5 Star Safety Pledge Badge


#1 In Person

Observing Physical Distancing & Sanitation Protocols
*Masks Optional*

With regular review, we will continue to monitor CDC guidelines. Physical distancing & sanitizing measures are in place with masks optional.
As of 8/1/2021.

#2 Livestream Classes

Online Connectivity from Home

Enrolled students have the option to participate in studio or from home with live online connectivity.

#3 Private Lessons

One-on-One coaching sessions for enhanced learning & confidence building.

Target performance goals, build confidence, or focus on specific skills with private one-on-one coaching.

Belong Here! The Academy of Dance Arts creates high quality, vibrant dance lessons and family-friendly, safe learning environments for growing dancers of all ages and abilities, one step at a time! Serving more than 300 families in Western South Dakota and Eastern Wyoming, The Academy brings the convenience of two locations in Rapid City (West Side & Downtown) plus online access, private coaching and certified programs reaching families across the nation and beyond!

Find out more about us and our innovative collaborations to:

  • Discover: new skills, new friendships, and real-time connectivity
  • Dance: learn, create, train, refine, perform
  • Grow: technique, confidence, relationships, big dreams!

We invite you to Discover, Dance & Grow with us!


Academy Alumni

Academy dancers can go anywhere from here!  Our grads have been successful with pro and regional companies, currently including a real Disney princess!

You bring the child, we’ll grow the dancer! 

Click here to see updates!

Proud Member of the Dance Studio Owners Inner Circle

Frequently Asked Questions

We are happily serving families in the Black Hills with two convenient locations:

• 4251 Canyon Lake Drive in Rapid City serves our youngest dancers. Located just behind the Common Cents car wash on the corner of Jackson Blvd. and Canyon Lake Drive, this spot is ideal to bring your dancer and observe through the viewing window during appointed Peek Weeks, enjoy a dog walk in the park across the street or take a quick run while your dancer is active and having fun learning with friends.

• 230 Main St., Rapid City: Our newest Downtown gallery location offers expansive room to move, with 12’ ceilings, a state-of-the-art sprung AND floating dance flooring system, plus a footprint equal to our City theatre. Core C students will experience more chances to dance in the heart of the City’s latest improvement district. Within a block of Armadillos Ice Cream, Pure Bean Coffee and Kicks and Giggles, families can take time to shop or relax with a treat while their dancers actively pursue their goals and dreams.

Yes! The Academy of Dance Arts has two studio locations in Rapid City and we serve all of the Black Hills including the Northern Hills.

See our Enrollment page for more details.

Yes, there's parking for you to be nearby as your dancer is safely enjoying class inside.

Canyon Lake Drive, Rapid City: We provide parking in the gravel lot adjacent to the studio, and in our overflow lot across the alley, bordered with our white fence. All property is owned by the Academy of Dance Arts, and is available to families of our studios for parking. We also have free WIFI access.

230 Main Street, Rapid City: Free, non-metered parking along both Main Street and Third Street is available throughout the day.

As we open the doors to a phase-in return to in-person classes, we will limit both the numbers of children and adults in the buildings, implement one-way flow and staggered arrival/dismissal times to maintain appropriate physical distancing practices. Please watch for updates as we uphold guidelines for our 5 Star Studio Safety Pledge and follow directions set forth by authorities.

Every class is LIVE online for convenient parent viewing AND families can sign up now for your favorite time to join Peek Weeks in our studios, schduled in cohorts for weeks 1,2 or 3 of each month. Since masks are optional, physical distancing and limiting the numbers of people in the studio at a time are a few of the ways we can continue to keep our service continuity and see that our dancers and families are strong and healthy!

Our Dance Shoppe knows exactly what you need for success, priced at the best value for the performance quality. Our simple dress code helps dancers to shine, with items which will last and perform well. We can help you in person at 230 Main Street in Rapid City, you can order online HERE, and we can deliver items to your Academy class location at no additional charge!

The right pair of shoes can change a life! When a little dancer steps into the dress code uniform they are wearing clothing of legends! It's still exactly what the best professional dancers everywhere and across history have worn! From Anna Pavlova to Misty Copeland and Mikhail Baryshnikov, the tools of the trade are simple and powerful. The technology has improved, so a leotard and tights are now buttery soft and the shoes are supple, hugging little feet with the right amount of performance magic. Make sure you are getting the RIGHT tools by shopping local or at a dance supply store, instead of spending your hard-earned dollars on play shoes from a big box store. Set your dancer up for success from the very first step!


If you already have dress code items, like a leotard, tights or dance shoes, wear those! But we don't expect anyone to invest in the uniform before taking a test spin on the floor! The important thing is to be comfortable so that you can get the most out of the experience. Uniforms are a proud part of the enrollment process.

