The Creative Approach

Excellence   Creativity   Nurturing   Community

A not-for-profit, fine arts dance school linked to our New York professional company.

At the LJD School, every child is a dance maker! 


Safely distanced with masks required

Our families have asked for outdoor classes this fall and we are THRILLED to announce dance classes in the park near Maplewood Village! LJD School is partnering with Maplewood Community Services to offer fun dance classes at the bottom of the hill in Memorial Park (where the Maplewoodstock stage usually is) On 5 fall Thursday afternoons starting on Thursday September 10 - ongoing enrollment. Social distancing and masks are required to be sure everyone stays safe.  


The class will be a fun mix of dance styles as we adapt to dancing on the lawn. A contemporary warm-up, a ballet and alignment section followed by patterns combining modern, jazz and using our ballet as a base! Kids will add their own improvised shapes and patterns. All to a vibrant mix of music and led by LJD Principal dancers Laura and Katie.


Dancers need to wear masks, sneakers and NON- baggy dance wear, such as leotards and leggings, or fitted T shirts and shorts.

THE LJD SCHOOL'S  SAFE AT HOME DANCE CLASSES continue this fall with our new expanded virtual curriculum! Both uplifting and engaging, our curriculum has been fine-tuned during our successful spring and summer programs. As we added more interactive elements, and our students began to use the Zoom technology creatively, our young dancers progressed technically and creatively. By including time for thoughtful discussions our classes encourage young dancers to interact with each other and their teachers in ways that counteract feelings of isolation and are meaningful. The warm and non-competitive feeling we have developed in our live classes shine through in our Zoom classes as well with lots of good humor and fun! 

Our school offers a warm, non-competitive atmosphere which encourages young dancers to feel confident and to use their creativity as they skill build. Studying at LJD includes an unparalleled opportunity to work directly with acclaimed choreographer Lydia Johnson and her dancers who have received accolades from prestigious New York dance writers over many years. The LJD School's creative approach was developed right in our community as Lydia lives in South Orange and brought her 3 children up here - all of whom attended SOMA schools. This fusion of a highly accomplished choreographer and her dance company with a local dance school is totally unique and allows students exposure to the creation and performance of dance at a professional level in an immediate and personal way. Every class includes Lydia's choreography curriculum which is structured carefully for each age group. Company dancers teach many classes as well as to hold open rehearsals .


For most children dance education is a springboard to a life of varied creativity in many realms and we aim to foster a deep enjoyment and understanding of the arts. Join us in a warm and joyful approach to dance education that has long been a part of our local area communities!

“Johnson is a craftsman and a poet; her works, which stress the ensemble and attend closely to the music, have an ebb and flow in addition to a strong emotional current. The basis of her technique is ballet, and her dancers are strong. The program at New York Live Arts includes four works, two of them new, set to a variety of musical styles, from Handel to Golijov”

                              The New Yorker

"What seems to count most for Ms. Johnson is music.  The four pieces...all showed uncommon skill at matching ballet movement to music, both at the large scale of structure and in small, felicitous details.  Her orchestration of bodies, adding and subtracting, followed the texture of the music wonderfully, coordinating closely with each score's formal drama"        

                               The New York Times

"Her quiet but penetrating choreography uses the music in unexpected ways...The final movement was stunning, as the women, formerly in white tunics, changed into black leotards and formed silhouetted lines as the movements rippled backwards and forwards through the group, a haunting and memorable picture of a community." 

                                 Dance View Times

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"My daughter lives for her LJD classes.

The joy on her face is contagious!"

LJD Mom Meg P. 

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