SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, April 27, 2010 – The San Francisco Ballet Center for Dance Education (CDE) proudly presents the 2010 Performance Project, “Cultural Connections Through Dance,” featuring students from Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, New Traditions Alternative, Redding Elementary, and Rosa Parks Elementary.
As an extension of CDE’s Dance in Schools and Communities (DISC) program, teaching artists have been working with select groups of students for 16 weeks on a performance composition that will be presented at the Young at Art Festival in San Francisco. The piece includes a variety of dance styles, ranging from Country Western to West African Dance.
“The Performance Project provides a unique opportunity for discovery, as a select group of our DISC students take on the challenge of a live dance performance,” said Charles McNeal, director of education for CDE. “Our students are excited for this opportunity to present what they’ve learned during the past few months to the public.”
The performance will take place on Saturday, May 8, 2010, from 12:30–1:30pm in the Koret Theater at the de Young Museum. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the SF Ballet Center for Dance Education please visit www.sfballet.org/danceeducation, or check out the Performance Project blog at www.sfballetblog.org/tag/performance-project.
The Performance Project extends the concept of Dance in Schools and Communities (DISC) by introducing students to the art of live performance. Through the act of presenting a dance work to the public, students learn choreographic principals, develop performing skills, and begin to understand the communicative potential of dance movement. Using the body as an instrument of expression, dance students learn the problem solving and group skills necessary to creating dance composition. Select students of the DISC Residency Program are invited to participate in this fun and exciting project, allowing them to extend and deepen their experience in dance. Participants are nurtured in a safe and supportive environment by professional artist educators from the CDE’s specially trained staff. Following multiple rehearsal sessions, the experience culminates in public performances at participants’ schools and at various venues throughout San Francisco. The Performance Project builds self-esteem in participants providing an opportunity for personal discovery, and allows them to share what they have learned with others. This program is free of charge to all students.
For over 30 years, outreach and education have been a vital part of San Francisco Ballet. Each year over 25,000 people participate in our 16 innovative community programs. SF Ballet’s programs serve school children, teachers, seniors, Bay Area families, teaching artists, hospitals, and the general public. Approximately 75 scholarships are awarded every year to urban youth to study at the prestigious San Francisco Ballet School, and over 4,000 performance tickets are donated annually to nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay Area.
In 2001, The San Francisco Ballet Center for Dance Education (CDE) was formed to coordinate San Francisco Ballet’s pioneering outreach and education efforts and to more effectively manage, develop, and implement them in the community. The CDE’s programs are structured into two main branches: Dance in Schools and Communities (DISC), and Ballet in Schools and Communities (BISC). The DISC programs are primarily centered in schools and focus on world dance and music, while BISC focuses on ballet, and operates mainly outside of schools in collaboration with community-based organizations. The two strands complement each other, enabling the CDE to provide an introduction, access and opportunity for everyone to explore dance as a powerful and important cultural art form.
The Center for Dance Education values the dancer in everyone and is dedicated to sharing our love of dance with the broadest possible audience.
As America’s oldest professional ballet company and one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933. It performed the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first production of Coppélia choreographed by an American choreographer. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam, and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances a year locally, nationally, and abroad. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for 25 years, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award, its first, in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance,” for its 2004 London tour. In 2006, San Francisco Ballet was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, San Francisco Ballet celebrated its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives that included a New Works Festival of 10 world premieres by 10 renowned choreographers. 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of SF Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s tenure with the Company.