BalletX has just launched a new dance outreach program called Dance eXchange with Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia.
Dance eXchange uses dance to empower children with important life skills. In late February, members of the BalletX company and artistic staff, as well as select members of the Philadelphia dance community, received training in the methodology of the award-winning National Dance Institute(NDI),which emphasizes dance as a means of building self-confidence and transcending cultural, physical, and cognitive barriers.
BalletX will spend 11 weeks in March-May in residency at Andrew Jackson School, enriching students’ lives with dance while gaining valuable experience in professional dance education.
Below is the first in a series of monthly blog posts about Dance eXchange that we hope will offer you an inside look into this great program.
By: Megan O’Donnell, BalletX Administrative and Development Coordinator
It was 8:15 am this past Monday morning, and I was in a school gymnasium (for the first time in a long time), waiting for the entire 3rd grade of Andrew Jackson School to walk through the doors. This past week marked the beginning of BalletX’s new program with Jackson School, Dance eXchange. BalletX staff and dancers have been hard at work in the school and out of it, working with students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades and instructors from NYC’s wonderful National Dance Institute, creating the groundwork for an 11-week after-school residency at Jackson that starts March 4th.
It’s so amazing to see something that was once just an idea on paper be brought to life. A lot of time and effort goes into creating a program like Dance eXchange. I was nervous when the students first walked into the gym—would they like it? Would they have fun? Would all of the work that went into creating the program be worth it? But then the BalletX and NDI team got them dancing, and all of a sudden the kids were laughing, smiling, excited. And you really couldn’t help but smile with them, because to engage a child like this program does, to excite a young mind—there’s so much power in that, so much possibility. I can’t wait to see what these kids achieve through Dance eXchange.
Photo credit: Megan O’Donnell
Dance eXchange has been made possible by support from the 2013 Knight Arts Challenge, a program of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and PECO, lead corporate sponsor, as well as by additional grants from the Leo Model Foundation, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Zeldin Family Foundation, and the Virginia & Harvey Kimmel Arts Education Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation.