The Staff at the Dance Studio have been professionally trained.
Tomi Pollock began her teaching career 36 years ago. Twenty one years ago, "The Dance Studio" expanded into a second city with 7 teachers working under Tomi's leadership. The teachers who work under her have studied the Cecchetti Method and have taken student and teacher levels of exams. The Dance Studio is unique in its approach to teaching dance. It is a professional training school where a student can learn to become a professional ballet dancer of quality, if he or she has the desire to achieve a career in dance.
Tomi's background of training was geared for a professional career in dance. She received a scholarship to study at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, IL. The National Academy was a private high school for dancers and musicians. The students were boarded, had academic classes in the morning and classes in their field of the arts in the afternoon. The summer following Tomi's junior year, she received a scholarship to the Joffrey School of Ballet in New York City. Her scholarship continued in the fall and she took her academic classes by correspondence.
Tomi returned to Illinois and she became interested in teaching. She began working on her teacher's examinations in the Cecchetti Method of ballet and continued taking exams also as a dancer. While performing with the Mid America Dance Co. in St. Louis in 1981, she continued to teach at The Dance Studio. Tomi completed all of the teacher's exams in the Cecchetti Method in 1991 and now holds the Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Diploma both as a dancer and a teacher with the Cecchetti Council of America and with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing-London England. This is an accomplishment few have achieved. When Tomi took her Diploma exam as a dancer in 1989, there were only six qualified examiners in the USA.
Tomi is a Fellow member of The Cecchetti Council of America and also a permanent examiner in the organization. In 1999 she received the Sylvia Hamer Scholarship to represent the Cecchetti Council of America at the Cecchetti Summer School held in Chichester, England.
Tomi has been on faculty for the Cecchetti Council of America's International Summer Workshop held in Holland, Michigan for over 20 years. She has also been a guest teacher for the East Coast, Midwest, and the Southwest committees of the Cecchetti Council of America.
Tomi is also director of "The Impact" dancers who annually perform. The Impact is the Gospel in dance and is performed before Easter and at various churches in the area. This is another avenue of dance that Tomi has opened for her students who wish to have more performing experience.
Tomi Pollock realizes that the majority of her students will not become professional dancers. She does know that those who choose to, will get excellent training; and that those who attend merely for enjoyment, will become a better educated dance audience that will support excellence in dance because they will know it when they see it.
Frances Long-Rossi has been teaching ballet and jazz for 12 years. She has been under the instruction of Tomi Pollock for 28 years.
She studied the Cecchetti Method of ballet for many years completing the Intermediate Professional Student and Teacher’s grade IV levels of exams. Frances attended the Cecchetti Council of America’s International summer dance intensive for 4 years. She has also been active with The Impact Dance Company since its beginning in 1993.
Mrs. Long-Rossi attended St. Louis University to study physical therapy. She currently holds her Post-Baccalaureate Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy and works as a licensed physical therapist in Missouri.
Dance has been a passion of Frances since childhood. In addition to loving the art, it taught her self-discipline and self-confidence.
Natalie’s love of dance began at a young age. After amusing her mother with her astute attention to detail while following along to Richard Simmons’ “Sweating to the Oldies,” she was enrolled in ballet classes at The Dance Studio at the age of five. She loved dancing in Tomi’s classes and enrolled in every class she could. She began Cecchetti classes at the age of ten, and at seventeen completed the Advanced Professional Level with a commended grade. She also grew in her performance quality and faith by performing yearly in The Impact. Natalie attended The Cecchetti Council of America’s International Summer School for 5 years and received the Doris Dieu Memorial Scholarship for 3 of those years. Outside of her ballet studies, Natalie also took Polish Dance lessons at Polish Hall in Madison, IL and in 2002, began performing with her cousin Zyg Mulnik at Polish cultural events in the St. Louis area.
In 2005 Natalie attended Illinois State University where she studied Chemistry but was able to keep a dance as a big part of her life. Despite not being a dance major, she was enthusiastically invited to join Illinois State Dance Company where she was named a leading member her first semester. She was able to continue her love for ballet while also exploring and performing modern dance. She was given the opportunity to attend and perform at the American College Dance Festival, sampling many styles of dance from instructors from around the country. Her senior year, she was featured in a piece choreographed by Sara Semonis that was selected to travel with Shelter Repertory Dance Theater.
In 2009, Natalie received her B.S. in chemistry and started working as a Quality Control Chemist for Vi-Jon Laboratories, a St. Louis Private label Health and Beauty company. She was able to start dancing with The Dance Studio again, but this time also focused on teaching. In 2010 she worked on her first Cecchetti exam as a teacher and passed with a commended grade.
Currently, she stays busy as Vi-Jon Laboratories’ head Microbiologist for all Missouri plants. In the evenings and weekends, she has passed her Cecchetti Teachers’ Grade IV Exam and continues to take classes, as well dance in The Impact and continue her folk dancing performances.
Nathali received her early dance training from Doris Dieu at the Performing Arts Studio in Collinsville, IL where she studied the Cecchetti Method. Nathali has passed the Advanced Dancers Exam and has passed her Advanced Teachers Exam. She is a member of the Cecchetti Council of America. Nathali also studied at Webster University.
Her performing experience includes regional as well as professional companies such as: Mid-Illinois Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Annapolis, New York Theatre Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, and Dimensions Dance Company.
Nathali has taught several years at various studios in all forms of dance with a concentration on classical ballet. She is currently Costume and Production Assistant for The Big Muddy Dance Company located in St. Louis.