American Ballet Theatre offers educational development through Project Plié, which reaches children with limited resources, opportunities and adequate support. As a summer 2016 intern, I indulge my efforts in continuing the motion of the project. Constant emails, orchestrating classes, sending materials and assisting my mentor all require my undivided attention. Project Plié continues on and brings classical ballet to youth who would otherwise not be exposed to it.
Approximately 40 Boys and Girls Clubs are participating in the Master Class Series this summer and I am proud to say that Monica(my mentor) and I worked hard to schedule these classes. Hundreds of children around the country have been and will continue to be enlightened by this classical art form and prompted to continue. Scholarships are drafted for children with exceptional talent and many smiles are brought upon their faces after receiving posters of ballerinas.
9 weeks, 8 interns and only 2 days left, I cannot believe how fast time flies. ABT enriches a wide spectrum of intellect and professionalism, all the while allowing room for a warm welcoming culture. Within the realm of this culture, I experience many events in and outside of the office. As the days go by and many of the events swarm in my head, there is one day that strikes me the most.
This, very warm sunny day in July, consisted of two Boys and Girls Club (BGC) ballet classes in Harlem. I assisted one class with the ABT partner teacher and documented the other. The children between ages 8-12 had their blue BGC t-shirts on with bright intriguing eyes. In the beginning of both classes, the children watched a video of how Misty Copeland became a Principal with ABT and was discovered at the same organization. The children were eager to move onto the next part of the class as their energy boiled and prompted them for movement.
The classes consisted of bright youth with a desire for greatness and ability to learn very quickly. Some students learned the movement within seconds, held their head high, placed their hands in first position and presented their readiness. These children, which most had never even set foot in a ballet class, enjoyed themselves thoroughly and retained an abundance of information within an hour.
There was one particular child, who should receive further training, would definitely make it into a professional ballet company years down the line. His ballonné was innate along with many other natural abilities. ABT’s initiative to seek these young diverse dancers is a start to diversifying the ballet world and infiltrate organizations at every level.
Ballet and other sectors is only the start to help the diversity issue. Project Plié continues in that direction and as an intern with an organization such as ABT, I now further understand the true influence of the classical arts for youth, especially those of diverse backgrounds.
The kids from Harlem and my mentor, Monica Stephenson, continue to touch my heart in a special place. Monica’s help and support, which I truly appreciate, made a huge impact on me this summer. I now realize the world we live in and that equal opportunity is non existent and I am extremely blessed to have had ballet training as a child and am in the position to give back to youth now.
May Project Plié continue to touch many lives and remember that the children are our future.
Project Plíe Intern