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"Miss Joy,

Thank you for being such a powerful teacher and example for our daughter!"

"Miss Angela, thank you for making tumbling fun and for stealing the show!"

"This studio is just different: fun, friendly, professional, and always doing something!  Thank you for making the parades so fun!"

"We love Michelle!  Thank you for always being there in the office and for being so friendly."

"Ms. Joy and Mr. B are so friendly to everyone. Ms. Joy is really good with the little ones." ~ T.H.

"We love the instructors.  They are all so nice and good with the kids."  ~C.S.

"Your studio is just different.  Thank you for making dance fun again and for having such incredible teachers!"


Founded upon the premise of making dance fun for all ages, our studio doors opened seventeen years ago, under the name of Terrific Time Dance Studio.  Now, we are excited to serve you as Amherst Dance Academy!  A new name, but our foundation is the same.  We believe that dance is not just about competition, stage performance, and technique.  Dance is more powerful than that.  Don't get us wrong, though, we support and participate in competitions, performances, and dance recitals; and much of our class time is spent learning correct technique.  However, our main focus is making sure that the dancers learn to love dancing!  That means creating an environment that is positive and energetic.  We believe that each dancer should be given the opportunity to achieve something incredible, and this becomes possible when the environment reflects that the sky is the limit!


At Amherst Dance Academy, our goal is to provide dance education, miscellaneous dancewear, and personal growth opportunities at a competitive and affordable price.  We take pride in being able to offer our dancers more than what they would find at other studios.  We also take very seriously the environment and education your dancer receives.  Our goal is to provide a challenging, positive, and fun environment that is influential in the lives of our dancers as we teach and build in your dancer proper dance technique, respect, discipline, and self-esteem.  We believe even difficult things can be achieved when the bar is set high and and the door of opportunity is left wide open for the dancer to walk through it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ballet Syllabus?

(click here to view/print syllabus information)

Why use a syllabus?

  • Any class, whether it’s an elementary class, high school class, college class, or beyond, continues to be taught by a syllabus. Likewise, all over the world, ballet is taught with a syllabus. A syllabus will keep dancers on track, they will always be building on what they have mastered—no matter who the teacher is.

What made you choose this syllabus?

  • We've been researching, and not only is this a quality syllabus, deriving its technique from RAD (Royal Academy of Dance), Cecchetti, and ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing), but it is also based on encouragement, building confidence, and accepting of all body types. 

How will I know when my child has mastered their material and is ready to move to the next level?

  • Every year, exams will take place in the studio and will be available to students that are ready to take the exam (instructor recommended). The purpose of these yearly exams is to give both students and parents a common goal to work towards. It is through these examinations that these goals are fulfilled, and the achievements become a source of inspiration. 

Excitement for ballet exams?

  • Ballet exams will prove to be a highlight of each dancer’s year! Many of you know that Ms. Joy was able to visit a dance studio in Houston, TX. When she was there, the students were busy preparing for their exams which were only a couple of weeks away. I saw so much excitement in the girls - one girl was jumping up and down, as she said, “I can’t WAIT for exams!” 

When and where are ballet exams?

  • In the late winter/early spring, Amherst Dance Academy will be hosting ballet exams.  Not all dancers will take the exam each year as grade levels sometimes take 1-2 years and sometimes 3 years to complete.  Younger dancers will typically take the exam to introduce them to the exam, encourage them, and point out strengths and areas of ballet in which they have mastered a technique very well.  As dancers progress into grades 2, 3, and above, taking the exam each year is possible but not expected.  Instructors will recommend the exam for dancers that are ready to make sure it is a positive experience.

How do the exams work?

  • Beginners, only when they are ready (usually age 5-6), are examined in a full group with their teacher leading the class. All other grades are examined with 2 or 3 students at a time. Examinees receive one grade for technique and one for expression and artistry. Each student receives a certificate and a written report from the examiner.

What do students wear for exams?

  • Exams are classical and formal occasions. Students take special care to prepare every detail of the physical presentation. Hair must be in classical bun with no bangs, black leotard with tank top, no skirts unless pre-arranged, pink tights, usually ribbons on clean, well-fitted pink practice shoes.

What are pre-exam classes?

  • These classes are above and beyond their regular ballet class. They gives each student the opportunity to achieve their personal best. On average, a 70% improvement takes place during this preparation time.

Are there still going to be parent observations?

  • This year, all classes will be taught in the largest studio. Because of that, parents will be able to watch each and every class through the observation window. We will still invite the parent’s into class two times throughout the year. A parent is also invited (and encouraged) to attend the pre-exam classes. She can then take notes for her dancer to aid in practice time at home.

Where are the combination classes?

  • We continue to offer a combination class for 4-5 year olds, but at a longer length of 1.25 hours: 45minutes (instead of 30 min) of ballet, and 30min of tap. When a dancer’s age requires an hour of ballet and 45minutes of tap, these classes will now be offered separately.

Why do some classes meet 2x/week?

  • Usually, by about age 10, dancers have learned many foundational steps. Dancing two times per week, gives these students more adequate time to not only master the skills they are learning, but continue to learn and eventually master new steps and combinations.

Do we still register 2x/ year?

  • Registration is now done per dancer per year. You will no longer need to pay a registration fee to begin dance classes again in January.

What if my child cannot continue dancing in the spring semester?

  • A 30-day written notice is required if you wish to change or drop your class.

