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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid