Boston Ballet’s nationally-acclaimed Citydance
program celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. The ten-week program will take place at Boston Ballet’s 19 Clarendon Street headquarters starting on January 31. Citydance is one of Boston Ballet’s signature education programs and the largest provider of free dance education to Boston Public Schools. The program reaches more than 2,500 students each year and has reached more than 60,000 students in its 20 year history.
Established in the fall of 1991, Citydance is a scholarship dance program offered to third-grade students in the Boston Public Schools. Designed to educate and introduce public school children to a variety of dance forms, Citydance offers students from all backgrounds access to quality arts education and experience with the art of dance. With its broad scope and commitment to excellence, Citydance has become a model dance education program for institutions across the country.
“Citydance is a very special program with deep and broad roots in the Boston community,” said Zakiya K. Thomas, Boston Ballet Director of Education and Community Initiatives. “Citydance students finish the program with an appreciation of movement and dance, but they are also enriched as members of the global community.”
"Excited young dancers stand at the barre intent on their exercises, listening, creating, thinking and having a good time - this is the Citydance program at work," said Myran Parker-Brass, Executive Director for the Arts with Boston Public Schools. “For 20 years, the Citydance program has been providing our students the opportunity to learn dance and develop the essential skills and self awareness that support their learning in other areas. Boston Ballet continues to be a strong and committed partner for the Boston Public Schools, and their dedication will continue to help us as we work toward quality arts education for all Boston Public School students.”
Each fall, staff members from Boston Ballet provide workshops for more than 2,500 third-grade students in the Boston Public Schools. Students who show a strong interest and natural aptitude for movement are invited to the ten-week Dance Discovery program. Citydance classes represent a cross-section of the Boston Public Schools' diverse population. Upon the completion of Dance Discovery, students who wish to continue their ballet studies may do so during the third and final phase of the Citydance program, Introduction to Boston Ballet School. Introduction to Boston Ballet School classes offer a more intensive approach to ballet training by holding weekend classes exclusively in ballet technique.
Following the completion of the Introduction to Boston Ballet School program, all Citydance students are invited to enter Boston Ballet School to continue their ballet training with full or partial financial assistance available for eligible students. Many Citydance students choose to continue their dance education following the conclusion of the program. More than 60 Citydance alums are currently enrolled with Boston Ballet School.
Experience with dance at a young age through Citydance provides children with valuable educational and life skills as well as an access point to arts education of the highest caliber. Citydance alumni have continued on to a variety of successful paths beyond dance including financial services, engineering, and coaching. Citydance alumni have also gone on to dance professionally with Boston Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and National Ballet of Canada, among others.
Citydance alumna Ebony Williams, currently with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, has also danced and performed internationally with pop artists including Beyonce. Boston Ballet company member and Citydance alumnus, Isaac Akiba, has been dancing with the Company since 2009.
“Ballet has taught me so many things, including self-respect, respect for others, and discipline,” said Akiba. “Ballet has taught me how to work hard to obtain your goals. It’s scary to think of where I would be if it weren’t for Citydance.”
Boston Ballet’s Citydance 20th Anniversary schedule includes regularly scheduled September and October workshops in Boston and North Shore Public Schools and Dance Discovery programs at Boston Ballet’s Boston and Marblehead studios January-April 2012. Citydance 20th Anniversary celebrations will include recognition of the program’s impact and history at the 2012 Boston Ballet School Next Generation performance at The Boston Opera House. Next Generation is Boston Ballet School’s annual student showcase, presented in partnership with New England Conservatory.
LPL Financial, a supporter of Boston Ballet, is Lead Corporate Partner for the Citydance 20th Anniversary. The milestone has been furthered honored with a special grant from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. Scheduled activities and events for the Citydance 20th Anniversary year include:
September 27 - November 27, 2011 – Citydance workshops in the Boston Public Schools
January 31, 2012 – Citydance program at Boston Ballet’s 19 Clarendon Street Headquarters begins
March 4, 2012 – Citydance Family Day
April 10-13, 2012 – Boston Graduation Week
May 16, 2012 – Boston Ballet and Boston Ballet School’s Next Generation
For more information about Citydance: www.bostonballet.org/community/city-dance.html
View the Citydance 20th Anniversary video: www.bostonballet.org/explorebb/videos/citydance.html