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Charleston Gaillard Center Presents Make a Ballet

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The Charleston Gaillard Center’s Education and Community Program welcomes back American Ballet Theatre (ABT) to Charleston for one-week residencies at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School and North Charleston High School. As part of ABT’s Make a Ballet program, ABT dance and design teaching artists will introduce and explore the ballet Don Quixote with students from March 28–April 1. The week will culminate in an original ballet performance at school for peers and parents on April 1.

The Make a Ballet Program takes English Language Arts content and integrates it into dance. Students participating in ABT’s dance and design residency will work approximately four hours in dance and one-and-a-half hours on design. ABT relies on five specific tools to guide students through the process: exposure, foundation, creative practice, revision and performance. During the process, students use their knowledge of the ballet story to develop characters, radiate intention, build on foundations of dance, develop plot, and learn revision skills.

The Charleston Gaillard Center accepted entries from interested schools in the tri-county area and drew two school names to participate.

Sterling deVries, Director of Education at the Charleston Gaillard Center, stated, “American Ballet Theatre, noted as America’s National Ballet Company®, represents history, culture and dance; the company has done so for over 80 years. We are honored to bring this caliber of art to the young dance students of Sanders-Clyde Elementary and North Charleston High School through the Make a Ballet program. Students are stretching their knowledge and embracing classical ballet with the story of Don Quixote, while learning the design side of the set and costumes. This is truly a remarkable learning experience for all of us involved.”

Kenyetta Bailey, Dance Educator from Sanders-Clyde Elementary School, noted, “We, at Sanders-Clyde Creative Arts Elementary, are thrilled for the opportunity to have American Ballet Theatre in residence with us this week. Through collaboration with industry professionals, our scholars are getting the chance to learn movement vocabulary from a classical ballet and set design skills.”

Christopher Robbins, the Dance Department Educator from North Charleston High School, noted, “We are thrilled to be chosen and given the award in the Charleston County School District for this educational experience. After this in-house training, the students will then get to watch a performance at the Gaillard Center by ABT Studio Company on April 5.”

Recently, the Gaillard Center also presented ABT Across America in July 2021 to thousands of attendees at The Citadel’s Parade Grounds. That performance, along with the Make a Ballet program, and the ABT Studio Company lecture demonstration on April 5, are part of the Gaillard Center’s Dance Initiative. This three-year initiative brings some of the world’s best dancers and ballet companies to Charleston and the Lowcountry. Beginning in 2021 and ending in 2023, the program includes free and paid performances, educational outreach to young dancers and their teachers, opportunities for adult education through pre-show lectures, and chances to engage with the dancers, choreographers, and artistic directors post-performance.  Support for programs like these is made possible by generous donors who have committed time and resources to the Charleston Gaillard Center’s Dance Initiative.

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