Kansas City Ballet Completes First Year of New ROAD Scholarship Program 

R.O.A.D. Scholars taking class. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
R.O.A.D. Scholars taking class. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

Since 2000 Kansas City Ballet has provided an educational outreach program called Reach Out And Dance (R.O.A.D.) to elementary students using movement to enhance learning. The program has grown to become the centerpiece of KCB’s Community Engagement and Education.

WHAT IS R.O.A.D.?

Each week R.O.A.D. provides movement classes to hundreds of 3rd and 4th grade students in Missouri and Kansas elementary schools introducing children to the fundamentals of dance and integrating 21st century learning skills and curriculum. The program provides under-served and at-risk youth with a different learning paradigm through which they can experience success, develop self-discipline, and strive for personal excellence within and outside the school environment, all of which is demonstrated by post-program survey assessments.

THE R.O.A.D. SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

R.O.A.D. Scholars performance at the Bolender Center. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
R.O.A.D. Scholars performance at the Bolender Center. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

This year brought the introduction of the R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program. Its goal is to enhance cultural awareness, foster creativity, strengthen critical thinking and problem solving skills, expose students to potential careers in dance, and to cultivate an appreciation for the art form.

The first phase of the program began in September 2017. Teaching artists impart different movement styles to students weekly and gauge their interest and ability. In the second phase, select students enter a tuition-free Dance Discovery program at Kansas City Ballet School from January  through April. Transportation to and from KCBS, Ballet Fundamentals class plus Modern and Jazz classes, and necessary dance attire is provided at no cost to the student’s family. The third phase is planned for summer when these same students will be provided tuition-free summer classes at KCBS.

“We are so excited to offer this new comprehensive program that will create a broader reach and make dance even more accessible to students who might not have had the opportunity to participate in this way before,” KCB Community Engagement and Education Manager April Berry said. “Our research shows this program not only helps students with their school curriculum, like geography, math and social studies, but it leaves many with a boost in confidence to help them succeed. Principals and teachers have raved about the effects of this new program and we are thrilled to have  80+ students who have completed their fist year of the program. R.O.A.D. Scholars will attend KCB’s Peter Pan performance this weekend as part of the program.”

A DONOR WITH HEART

Dance Shoppe Owner Susan Bibbs. Photography by Andrea Wilson.
Dance Shoppe Owner Susan Bibbs. Photography by Andrea Wilson.

For more than 32 years, Dance Shoppe, Inc. has served as the number one supplier of dance wear in Kansas City, Mo. Opened in 1985, they have always stayed true to their commitment to high quality dance apparel and, because of this, they have had the distinct honor of serving dancers throughout their careers.

This season Susan Bibbs, Owner of Dance Shoppe, donated all of the dance wear for KCB’s new R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program.

Maybe it’s because she grew up in a small town in Western Kansas where community is second nature, where people help one another however they can.  Or, maybe it’s from all the support that Bibbs and her business have received throughout the last three decades. Now she feels it’s her time to ‘Pay It Forward’.  She is thankful she is in a position where she can give back and make a difference.

R.O.A.D. Scholarship students in ballet attire courtesy of Dance Shoppe. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
R.O.A.D. Scholarship students in ballet attire courtesy of Dance Shoppe. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

“The right outfit is everything…  Like a baseball player needs a glove, so does a dancer need the proper dance attire. Not just for ease and freedom in movement that dance wear provides but for the total picture, it’s the completion, a mind-set,” Bibbs said. “After all these years, it still amazes me to see the excitement on the faces of kids when they get their first pair of dance shoes.”

Bibbs was excited to offer assistance to the program. “I feel our part is simple compared to what all is entailed in the organization of this project.  The coordination of the students, the schools, the transportation, etc. is mind boggling,” she said.

April Berry couldn’t be happier to be part of this partnership: “A generous gift of this nature is invaluable to our ROAD scholarship program. Providing these deserving and talented children with these outfits not only serves them physically but helps improve self-esteem by showing they belong and that their community cares about them.”

Dance-A-Story Program Introduces Kids to Ballet

April Berry leading a Dance-A-Story event.
April Berry leading a Dance-A-Story event.

Introduced in the 2016-17 season, Dance-A-Story is a 45-minute workshop for Pre-K and Early Elementary school kids that brings children’s stories to life through creative movement, music, and a costume show and tell. The workshop works to enhance early childhood education in part by focusing on literacy, vocabulary, and cooperative learning skills.

