Cary, NC – At the Cary Ballet Company, they have developed a slogan: Not all dancers can make it to the studio so they bring to the studio to them. And in a series of free classes, the company will be holding ballet lessons for children living in a Triangle women’s shelter.
Bringing the Studio to the Dancers
Michelle Gisondi, development coordinator for the Cary Ballet Company, said she and their Board of Directors had been talking about the need to hold to their mission statement and target underserved communities in the Triangle with their programs.
“It woke me up one night at about midnight,” Gisondi said. “We need to bring dance to women’s shelters.”
In April, the Cary Ballet Company held its first outreach dance program, called “Plié All Day,” at the Good Samaritan Inn in Durham, a shelter and homelessness assistance center for women and children.
“It brings the arts to families when, in this season of their life, they may not have the opportunity to go see the arts,” Gisondi said.
Since then, they have put together enough money to hold a second class on Thursday, July 11, 2017. Gisondi said it is just like a beginner ballet class that one would get at the Cary Ballet Conservatory.
“We start with a demonstration so they can see what it looks like, then we go through it, step by step, in a real class setting,” Gisondi said. “We even bring in a floor and bars.”
Mothers Watching Children Dance
Through the “Plié All Day” class, Gisondi said it has had three main benefits, some of which she was not expecting. There is the benefit of building community by bringing the arts to people who may not have access to them, Gisondi said, but there is a benefit to the dancers teaching the classes as well.
“They can see what it’s like to not have access,” Gisondi said.
But Gisondi said the biggest benefit has been seen in the mothers whose children are dancing in the class.
“There were tears,” she said. “It was genuine gratitude.”
Currently, the Cary Ballet Company is trying to raise money to make this class a monthly event and even expand to a second shelter.
“It’s $200 per class and we’re $80 away from being able to schedule a class in August,” she said. “We also get help from Relevé Dancewear who provide shoes for the classes.”
The Cary Ballet Company is the Cary Ballet Conservatory’s non-profit affiliate.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of the Cary Ballet Company.