Oklahoma City Ballet works with several Oklahoma A+ and Title I schools in Oklahoma City to provide a unique arts educational experience. We offer fully accredited ballet classes five days a week for an entire year to elementary and high school students at no cost to the schools, teachers, or parents. For many students participating in K-12 BalletReach, this is the only arts education they will receive during their primary and secondary education.
K-12 BalletReach uses a curriculum developed by the Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet that encompasses both ballet technique and academics. Oklahoma City Ballet provides all of the materials required for the course, including shoes, books, yoga mats, therabands, music, and costumes. All students in the class are beginners and meet during a normal class period. Younger students are exposed to ballet positions, basic technique, key terminology, and movement. In addition, high schools students learn about ballet history and styles, music appreciation, theater terms, body strength and conditioning. After every semester, schools present an end-of-term performance for teachers, parents, and community members, with choreography and costumes created by OKC Ballet professionals.
For more information about BalletReach, contact program coordinator Stephanie Pitts. BalletReach instructors include Erica Portell, James Williams, Cassandria Mills, and Terra Spaulding.
Schools currently participating include Arbor Grove Elementary, Britton Elementary, the Chickasaw Nation Child Development Center, Crutcho Elementary, Harding Fine Arts Academy, Santa Fe South Elementary, Wheeler Elementary, and John Rex Charter Elementary School.
Students who have participated in K-12 BalletReach say the following:
- “I feel a greater passion for ballet knowing what I learned in the class.”
- “Dance has influenced me by giving me something to work hard for.”
- “It helps me focus better throughout the day.”
- “It’s taught me dedication.”
- “BalletReach has taught me about discipline.”
- “It’s influenced me in my academic classroom by allowing myself to strive to become better.”
- “It’s made me more competitive and has shown me how much hard work pays off.”
- “It was a lot of fun.”
- “It has taught me to never give up.”
- “It helps to calm me down.”
“The students have been excited to have ballet offered at Harding Fine Arts Academy. I’ve seen most of the students grow in self confidence as they have increased their skills in the class. They take pride in their achievements and in their performance. Mr. Williams has done a great job adapting to the various skill levels in the class. The last performance demonstrated the clever way he was able to work with all the dancers.”
– Dr. Sherry Rowen, Principal of Harding Fine Arts Academy
“Awesome! They learned so much from the program. Students got along better with one another, they started waiting their turns more, were more polite with one another, and stepped out of the box more in ways they never thought they could – inspired lots of creativity. The ending performances brought the community together and had an outstanding turn-out. Parents and teachers were more engaged with the students. Teachers chose to stick around during breaks just to watch students practice their dance moves. Many teachers and parents had never been exposed to ballet, this was their chance.”
– Dea Moore Principal of Santa Fe South Elementary School
Funds for the K-12 BalletReach program are raised by the Oklahoma City Ballet through generous grants, foundation support and sponsorships. This year’s program is made possible in part by support from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s iFund grant. For more information, please visit www.ifundokc.org.