“We caught up with Ms. Robbins and her pupils at one of the annual year-end recital programs she produces at DTW….the only similatirites we could see among the numbers – apart from the fact that it was a program of solos and trios – were that every child seemed to be performing freely, as herself, and that every child had taken on the task of shaping a real construction called a dance. Since we rarely find both these elements conjoined in the adult performances we attend, …we asked Ms. Robbins how she did it. She described an intensely monitored, yearlong process of improvisation, whose point is to give each child an emotional control over the dance he or she performs. From that, Ms. Robbins believes, come initiative, curiosity, appreciation of artistic structure, and an appetite for responsibility. Ms. Robbins said, ‘to me, when the dance is not separate from the dancer…that’s real dancing.’”


“‘She (Ellen Robbins) was without exaggeration at all, the best dance teacher I’ve ever had,” says (actress) Julia Stiles. “She makes you really open and uninhibited and taught me to express certain emotions physically. I owe a lot of my acting ability. to her.’”


“As we watched the 15 solos…my girls were continuously delighted and I was duly impressed. These weren’t just cute dance students; they were young modern dancers using their bodies and their unique voices, to communicate joy, malice, love, silliness, pride, conflict, and much more. We were all inspired by the individual accomplishments, and by the show as a whole, and we left intent on returning for more.”


“…DTW’s resident dance educator, Ellen Robbins…produced a marvelously spirited program simply titled dances By Very Young Choreographers. There was nothing simple however in the conception, execution, or stagin go f the dances choreographed by young male and female terpsichorean talents…The creativity…charmed us all. This was theater dance to perfection…jubilant and long sustaining applause. Bravo, indeed!”