Many people inquire about the styles of dance we offer, and the differences between them. We are here to help! Check out which style you’re curious about, as well as all of our different programs!


At KSD, we strive to instill self-confidence, self-esteem, discipline, creativity and poise in all of our students through the art of dance. Our staff is not only dedicated to teaching the highest quality of dance education, but also lessons of respect, support and camaraderie.

We do this by providing a fun, caring, and loving atmosphere in which each student may feel comfortable and excel at their own pace. Our staff loves what they do and it shows. We hope that every student learns to let the sheer love of dance shine through in everything that they do.


Thank you for your interest in Karen’s School of Dance (KSD).  KSD is home to more than 400 students and more than 75 nationally recognized award-winning competitive dancers.  We offer eight unique programs to fit the needs of each dancer.  Our three non-competitive programs are entitled Recreational, Star Babies, and Technique.  Our five competitive programs include Company, Crossover, Pre-Company, Sweethearts, and Competition.  Details for each program are summarized below.   KSD offers a variety of styles including jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, modern, lyrical, gymnastics, hip-hop and pre-dance.  Our ballet program is Vaganova based and classes are leveled by ability and experience.  For more information on any of our exciting programs please contact the studio at 248-887-1807 or


Technique classes focus on simply that: technique!  Dancers of any age, level, or ability can take a class in which they can work on their technique whether they want to audition for Company, to advance themselves, or just to learn a new style.  Dancers in Technique classes do not participate in the recital nor do they purchase a costume.  We offer Technique classes in the form of a solo, duet, trio and/or group setting. Currently we have many ballet, turns, leaps, stretching and conditioning classes available for all ages!


Crossover is a competitive group with fewer requirements than our full-time Company members.  Crossover members are chosen by audition and meet twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays.  During rehearsal time, dancers attend a ballet/lyrical, jazz, and tap class.  In each class, dancers practice technique and learn routines for the competition season.  Crossover members typically compete 3 routines including jazz, lyrical, and tap.  Crossover also attends 3-4 regional competitions per year as well as nationals.


Pre-Company is a competitive group, by audition only, designed for dancers who have been active in our Sweetheart or competitive classes.  It is a good transition from Sweethearts, where dancers learn one competitive routine, to our full-time Company dancers who learn 4-6 dances.  Pre-Company dancers attend a ballet/lyrical, jazz, and tap class on Monday nights.  Dancers learn technique and a routine for each class, competing regionally 3-4 times along with nationals.


In our recreational program dancers can take class to either get started as beginners, to try a brand-new style of dance, or to learn technique and choreography that is not at a competitive level.  We offer recreational classes for all ages and ability levels, so that anyone can feel comfortable joining a class.  Above all, the most important thing for these dancers is to learn while having fun!  All recreational students are invited to participate in exciting studio-wide activities such as Spirit Week or Bring a Friend to Dance Week.  Each recreational class performs a routine in our annual recital in June, performing in costume on stage!  Every other year, KSD puts on a holiday show in December, in which some recreational classes are invited to perform.


KSD is very proud of our unique Star Babies program for young dancers. This program provides excellent dance instruction while engaging our youngsters in the magical world that is childhood! In addition to exploring ballet, jazz and tap, Star Babies will enjoy monthly crafts, holiday themed activities and social events. This program will provide opportunities for not just dance instruction but creative play and socialization as well.


Our Sweetheart program is for the young dancer (ranging from ages 4-8).  Sweethearts are selected by “letter invitation” from the owner, Karen Kern.  Sweethearts practice once a week (on a weekday) usually in the style of jazz.  Dancers learn one routine and compete in 2-3 regional competitions.  Attending nationals is optional, and families are given the opportunity to vote if they would like to attend.  If enough of the class votes “yes” for nationals (the proper amount of students for each class is at the teacher’s discretion), then the class may attend.


What does it mean to be a KSD Company Dancer?
What Is Company?
Dancers who belong to the KSD Company are more than just teammates… they’re family! Dancers age 6-18 come together to learn, rehearse, compete, and bond through the art of dance. Company has over 80 members and counting, as there is never a limit! Dancers who join Company at KSD should expect to rehearse at least twice a week, compete at least five times a year, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Company members are decided by annual auditions, in which dancers are evaluated on technique and stage presence. Joining Company at KSD is definitely a commitment however our dancers agree that it is one worth making! While Company is home to our most advanced dancers at KSD, there are multiple levels in which to be placed. Levels of Company are decided by both ability and age.

Who Should Join?
Company is a competitive program, so dancers should have some experience competing. Dancers in company are expected to work hard while having fun! A good attitude and work ethic are extremely beneficial for a dancer’s success. Dancers in company will focus heavily on a variety of styles including jazz, ballet, tap, and lyrical. Dancers will also experience several other styles in Company such as hip-hop, musical theater, contemporary, modern, and gymnastics. It is our goal to produce well-rounded dancers who can take on any style of dance with ease! Don’t worry if you haven’t trained in some of the previously mentioned styles (i.e. tap, hip-hop), our staff will work hard to get everyone on the same page.

