There are few experiences more thrilling to a small child than attending their first ballet. The elegant dancers, dramatic costumes, and soaring music inspire children to imagine worlds outside of their own and fill them with new hopes and dreams. Oakland Ballet Company (OBC) has long understood the positive impact that the arts can have on children and passionately pursues this goal through its Discover Dance educational program.
Every year, dancers from OBC visit schools throughout the East Bay to perform excerpts from upcoming ballets. A team of four dancers perform excerpts from upcoming performances, offer a short lesson on the history of ballet, and tell the students about what daily life is like as a professional dancer – such as their training regimen, diet, and how they maintain a healthy lifestyle. The dancers then engage the assembly of children in a live demonstration where volunteers from the audience collectively choreograph a dance on the spot.
The Discover Dance program started in 2010 and was the idea of Artistic Director Graham Lustig. When it began, the program revolved exclusively around The Nutcracker and brought the art of dance to approximately 5,000 children in Oakland Unified School District. Today, Discover Dance programming is currently offered in relation to the company’s Luna Mexicana, Nutcracker, and spring repertory seasons, and more than 15,000 students throughout eight East Bay school districts are exposed to the art of dance through in school assemblies and in theater student matinees each year.
Principals and teachers are delighted with the program, recognizing that the performances are often their students’ first exposure to ballet (or dance of any kind). OBC will continue to share this inspiring program with area schools in the years to come. In fact, the dancers are currently preparing to deliver Luna Mexicana and Nutcracker Discover Dance programs throughout the East Bay beginning October 18 through December 22!
To expose your little one to the magical world of ballet, purchase your tickets to on of OBC’s upcoming performances Luna Mexicana and Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker. If you’d like to learn more about the Discover Dance program, call 510-893-3132 or visit OBC’s website.