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Oklahoma City Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School receives $10,000 grant for innovative program

Thanks to a sizeable grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Services for the Elderly iFund grant, The Golden Swans program at Oklahoma City Ballet will fund an additional class for the 2018-2019 schedule.

This grant will aid in funding additional Dance for Parkinson’s classes, training for instructors, and teacher’s salaries for both Senior Ballet and Dance for Parkinson’s classes.

Ballet and dance provide a multitude of benefits for people as they age. It is a gentle exercise that aids in helping people maintain their strength, flexibility, and balance. It also provides a great supportive and fun atmosphere for socialization. Students have expressed how taking the class has helped them bend over without pain, improved their mood, and helped them meet new friends.

Dance for Parkinson’s instructor, Erica Portell, has an important reason for her passion toward this outreach program.

“My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago,” said Portell.

“As I watched the disease progress, I longed for a way to use my skills to impact his life and others like him. It is nothing short of a miracle to watch the people in class literally transform in front of my eyes. They may enter shuffling and uncertain, but they all become graceful, fluid, filled with joy and confidence! It is beautiful to experience.”

One participant in the Dance for Parkinson’s class spoke out on the results of the class after her first visit.

“I have never seen people with Parkinson’s move that way!” the student said.

Other participants have expressed how they have made new friends, enjoyed the fun dance moves and the wonderful music, and how they have gained better balance through the class.

Classes will resume in September at the Susan E. Bracket Dance Center. Dance for Parkinson’s will have classes on Mondays from 11 am- Noon and Thursdays from 2-3 pm. Senior Ballet classes will be held on Wednesdays from 2-3 pm at the Susan E. Brackett Dance Center and on Tuesdays from 9:45-10:45 am at Epworth Villas. For more information and class times, please visit www.okcballet.orgor call our front office at (405) 848-9898.

Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works with donors to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future. An initiative of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustees, the iFund grant program utilizes gifts from donors to support services for children and elderly, as well as provide access to health care. To learn more about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, visit www.occf.org.

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