Every child deserves to experience the joy of dance. Through its signature arts-education program, Learning That Moves You, Ballet San Antonio is increasing access to the arts for youth from diverse backgrounds and limited financial means. Piloted in 2005 with funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Learning That Moves You has served approximately 35,000 youth.
Learning That Moves You outreach & arts education program takes a three-pronged approach to providing youth with enriching arts programming of the highest quality. Ballet San Antonio takes the arts to where the youth are – in the schools during the school day, and to the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio.
During the 2012-2013 season, Ballet San Antonio piloted a third aspect to Learning That Moves You: a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio, inviting children of the Calderon branch (west side location) to take a weekly ballet class, taught by our professional dancers, totally free of charge. In addition to learning the art of ballet, children are also taught ballet history and etiquette. Children are also invited to attend private dress rehearsals of Ballet San Antonio productions.
As part of Learning That Moves You, Ballet San Antonio hosts students and teachers for special youth performances in the theater. One-hour, abridged versions of a production include an overview by the Artistic Director, opportunities for discussion and a view of dancers’ warm-up. For many students, it is their first time to experience live performing arts or even set foot in a theater. Teachers have described students’ reactions as “spellbound,” “amazed,” and “in awe.”
Since 2010, with grant funding Ballet San Antonio has been able to provide low-income schools with free tickets to The Nutcracker youth performances, accompanied by the San Antonio Symphony. Free tickets have dramatically increased attendance of underserved students; for many Title I/low-income schools without discretionary funds, the discounted ticket price of $4.50 per child has been simply out of reach. This year, our Nutcracker youth performances surpassed our goals: we filled the theater with students and teachers, and were able to provide more than 500 free tickets to members of Title I/low-income schools
Ballet San Antonio’s in-school lecture/demonstrations take the arts directly into schools, with a focus on Title I/low-income campuses. This aspect of the program includes a background on dance, brief performance, facilitated dialogue between company dancers and students, learning of basic dance movements, and learning materials for teacher-student discussion.
Research shows how performing arts experiences benefit diverse K-12 youth; this is especially true for those with economic disadvantage. Accessible creative learning opportunities have proven effective in enhancing academic performance and inspiring youth from low-income backgrounds to achieve and succeed. The need for enriching arts education programs like Learning That Moves You continues to grow, and Ballet San Antonio seeks to meet those needs.
Current Learning That Moves You supporters include:
- The Catherine & Francis Burzik Foundation
- The Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation of 1992
- Rackspace, Rack Gives Back
- Department for Culture and Creative Development, City of San Antonio