Community Outreach through Dance Immersion
Taking Ballet to Students through Dance Immersion
This community outreach program was created in response to the expressed need for arts education in the public schools. Students are able to experience the joy of dancing in a positive, supportive, and educational environment. Through classes and performances, students are able to be immersed in dance and gain a greater appreciation for art.
In the fall of 2010, Grand Rapids Ballet began it’s Dance Immersion Program at Coit Creative Arts Academy. Since then the program has blossomed to serve over 2,000 students annually from Grand Rapids and Forest Hills public schools. Each classroom receives four 30-minute classes at their school as part of their regular school day. The program is supplemented through cross curricular activities and active teacher involvement. The benefits are three fold: physical, intellectual, and emotional. Students and teachers are surprised to see how the children’s gross motor skills, coordination, flexibility and strength improve in four weeks. Students benefit tremendously from cross curricular activities (Dancing out the book they are reading in class, using math to make a dance combination or making the connection between gravity and dance movements). Perhaps most importantly students are instilled with a sense of pride and confidence. Students learn to work together as a class and create a supportive environment for learning. In addition to the classes at their school, students attend at least one performance by the Grand Rapids Ballet either at their school or at DeVos Performance Hall. Each year, five students from each school are awarded 100% scholarships to continue their dance education at the Grand Rapids Ballet School.