Ballet Fantastique’s commitment to original programming, interdisciplinary collaborations and willingness to take bold chances in the pursuit of innovation serve as the ideal vehicle from which students of all ages and backgrounds can integrate the arts into their own scholastic development.
Nationwide, educators in both the private and public sector report that the workforce of the 21st century requires skills beyond what has been emphasized in the standard STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum. The ability to creatively assimilate content derived from science, technology, engineering and math is perceived as being a critical skill to impart on future generations. As a result the necessity of re integrating arts education into the framework of kindergarten through adult education has been widely accepted by policy makers, organizations and educators. The STEM to STEAM Initiative (A = Arts) is further supported by the recently passed legislation, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reintegrates arts into the general definition of a “well rounded education” (Artseducators.org).
Ballet Fantastique warmly embraces the STEM to STEAM transition and proudly offers educational outreach opportunities to educate students about the arts through the ballet. Our popular matinees have a proven track record of bringing dance to diverse sectors of our community and attracting new arts audiences (in fact, based on audience surveys, thirty percent or more of our audience is consistently new to dance, and many of them are new to the theater, as well). In order to achieve this level of outreach we ensure that our ticket prices are affordable. Next, through our Passport to Dance program, we give a number of free tickets to performances to low-income members of our community through work with partner organizations like United Way (Ballet Fantastique enthusiastically matches every ticket donation made to the Passport to Dance program). Through our special Girl Scout Programs, youngsters meet the dancers on stage after select performances to learn more about the performing arts. Our dancers meet and talk with audience members after each and every performance. We always have, and we always will. Our goal is to break down the traditional barriers between artists and audiences as we bring ballet into the 21st century—and with your help, we're doing just that.
Through our Education and Outreach programs, and with the support of our Community Partners, we bring our high-quality productions to everyone in engaging, innovative ways. Here are some of the big ways we reinvest every dollar you give us back into our community! Click here to see our donors and volunteers, and to learn how you can help! »
In-Theater: Passport to Dance
We believe that ballet shouldn't just be for folks who have a big piggy bank. Ballet Fantastique stays busy developing the next generation of dance audiences through a number of in-theater programs! We have a proven track record of bringing dance to diverse sectors of our community and attracting new arts audiences (in fact, based on audience surveys, a whopping thirty percent or more of our audience is regularly completely new to dance, and many of them are new to the theater, as well)! First, we ensure that our ticket prices are affordable. Next, through our Passport to Dance program, we give a number of free tickets to performances to low-income members of our community through work with partner organizations like United Way (Ballet Fantastique matches every ticket donation made to the Passport to Dance program, by the way). Through our special Girl Scout Programs, youngsters meet the dancers on stage after select performances to learn more about the performing arts. Also unique? Our dancers meet and talk with audience members—you—after each and every performance. We always have, and we always will. Our goal is to break down the traditional barriers between artists and audiences as we bring ballet into the 21st century—and with your help, we're doing just that.
In-Schools: EXPERIENCE DANCE! Project
Ballet Fantastique's in-school outreach program, the EXPERIENCE DANCE! Project, began as a pilot project in 2005, before we even earned our official nonprofit status. Since then, we've worked with dozens of Lane County schools and thousands of students in arts programming that is on the cutting edge of outreach work nationwide. Our work with the schools is always either free of charge or on a sliding scale according to the school's ability to pay. Schools that serve high percentages of low-income families ("Title I" schools) are always prioritized, since these are the kids who most often don't have access to dance, music, arts, or even athletic experiences at home or school. As part of the program, Ballet Fantastique dancer-educators work with teachers on integrated arts programming, integrating learning in dance learning with a particular curricular goal (past units have included birds, math, oceans, and insects). Other facets of the EXPERIENCE DANCE! Project include annual outreach matinees for schoolchildren in the theater, and in-school dance assembly performances.
In-Studio: Scholarships & Professional Dancer Development Program
Ballet Fantastique invests many thousands of dollars and hours of training each year into talented young dancers whose families cannot afford professional ballet training. Scholarship students are expected to give back to the community and "pay it forward" through helping out as teaching assistants and/or participating in outreach performances. We are so proud of these young dancers, who we see making time to excel in both dance and school, in spite of tough circumstances at home and in school. We commit to assisting them through scholarship help for as long as they need it.
Secondly, we believe that giving area dancers local, professionally modeled training and performance programs and outlets for their talent is imperative to keeping the arts vibrantly alive in our community. As part of our non-profit mission, Ballet Fantastique offers Professional Master Classes on a sliding fee scale to these dancers, and classes are free when dancers commit to giving back to the community through performances.
In-Community: Open Barre/Open Rehearsals & Free Preview Performance Series
Ballet Fantastique tours across our Northwest home with performances, many of them free to audiences (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ballet in the Park, Umpqua Modern Dance Festival, Tchaikovsky Festival, Discovering Daphnis Festival, SHOCase, and many more). We also open the doors of our studio to the community for free preview performances each year through our Preview Performance Series, and break down the rehearsal and production process with in-studio open rehearsal meet-and-greet events (Open Barre/Open Rehearsal), many of them targeting young professionals in our area.
In-College: Mentoring College Students through Internships
Ballet Fantastique mentors up to twenty UO and LCC college interns each year through internships tailored toward students' professional learning goals in arts management, marketing, and public relations. Internships are centered on practical opportunities for participants to experiment with ideas while building resources for future careers in the arts. Ballet Fantastique intern alumni are now working with arts organizations all over the world, and name our internship program among their most important formative experiences in career preparation! Additionally, Ballet Fantastique mentors high school student backstage volunteers each season. We believe that this investment in the next generation of arts administrators helps us, helps the students—and helps the future of our field, too.