Growing Through Arts® Retailer: Cazenovia Ballet

Cazenovia Ballet For Joanne Rinaldo, owner of the Cazenovia Ballet in Cazenovia, NY, the Growing Through Arts® storybooks and Practice & Play books are the perfect complement to her business.

Rinaldo is the sole teacher at the Cazenovia Ballet, which serves about 130 students in a small town about 30 minutes outside of Syracuse, NY. She also operates a small boutique inside the dance school, where she sells everything from tights and leotards to ballet slippers and pointe shoes.

Although she has some dancers in high school, the vast majority of her students range from 3 to 8 years old ― the ideal age range for the Growing Through Arts® books.

Despite her small number of students, Rinaldo puts on a complete production of The Nutcracker every year at the local high school. So this year, Rinaldo ordered the Nutcracker storybooks, Practice & Play books and Stage Scene Play Sets to tie in with the production. She displayed the books at the in-house boutique so families could see them on their way to classes, auctioned them off at their annual Nutcracker Tea fundraiser and sold copies during intermission.

She says the books were a huge hit. “What little child doesn’t love the story of the Nutcracker?” Rinaldo says.

A former French teacher, Rinaldo says she appreciates the educational nature of the books, and especially likes how the Practice & Play books help children with their motor skills by having them trace letters and shapes.

Rinaldo says parents like that the books have just the right amount of information on each page and aren’t overly complicated. “The overall layout of the books and the illustrations have been something the parents really like when they’re going over it with their kids,” she says.

After the success of the Nutcracker books, Rinaldo is now planning to order the Cinderella books to incorporate into her summer dance camp.

For years, Rinaldo has been teaching her summer camp students about a specific ballet, exposing them to everything from the music to the story, costumes, and sets. The 3 to 4 year olds learn about Cinderella, while the older students learn about ballets like Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Swan Lake or The Nutcracker.

One of the highlights of dance camp is making a craft to go along with each ballet, such as a shoebox diorama of Coppelia’s workshop or a sparkly wand and tiara for Cinderella. “It is to-die-for hysterical,” she laughs.

As a parent herself, Rinaldo knows how important it is to find good books to read to your children. “My love and appreciation for books was something I shared with my daughter,” she says. “So when I came across the Growing Through Arts® books that told ballet stories… that was what was most intriguing to me.”