While not every child aspires to be a professional dancer, every child can reap the benefits inherent in dance – discipline, self-expression, problem solving, focus, physical fitness, and team building. In 2013, the Cincinnati Ballet taught these critical life skills to 1,061 third graders in 21 Cincinnati Public Schools through its CincyDance! Program, and will reach 1,300 kids in 31 schools this school year.

CincyDance! incorporates free, in-school dance classes taught by professional dance faculty over a six-week period in partnering schools. 75% of participating teachers observed improvements in student attention and engagement in academic classes, self-discipline, and work ethic. “Ballet is an art form but it’s also a vehicle to awaken a connection between body and mind. A student participating in ballet class is encouraged to stand with confidence - shoulders back and down, head up, eyes engaging with their teachers. Whether or not the student becomes the next Baryshnikov isn’t really the point. The goal of the program is to help youth enter each day with pride in themselves, standing tall, and ready to take on challenges.” – Julie Sunderland, Director of Education and Outreach at Cincinnati Ballet.

Several students from each school are then invited to attend classes, tuition-free, at Cincinnati Ballet studios for the next five months. Additionally, a small group of talented and interested students are awarded lifetime, full-tuition scholarships to train at Cincinnati Ballet’s Academy. Milton, age 15 (dancing with CincyDance! for seven years), says, “It’s a place where I can come when I’m feeling mad, I can come here and dance it out, or when I’m super energized, I can dance that out.”

ArtsWave is proud to support the work of Cincinnati Ballet in making an impact on the community.