Fine Arts Club Dress Code:

We want preschool-aged children to be comfortable as they move, create, paint and grow active imaginations. Leggings & Sweatpants are great! Please wear clean indoor shoes and bring an extra change of clothing.

Enrolled Dancer Dress Code:

ClassAges as of Sept. 1Attire (girls)Attire (Boys)Hair RequirementsAdditional Requirements
Tutu Tots & Gents3-4 years oldpink dance dress, pink tights, pink ballet shoesWhite Tee with athletic pants with snug cuff, black ballet shoesponytail, braid or hair bun
Kinderdance (ballet)4-5 years oldpink unskirted leotard, pink tights, pink ballet shoesWhite Tee with athletic pants with snug cuff, black ballet shoesponytail, braid or hair bun
Creative/Little Swans & Gents6-7 Years OldLilac unskirted leotard, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, matching skirt on the last class of every monthWhite Tee with black athletic pants, black ballet shoes, solid color tee on the last class of every monthballet bun for girls
Ballet 1-4Ages 8+Black camisole or tank unskirted leotard, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, black ballet skirt on the last class of every month. NO Plastic or cloth Shoes from Target or Wal-mart permittedWhite Tee with black athletic pants and compression short or dance belt athletic support, white ankle socks black ballet shoessleek ballet bun required to attend class, with pins and hairnets. No bun makers.
Ballet 5-7, Open Ballet (CORE C) & Pointe (all levels)Ages 11+Eggplant camisole or tank unskirted leotard, pink tights, pink split sole stretch ballet shoes, ballet skirt on the last class of every month. No big box plastic or cloth shoes. Pointe shoes as fit by directorWhite Tee with black athletic pants, Black dance belt (athletic support), white ankle socks black ballet shoessleek ballet bun required to attend class, with pins and hairnets. No bun makers.
Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT)Ages 8+Ballet Level solid unskirted leotard, pink convertible tights, bare feetWhite Tee with black athletic pants, Black dance belt (athletic support), white ankle socks black ballet shoesbun, ponytail or hair upFusion Ball 9-11": Pilates ball, sized by height; 72" physical therapy band (supplies availabe at the Dance Shoppe)
Teen/Adult Ballet11 years old thru AdultSolid Color leotard, black leggings or pink tights and pink ballet shoesWhite Tee with black athletic pants, Black dance belt (athletic support), white ankle socks black ballet shoesbun, ponytail or hair up
Modern (all levels)Ages 8+Solid unskirted leotard, with solid Capris. No ShoesNo Shoes, Black Sweats, or leggings, White or Solid Color Tee, bare feetbun, ponytail or hair up
Acro/Jazz/Musical Theatre (all levels)Ages 8+Black unskirted leotard, pink or flesh tights, black Capri or Acro Short, Tan Jazz ShoesWhite top or tee, black compression shorts and short or legging over. Tan Jazz shoesponytail or hair up
Hip Hop (all levels)Ages 8+Shoe: All Black Hip Hop shoe; Bottoms: Black joggers capris or leggings, Black leotardShoe: All Black Hip Hop shoe; Bottoms: Black joggers, white teeponytail or hair up
Tap (A-C)Ages 8+Black or eggplant unskirted leotard, pink tights, Black skirt or leggings, black tap shoesWhite Tee with black athletic pants, black tap shoesbun, ponytail or hair up
Stretch,Turns, Leaps/ContemporaryAges 12+Ballet Level leotard color, pink convertible tights, pink ballet shoes or jazz shoesWhite Tee with black athletic pants, Black dance belt (athletic support), white ankle socks black ballet shoesbun, ponytail or hair up

Masks Optional means that we will work together to keep dancers healthy! Since we are not going to mandate masks this season, we will use enhanced sanitization of spaces and surfaces, observe physical distancing protocols, one-way flow through the buildings, and limited class sizes. We will also limit the number of people in our buildings at one time with our 5-Star Safety Pledge. Still counting, zero cases of COVID transmission in our studios since March 13, 2020!

Our certified, generous, innovative team of professional teaching artists, community outreach collaborators, and client care specialists continues to grow in our single-hearted devotion to serve our students with integrity, whether in person or in our new and improved online formats. We believe every child matters and do our very best to see individual results, goals and dreams are achieved within our supportive family environment.

Dancers learn more, have fun and discover their joy one step at a time! Providing your child with the best opportunities to explore and grow in a safe, nurturing environment is one of the biggest challenges parents and caregivers face.

