In 2016, Dance Theater of Florida launched the Elevé Program at Lake Park Elementary School. The partnership has been a great success and we are happy to have also delivered the program at Jupiter Elementary and Northboro Elementary Schools.
The Elevé Program is designed to introduce second-grade students from Title I schools to classical ballet through three components: in-school workshops, a lecture demonstration, and the opportunity to attend a live performance.
A Dance Theater of Florida instructor leads six creative-dance workshops on site at the elementary school. The children learn about ballet and other dance styles, and receive instruction on jumping, turning, and stretching their bodies. In addition, they create their own choreography and make a brief presentation of what they have learned during the final workshop.
The second part of the Elevé program brings Dance Theatre of Florida dancers into the school to provide a lecture demonstration for a larger group of students (e.g., all the school’s first and second graders). The students learn how dancers train daily, enjoy watching solo dances performed in costume, and learn how movements are put together to create choreography.
The third element of the program allows students the opportunity to attend a Dance Theater of Florida production in a proscenium theater. Complimentary tickets are provided for the students and their families. When students attend a performance as a school field trip, the cost of busing is covered either by the school district or underwritten by Dance Theater of Florida.
A significant outcome of the Elevé program is the relationship that has developed between Dance Theater and its partner schools. We have had the pleasure of working with Lake Park Elementary School for the past six years. The school administrators are positive and encouraging, and the tremendous support we have received from the classroom teachers has been key to the program’s success.
During the workshops, the ballet teacher looks for children who show aptitude for and interest in further training. At the end of the workshops, we identify approximately four girls and four boys to whom we can offer additional training opportunities. They might be invited to attend our summer-dance program, and/or receive scholarships for year-round classes at our studios.
The Elevé program has had numerous positive outcomes for children and their families. As an example, a student from Lake Park Elementary participated in our summer-dance program and, as a result, was offered a scholarship to attend year-round classes. The student was joined by her sister who was subsequently invited to enroll at the Bak Middle School of the Arts the following year.
More recently, a young male student from Lake Park Elementary also attended our summer-dance program and then continued on with us during the school year. He is now taking both ballet and jazz classes and will participate in our end-of-year showcase performances.