COLORADO BALLET AND VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA TEAM UP
TO MAKE DANCE STUDY ACCESSIBLE TO ALL CHILDREN
DENVER- Each Friday evening at 6 p.m. since late January, 25 to 30 children and their parents arrive at Colorado Ballet and go straight to Studio B. The company has been offering significantly discounted classes to this group of children in its downtown academy as an extension of the Headstart program, sponsored by the Volunteers of America (VOA). The program is an outgrowth of the city’s 5 By 5 Project, whose aim is to expose children to 5 different cultural opportunities by the age of 5.
“It is important to help low-income families,” said VOA Family Service Worker Felipe Lopez, who helped coordinate the program. “To see the Hispanic population get involved with Colorado Ballet is wonderful because they contribute greatly to the spirit and culture of Colorado.”
Colorado Ballet Education and Outreach Director Tiffany Pallotto says that while free tickets and creative movement classes have been traditionally offered at each participating 5 By 5 school, it was a phone call from Lopez which prompted the discounted classes at the Academy.
“Parents wanted to keep children involved but regular academy classes were too expensive,” explained Pallotto, “What we’ve arranged to do is offer the same caliber classes already being taught at our studios for only the price needed to cover costs. Colorado Ballet doesn’t profit from this at all. It wasn’t something we’d previously considered but there have been a lot more students than I would have expected.”
For five dollars, participating children attend a 45-minute class conducted by Colorado Ballet Academy instructor Beth Vinson and are also provided the necessary clothing to dance. The course runs for 10 weeks and will culminate with a reception and recital on April 13 at the Denver Art Museum, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Students who signed up for the class committed to the full 10 weeks and no drop-ins are allowed.
“We would love to find a way to continue to do this,” said Pallotto, “It’s very creative movement at this age, not necessarily ballet, and they all seem to love it.”
Parent testimonials underscore the program’s success.
“I am very happy that my daughter is attending these classes,” said Alma Ortiz, whose daughter Lizbeth is a student in the program, “I would like for the classes to continue to see how far my daughter can go.”
Gabriel Hernandez and wife Elen Villa also rave. “We really like this program because it helps parents get involved in their children’s education. We hope Colorado Ballet continues opening their doors to us to bring a better future to our children.”
The VOA and Colorado Ballet hope to continue the program next year.
“Families deserve this opportunity,” said Lopez, “Expanding horizons through culture and art is important and this program is a chance to bring the community together. It is a privilege to work with Colorado Ballet.”
1278 Lincoln Street
Denver, CO 80203
Tickets: 303/837-8888, extension 2