To help you in your search, join a trial class on us to experience first-hand what our dancers and families share they love about us! Our studio is one-of-a-kind in the nation. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Age-appropriate learning: Families love how we place students by age AND level, to help each person gain the best individual progress. We have G-rated music, costumes and dress codes to treasure the magic of childhood! Dedicated students who continue studies are trained and can compete with those living in large metropolitan or coastal areas, too!
  2. Small Classes: We limit class sizes, for the highest quality focus and personal attention possible. We don’t strive to be the largest studios because we don’t want to skimp on quality, or miss students if they are lost in a sea of bodies. No one is invisible in our classrooms.
  3. Whole-child philosophies: our experienced teachers value every student, because every person matters. We understand that every person is unique in learning styles, ability, physique, personality and more. With that in mind, every child gets a personalized learning plan with individualized instruction. We meet students where they are and help them to find the next right step!
  4. Safety: We train dancers with safe, proven methods for injury-prevention in mind ~ we are born with just one instrument, one body to use so we encourage our dancers to care for it well! In the event that a student needs special accommodations (due to injuries from other activities) we SAFELY offer opportunities for best class modifications with caregiver/doctor's permission.
  5. Best Practices: 100% of our faculty are certified in first aid and CPR. We are also certified in specific techniques and methods of training to bring out the best in your dancer: Vaganova, Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), Acrodance, and Yoga are the latest additions to our pro faculty training skills.
  6. Mentorship: We have a reputation as a drama-free zone. We lead, mentor and guide dancers as young people of character and integrity, growing together in community.
  7. Recognition: The first studio awarded recognition by the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) in South Dakota to start a chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA). Inductees are awarded points for leadership, dance artistry and academic excellence, and may apply for national scholarships. For more information, please click here.
  8. Spaces: We provide room to explore and grow: The only studios with multiple locations and online services in the Black Hills region, we have hardwood flooring for drum-worthy tapping resonance, and a full theatre-sized sprung marley floor for those who reach farther and dance larger downtown!
  9. Protected Childhoods & Family Values: We value the magic of childhood, quality family time, friendships and healthy physical activity. Because we recognize how precious those irreplaceable years are, we build dance skills AND life skills! Students gain lifetime friendships while learning healthy movement and sound technique, building new ways of connecting, growing social skills, finding mentors and dreaming big to achieve real-world goals!
  10. Joy!: Imagine seeing your child bounce out of class with a huge smile on their face because they’ve made new friends and learned new skills to build their confidence and abilities! Our motto to “Be Bold, Be Brave and Be your Best” is one way we encourage students to grow one joyful and strong step at a time!

We look forward to helping you to grow your budding dancer, one lovely step at a time!

We have been bringing dancing dreams to life longer than any dance studios in the region, because of our commitment to quality, whole-child education and artistry! More than 60 years ago, Helen Griffiths sold the Academy to Kay Schneider, who grew professional dancers and programs across our State, founded both Black Hills Dance Theatre and co-founded the South Dakota Dance Network, with programs still active today! In 2000 Miss Kay’s student and former professional dancer, Julie A. McFarland, purchased the Academy and added “Arts” to our name, to better reflect what we do best! Many of our Academy students are children and grandchildren of Alumni. Our management team expanded in August to see that every child experiences the magic and joy of dance as they learn more with us!

A Few Words of Praise

"I have been so impressed with all the "extra" steps you and the staff take to make the dancing experience meaningful and exciting for the students."

- Melody S.

"First off I just wanted to let you all know that I know you guys have been taking extra precautions for all of the dancers. As a parent I really appreciate everything you have done to keep my girl safe."

- NH

"Please know how thankful we are for you and your wonderful staff. Your company has made a huge positive impact on my girls. Your teachers have inspired a love of dance in my girls, and self-confidence that they can continue to grow as dancers even though we have moved. We hope to dance with you again when we return to mainland US in a few years. Thank you for everything! "

- Lauren O'Halloran

"I cannot put into words the profound effect learning dance from the Academy teachers has had on me. As a high schooler and throughout my life, I have found guidance and always, always acceptance here. I can't believe how lucky I have been to work with Julie McFarland, Sara Olivier, and more! I love that I am challenged to push myself further than I did in the last class. I have learned not only to dance using its proper technique, but to be compassionate, to develop my work ethic, and to exude a positive attitude. The Academy of Dance Arts is a family that is loving and supportive through it all. I highly recommend experiencing dance here."

- Karah Haug

"Academy faculty treat all dancers as individuals. Everyone is important. Personal strengths are recognized and celebrated. Teachers equip the dancers with a strong foundation in technique, which gives students the tools they need to develop higher skills. In fact, when my daughter went to a dance intensive in Salt Lake City, her technique and overall skill was comparable if not better than dancers who attended performing arts schools in that area. We have found the Academy of Dance Arts to be a welcoming and caring place for all students to express themselves through dance. I highly recommend the Academy."

- Kim Haug

"5 stars all the way! High quality instruction, caring, inspiring faculty and professional heart touching presentations. So much more I could say. We moved to SD from WY just to be closer to the Academy for my daughter to get the best dance instruction. We looked at other options but the Academy can't be beat. Over the past 8 years, she's received wonderful instruction (high technique standards matters to us) and so much more. So grateful. You're in the best hands here!"

- Kelly Parks-Hoffman

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