 6 months old, so I immediately got on a plane and came back to the states until the emergency passed. Jean joined us a month later for vacation. One day, we were walking down Broadway in NYC, when Jean noticed the name of one of his ballet teachers from Romania, listed on a marquee in front of a building. We went in to see her, and she told us that there was a company and school in Westchester that were closing, unless they could find directors. Jean and I had contracts to go back and dance in Austria, but after much discussion, and meetings with the board of the Westchester Ballet Company, we decided to stay. We agreed that we’d be the Artistic Directors of the company – and have our own school.
It was a hard decision to change our lives so drastically, so quickly. Jean saw the opportunity immediately. I was hesitant at first to give up our contracts to dance, and our life in Europe. But I remember distinctly, right after we made the decision to stay, we were driving up Route 9 to sign our lease for the studio on Dale Avenue – and I noticed the gorgeous trees, and for the first time, began to really look at the area for all its beauty. After that, I soon came to learn Ossining’s history – and that with such a diverse population, we could touch the lives of so many students from many different cultures and backgrounds. That excited me —and I knew we had made the right decision. Now, after all these years, Jean and I are so glad we made the decision to stay – and be a part of all the growth and changes that have taken place in this beautiful community.
We often think about what our lives would have been like if we had chosen another street to walk down in NYC on that summer day in 1986. That one moment totally changed our lives in extraordinary ways – and, hopefully, the lives of our many students, who have walked through our doors for the last 34 years.
Give us your best Ossining tip or recommendation.
Our favorite place to eat in Ossining is 3 Westerly Bar and Grill. Sitting by the Hudson River, enjoying a delicious meal with friends and family, and enjoying the gorgeous view is one of the many perks of living in this charming village, which we have grown to love so much – and call home.
Thank you Beth!