Evergreen City Ballet created Dance ALIVE! in the Fall of 2008. Under the supervision of Artistic Director Kevin Kaiser, this program serves elementary school children throughout South King, at no cost to them or their schools. Since its inception, Dance ALIVE! has served over 10,000 children and is active in six school districts: Renton, Tahoma, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Federal Way.
Dance ALIVE! is a hands-on program with an Artist/Teacher going into the school. It introduces children to the world of dance and movement in many ways: learning the five basic positions of the arms and feet in ballet; learning basic ballet vocabulary; better understanding of the child’s own physicality through movement and body awareness.
Children in the Dance ALIVE! program learn to understand the importance of healthy lifestyles, including diet, exercise and rest. They have the opportunity to express themselves through dance and see how emotions are always present within dance. Children develop a greater appreciation of music and understand that they can dance to many types of music. A survey for teachers to complete allows the ECB staff to further monitor the success of Dance ALIVE!
Children who successfully complete the program have the possibility of performing in ECB’s own Black Box Theatre. These children, and their families, can also purchase tickets at a reduced rate for the open dress rehearsals of our major productions such as “The Nutcracker”. Children can watch the dancers warm up and also learn about the technical and production aspects of dance such as lighting, costumes and scenery. Each child also receives a voucher, good for one free dance class at the ECB School.
Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, the ECB artistic staff will start identifying Dance ALIVE! students who show special interest and potential and offer them full scholarships to attend our School. Up to 250 children will eventually be selected. For those families who can not afford it, ECB will provide dance wear and dance shoes.
In the words of a teacher at Bryn Mawr Elementary School:
“This is great for our kids. We have such a diverse population and a lot of these kids live in poverty. We are exposing them to something new that they would never have experienced otherwise.”