News / USA

    Nashville Ballet Troupe Dances Into Local Schools

    Outreach performances inspire and educate

    Brandon Sears and Lindsey Pitts of the Nashville Ballet work with children during an outreach performance.
    Brandon Sears and Lindsey Pitts of the Nashville Ballet work with children during an outreach performance.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Mike Osborne

    In the United States, ballet doesn't draw large audiences. Even in the nation’s largest cities, ballet troupes often struggle to survive. So many of them make reaching out to the wider public a top priority.

    Reaching out

    That's the case with the Nashville Ballet, which conducts about 150 traveling performances each year.

    The Nashville Ballet's Leigh Anne Strickland doesn't need to pump up her audience. The children of Glengarry Elementary School are already excited to see a ballet performed in their school gymnasium.

    "Nashville Ballet's mission is to create, perform, teach and promote dance," says Strickland, who coordinates outreach for the ballet. "So a huge part, component of that mission, is to bring the ballets and the dancers out of the studio environment to expose more people to the art form of ballet."

    Learning process


    The ballet coordinates these performances with State of Tennessee student requirements. So part of Strickland's job is to find connections between a ballet performance and what the children are learning in history, literature, math and science.

    The Nashville Ballet’s Outreach and Community Engagement program reaches 42,000 children annually, through dance performances and interactive activities.
    The Nashville Ballet’s Outreach and Community Engagement program reaches 42,000 children annually, through dance performances and interactive activities.

    Even the company's portable stage backdrops find a place in the curriculum.

    "A lot of the teachers like the fact that our drops incorporate a pulley system," Strickland says. "So in their science classes, when they're talking about simple machines, all the kids and teachers want to come up and see the pulley system that helps the drops go up and down."

    Strickland also uses dance to meet the requirements for physical activity each school day. During the performance, she has the kids up and dancing before they even realize what they're doing.

    Today, the troupe performs a ballet called "Borreguita and the Coyote." It's a Spanish folk tale about a quick-witted lamb who outsmarts a hungry coyote. Once the dancers demonstrate some of the movements, the students appreciate the skills involved.

    "They use a lot of tippy-toes and they run and chase themselves," says Dana.  

    "The jumping, the jumping. I never jumped that high before," Emmanuel says.

    Unique opportunity

    Glengarry Elementary School is in a neighborhood with a large immigrant population. According to school officials, Arabic is the first language of most of the students.

    The Nashville Ballet conducts about 150 traveling performances - such as Anne Frank (pictured here) - for students across Tennessee each year.
    The Nashville Ballet conducts about 150 traveling performances - such as Anne Frank (pictured here) - for students across Tennessee each year.

    "For some of them, this is the only time that they'll ever experience the ballet. Their parents would not take them…could not afford to take them to see a ballet," says music teacher Donna Taylor. "The kids get an excitement about that and hopefully, in the future then, they'll make that more of priority, when they have families, to experience that kind of thing with their own children."

    And Taylor says there are other advantages to having the ballet come to the school.

    "They relate so much more, one-on-one, to a real person being there that they can see and ask questions to."

    And some of these students could some day become ballet dancers. Troupe member Sarah Cordia remembers seeing ballet outreaches when she was a student.

    "So it was really cool to see, you know, older dancers come to school and perform and do what I was working towards," says Cordia.

    The Nashville Ballet charges some schools for these performances. But for Glengarry Elementary, the program is underwritten by government grants and private donations.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora