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Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Ballet reach out for change

Mar 5, 2018

Attending a low-income school does not need to define a child's educational experience.

The Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Ballet are making that possible. Members of the ballet's Reach program, approximately 60 students attending Title I schools in the Charlotte area, will perform Stravinsky's  "The Rite of Spring" in collaboration with the ballet and symphony at Belk Theater April 6-7. Reach allows students to gain access to free introductory dance classes.

"The arts can be a catalyst for change in so many ways," Symphony Music Director Christopher Warren-Green said. "Stravinksy's work was transformational, and with this collaboration, we're hoping to incite change as well. Art builds self-esteem, improves discipline, builds a strong work ethic -- and exposure to something greater than themselves is sometimes just what our young people need."

Said Ballet Artistic Director Hope Muir: "It was a huge and ambitious vision so unique in its model to bring together two amazing cultural organizations as well as extend the experience even further into the community. For my first season as Artistic Director of Charlotte Ballet, this collaboration was a wonderful beginning to what I hope is a continued partnership with Charlotte arts organizations and the many wonderful experiences together we will bring to this city."

Choreographer Peter Chu coordinated a performance for ballet apprentice dancers and Reach students, with whom he worked with for several weeks. Chu's work includes the Orlando Ballet, METdance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, as well as Fox television's "So You Think You Can Dance?"

"I hope that these dancers walk away feeling empowered and inspired by this overall experience," Chu said. "It's a communal experience, and I want them to learn to become effective, efficient, and clear communicators both physically as dancers and verbally as leaders. It's bigger than Stravinsky's music, bigger than the dance steps and my choreography. This is not mine--this is ours."

By Ashley Mahoney, Charlotte Post
Original story here.