3 May 2023
Happy 5th Birthday DanceAZ!
Since 2018, Ballet Arizona has been serving Title I elementary schools across the Valley through the school residency program, DanceAZ.
Born out of the pressing need for youth arts education and engagement opportunities in Arizona schools, DanceAZ supports children’s social and emotional learning in combination with 21st Century skills. Participating students receive basic ballet instruction and learn choreographed movement that culminates in a performance to showcase what they have accomplished over the course of nine weeks.
According to a report from the Arizona Arts Education Census Project, in the 2021-2022 school year, only 1,047 out of 296,687 elementary school children were enrolled in the dance program offered at their school. Arizona children stand to gain so much from participation in dance activities; countless studies have linked participation in dance and arts engagement to many beneficial outcomes including increased physical ability, collaborative skills, creativity, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking skills. These skills not only translate to academic success but also continue to serve people throughout their careers and personal lives.
In the five years of DanceAZ, Ballet Arizona has brought the magic of dance and self-expression to 452 3rd and 4th grade students, across 12 Arizona elementary schools, with a goal of reaching two new schools and an additional 40 students in the 2023-2024 season.
“DanceAZ has been able to bring ballet and dance to our students and our community through their school based program. It has given our students experiences that they would not have been able to have otherwise…They gain confidence in not only dance, but in themselves as well. Student attendance improves, social skills and willingness to persevere through something challenging improves and you can see the enjoyment they have while practicing. It is a club the kids look forward to joining when they are old enough, and many students participate for years.” – Jennifer Highum.