Sunday, August 12, 2001

New York dance camp's closing ends an era

By Carol Norris
Enquirer contributor

        Anneliese Von Oettingen is putting her summer ballet camp in Eagle Bay, N.Y., up for sale. The final ballet class in this Adirondack mountain retreat was Saturday.

        This marks the end of an era, when scores of young Tristate girls trekked to the mountains to learn manners at the dinner table along with ballet at the barre.

[photo] Anneliese Von Oettingen instructing a class at Oettingen school of ballet.
(Enquirer file photo)
| ZOOM |
        The camp was designed for the whole person, emphasizing the grace and beauty of ballet while developing the same in character. The “Honor Girl Spirit,” a pledge to optimism, earnestness, kindness and other worthwhile endeavors, was as much a part of things as pirouettes.

        Since 1973 Ms. Von Oettingen has owned and operated this summer ballet haven.

        “I don't focus on the negative,” she says, “I live in the present. But I will be 85 next January and if I got ill ... ”

        Ms. Von Oettingen still intends to teach occasionally at the local studios that bear her name, one in Cheviot and the other on Eastern Avenue — and a studio in Tennessee that she visits on the annual drive from her Florida home to Cincinnati.

        But camp days are over, and with them Ms. Von Oettingen's personal touch.

        Sometimes she'd cook the meals or canoe and swim in the cold mountain waters with the dancers. Lately, moms would go along and stay the week with their daughters.

        Ms. Von Oettingen is hoping maybe a large family will buy the camp. She worries that another dance group might not respect the locals by being too rowdy or intrusive.

        The mountain quiet was always respected, as campers were requested to leave radios and CD players at home.


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