A Kansas City Ballet Community Education Program Teaching Artist leads the workshop—which may be held at local libraries and Pre-K schools during story hours. This educational program is a fun way to introduce even the littlest members of the community to ballet.

“Our Dance-A-Stories provide opportunities for very young children in and around the metro area to experience classic stories and fairy tales in a truly unique way,” says Community Engagement and Education Manager April Berry. “By bringing the magic of movement, music, and costumes/props from the company’s story ballets to community venues, this fun, interactive program provides another avenue to enhance literacy.”

Two Workshops This Season

This year the boys and girls participating will learn about The Nutcracker (available in November/December) and new Peter Pan ballet coming this spring (available in April/May 2018).

For many young children, it may be their first experience with ballet and has potential to spark an interest that is experienced with family members and teachers.

Interested in attending a Dance-A-Story?

Speak to your local library or school about scheduling an event. They can contact April Berry for more info: 816.216.5583 or aberry@kcballet.org.

 


You’re invited:

The Nutcracker Dance-A-Story will be held at the Plaza Library in Kansas City, Mo., as part of Family Fun Night, on Friday, Dec. 8th at 6:30 p.m.

 

 

The Sleeping Beauty Dance-A-Story

On March 21st more than 30 children attended The Sleeping Beauty Dance-A-Story program at the Westport Library.

Dance-A-Story is a 45-minute workshop appropriate for Pre-K and early elementary school students, bringing stories to life through creative movement, music, and a costume show and tell. Kansas City Ballet’s Community Engagement and Education Program Teaching Artist Amelia Virtue led the workshop.

These educational events are a fun way to introduce even the littlest members of the community to ballet.

“Our Dance-A-Stories provide opportunities for very young children in and around the metro area to experience classic stories and fairy tales in a truly unique way,” says Community Engagement and Education Manager April Berry. “By bringing the magic of movement, music, and costumes/props from story ballets to community venues, this fun, interactive program provides another avenue to enhance literacy.”

Event Summary

Children enjoyed listening to The Sleeping Beauty ballet story and seeing costumes and examples of character’s props. [see top photo]

Then Ms. Virtue turned on some music and led the children to try pantomime to tell the story with succinct movements. Below she demonstrated when Princess Aurora fell asleep.

The boys and girls were even given a chance to try on the crowns worn by Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré.

For many of these children, this was their first experience with the art of ballet. But hopefully not their last!

Photography by Andrea Wilson.

The Gift of Ballet

During our Nutcracker season we asked many of you to donate to our Holiday Magic Campaign, which sent children from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City and their families to The Nutcracker. 

Thanks to your generous gifts, more than 225 local children were able to attend The Nutcracker! The children enjoyed the performances so much that they created artwork as a special “thank you.” We couldn’t resist sharing. Without you, this kind of inspiration would not be possible.

Kansas City Ballet is thankful to all of those who gave the gift of The Nutcracker to these local children.

 

Dancer for a Day 2014

Last week, we had about 25 first through third graders at the Bolender Center for our annual Dancer for a Day. They were able to learn about dance and take classes from KCB School Instructor Ms. Skyler as well as Outreach Director Linda Martin.

The kids also had the opportunity to watch the KCB Company Dancers during class and visited the costume shop in our building. They had a ton of fun making music, creating dance, and making new friends! Check out the photos below from the exciting day:

 

2013 Dancer for a Day

Last week, children around the KC area in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade spent the day here at the Bolender Center participating in this year’s Dancer for a Day. Part of our outreach and education program, this event is a great way to encourage participation in the arts. It’s also a fun and educational showcase of what it’s like being a dancer here at Kansas City Ballet!

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When the children arrived, they began their day with a dance class taught by one of our KCB School Instructors, Miss Tess. Following this fun activity, they were able to watch the company dancers while they were taking their morning technique class.

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They also took a trip down to our basement where our all of our production offices are located. They were able to view hundreds of costumes, along with our ‘shoe room’ and costume shop.

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The children even had the chance to hold a pointe shoe and learn more about these essential and important pieces of equipment for dancers.

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It was an exciting day filled with fun and educational activities – and everyone left the building with a smile on their face!

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To view more photos from this event, you can check out the photo gallery below!