Is there a new dress code for regular class?

  • Students enrolled in the red or pink class, still have a colored leotard for their class dress code. All the other ballet classes will be participating in exams, so to help you out financially, class dress code will be the same as for exams. You won’t have to purchase anything additional for exams. Ballet class: Black, tank-style leotard; pink ballet tights, pink ballet shoes. Tap, Hip-hop, Lyrical, and Tumbling class: Leotard and tights - no specific color! Dance shorts and dance capris are acceptable over a leotard. No T-shirts/sweatshirts.

How do I register?

  • Online registration is available by clicking on the registration link on the vertical menu bar towards your left or by going to the top menu bar under the classes menu. This online registration will allow you to send in your information and make a class request. Once we receive your registration fee via phone, mail, or in person, we can complete the registration process. You may also attend an open house and request to be placed on a mailing list to receive information in the mail.

Where can I find dance supplies that I will need?

  • We carry a full line of shoes, leotards, tights, dance bags, and everything else you might need for dance class. We are not a retail store, so we do not charge as much as normal dance store. You will find that our items are 30%-50% below average retail prices. The brand names and quality is the same, so we encourage our customers to get what they need through us, even if we have to order it for them. Back to

Do you offer discounts?

  • Yes, we do offer discounts. In a family with multiple dancers, the first registration fee is $45. All the other children in that family will be able to register for $20/each. Also, the tuition is discounted for families. First child is regular tuition rate. Second child will receive 10% off tuition. Third and successive children will receive 20% off their tuition. Another discount that is available for everyone regardless of the amount of children in your family is the payment discount depending on the tuition cycle you choose.

Who is the owner?

  • Miss Joy Buendorf is the current owner of Amherst Dance Academy, which was founded by Miss Terri Layne in 1991. Miss Terri founded the studio and named it "Terrific Time Dance Studio" and then sold the business over to Miss Joy during the summer of 2006. Miss Joy and her husband Jason manage the studio together as they manage the customers, the instructors, and the performances. Miss Joy loves dance and loves working with people that want to have fun dancing. She has danced since she was three years old, competed at the state and national levels, and has been an instructor for over ten years. Back to Top

What is included when I enroll my dancer?

  • Nine months of dance classes that meet once a week, one free ticket to the Christmas recital and to the Spring recital, one dvd of each show, one costume rental for the Christmas show, and pre-enrollment privileges for the summer programs and for the following dance season.  Please note that the Spring show does require dancers to purchase their costumes at $50/each.

What is the preferred choice of dance music?

  • We use all type of genres including but not limited to: classical, rap, rock, pop, jazz, holiday, gospel, country, etc...We really no limit as to the type of genre we choose; however what we do choose is morally and ethically proper and encouraging for all ages to hear. This includes a wide variety of Christian music, "classics", oldies, soundtracks, and just good, fun songs that are not degrading in any way.

When is the best time to speak with an instructor?

  • Any quick conversations can be held before of after class, but if you would like more than just a minute or two, you may call or write an e-mail to speak with an instructor directly, or you may make an appointment.

When is an adult class offered?

  • Adult classes are usually offered on Saturdays depending on level of interest.

When is tuition due?

  • Tuition is posted on the 1st of each month and it is due by the 10th of each month.

Should my dancer cover their dance clothes before and after class?

  • Yes. Leotards and tights and other dance clothes should be covered with street clothes ie: shorts, pants, t-shirt, jacket, whenever you are leaving or arriving at the dance studio.

How long does each class last?  

  • Classes range in length. The younger students have classes that usually meet for 45 minutes. Some classes will last for 55 minutes and others might last 1 1/2 - 2 hours depending on the class and the age of the dancer.

May I watch my dancer’s class?  

  • We do have an observation window in one of our three studios. If your child’s class is in a studio with no observation window, you’ll still have a chance to see what class is like at different stages when our instructors invite you to come in towards the end of a class. We do not have set parent observation weeks anymore. Instead, the instructors will invite you in more often towards the end to see what the dancers have been working on.

What are your policies regarding holidays and snow?

  •  ADA follows the same schedule as Amherst County Public School for spring break. We do have class on Monday holidays, teacher workdays, and early release days. We do not cancel classes based on the school’s cancellations. Many times, the weather conditions improve throughout the day and are fine by the time classes would begin. To find out if your class is cancelled, you have the following options: call the studio at 946-7340 by 1:00pm; check by 1:00pm; or check In the event of a class cancellation, we will schedule a make-up class.

Where is recital?  

  • Typically, Sweet Briar College—Babcock Auditorium. Sometimes we will use other locations if we are unable to reserve the auditorium at Sweet Briar.

Do you sell water?  

  • Yes, we do. We not only have a water fountain, but we also have refrigerated water bottles available for $0.75 each. You are also welcome to bring your own water, but it needs to remain OUT of the studio. Only instructors may bring water into the studios.

How do I make a payment?  

  • We accept cash, check, MC, Visa, and Discover credit/debit cards; the option to enroll in an automatic payment service at no extra cost to you is available. You may pay at the desk inside, and if someone is not available to take your payment, you may leave your payment on the desk. If you would like to leave a payment outside of regular studio hours, you may now leave it in the secure, weather-protected drop box on the exterior of the building. It is located to your right as you walk up the brick steps. You may also mail your payment to PO BOX 897, Amherst, VA 24521. For your convenience, we also take payments over the phone.