How to Join…
Each summer we hold auditions! Information on the specific date and time, will be given out a few weeks prior to the audition date, please let your teacher(s) know you are interested. That way they can provide important information and help you with anything you may need. If you are new to KSD please contact us at We’ll gladly give you a studio tour and have you meet our staff so you can feel comfortable here! We’d like to get to know you before auditions to further enhance your experience. if you are a new student you will need to be evaluated before trying out.

Levels of Company
Auditions for Company are held each year, and upon making it members are placed into one of three rehearsal Divisions. Although each Division rehearses technique together, the Divisions do not necessarily define the competitive routines that dancers are placed in. Company members meet twice a week for rehearsals on Wednesdays and Fridays. Members are also required to take an additional weekly jazz and/or ballet class, dependent upon which Division a dancer is placed. Company members learn 4-6 dances that compete, some choreographed by KSD staff and some by outside choreographers from across the country.

Crossover and Pre-Company
These are divisions of Company in which dancers are less committed and in a more developmental technical stage. Crossover dancers are of a comparatively higher age bracket, while Pre-Company is ordinarily of a younger age bracket. These divisions may meet up to two times a week for rehearsal (not including any outside classes) and attend all competitions. Crossover and Pre-Company are a good way to transition into company in the future. Dancers should focus on technique similar to that in the divisions above, as well as stage presence and energy.


Competition classes consist of dancers who are ready to compete, but do not wish to make as much of a commitment as dancers in Company, Crossover, or Pre-Company.  Dancers wishing to join Competition classes must either be recommended by KSD staff and/or approved by Karen.  Dancers may take multiple competition classes in different styles (i.e., lyrical and tap, or any combination of styles).  Dancers who are new to Competition have the option after their first year to continue taking competition classes, or to audition for Company, Crossover, or Pre-Company.  We offer Competition classes for all ages and ability levels, so that dancers may continuously choose this program once they have started.  Classes meet once a week and compete in 2-3 regional competitions.  Attending nationals is optional, and families are given the opportunity to vote if they would like to attend.  If enough of the class votes “yes” for nationals (the proper amount of students for each class is at the teacher’s discretion), then the class may attend.


Jazz is the most popular style offered at KSD. Many brand new students begin with jazz, which can be associated with many different styles and subcategories. To sum it up, basic jazz at KSD combines technical skill with upbeat and fun choreography. Dancers usually perform to pop music with a quick tempo. Dancers work on technical skills such as battements, turns, extensions, and leaps, and incorporate them into their routine. As dancers progress, jazz routines can become more stylized and/or themed.


Ballet is quite often considered the foundation for most other styles of dance. Ballet is a poised, technique-based style that involves concentration and strength. Beginning ballet will focus on learning positions and basic ballet technique including barre work as well as work in center and across the floor. As dancers advance, they may (with permission) go on pointe, or “on toe”. This takes several years of preparation and strength training. At KSD we teach the Russian style Vaganova method, in which dancers are placed into one of six levels. For younger dancers who are interested we offer a pre-ballet class to get dancers started with basic ballet.


Lyrical is a style that is usually learned once a dancer has taken classes in ballet and/or jazz. Lyrical combines technique that is learned in both jazz and ballet, while incorporating unique and graceful choreography to lyrical music. Music for lyrical is usually slower and softer; ballads are often used. Lyrical dance should tell a story and “paint a picture” through dance. Lyrical is similar to jazz, as lyrical choreography becomes more stylized and unique as dancers progress.


Tap is a style that is rather different from many other styles, as dancers must be aware of both the sight and sound of their movement. Dancers wear tap shoes with two pieces of metal on the soles and work to hit rhythmic patterns as well as steps that are intriguing to watch. Dancers focus on staying in unison (within group dances), timing, and clarity of sound. At KSD a range of tap styles are taught including Broadway/Musical Theater tap and Street/Rhythmic tap.


Hip Hop is a funky style and is usually a favorite of those who are new to dance. It contains elements of jazz but is more about movements such as popping, locking, isolating, and breaking. Choreography for hip hop has elements of funk and the music used is usually upbeat. Dancers learn how to move in a controlled, yet loose style of dance. At KSD, the music used for hip hop routines is typically current and always fun!


Contemporary is a compilation of many styles; the routine may be influenced by lyrical, modern, jazz, ballet, or any combination of styles. Contemporary is expressive and allows dancers to “think outside the box”. Contemporary is a newly popular style of dance that focuses on creative choreography and movement while incorporating technical elements.


Musical Theater is usually performed once dancers have learned at least basic jazz and/or ballet. Musical Theater routines include music from either Broadway musicals or from popular film. This style combines technique learned in jazz and ballet with acting (without words). Dancers lip sync to the music and take on the role of a specific character. Showmanship and overall performance are the focus of this style.


Gymnastics offered at KSD consists mainly of tumbling. Dancers will learn to properly stretch and prepare to do a variety of acrobatic tricks and balances. Dancers use mats for safety and the instructor will spot students as often as is needed. The tricks learned in gymnastics at KSD are learned primarily for display in routines of other styles such as jazz or lyrical. Dancers training in gymnastics focus on flexibility, strength, and balance.


Scroll to Top