Dance Chance is an instructional program that brings ballet to underserved schools and, in so doing, empowers children from impoverished communities to find a new space for physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. This unique three-step program, designed to provide in-school ballet classes, also helps us to identify promising young ballet students who are, in turn, invited to attend regular classes at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, allowing us to forge a meaningful and sustained impact on future generations of potential professional dancers.
Dance Chance is currently operating in four participating schools: Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School, James G. Blaine School, Academy Charter School, and Holy Redeemer Catholic School.
Step 1: With an emphasis on creative movement and classical ballet vocabulary, the program provides weekly, in-school classes for first-grade students, supplementing their lessons with attendance at Pennsylvania Ballet performances. Students learn discipline but also boost concentration, discover the value of dedication, and develop a love of dance and movement.
Step 2: Students who show particular promise and requisite levels of dedication are invited to attend class with their peers at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet.
Step 3: Students who successfully complete the Step 2 year and have been determined to meet the criteria for attending the School of Pennsylvania Ballet are then accepted as full-time, permanent students. All Dance Chance students accepted into the school program receive free tuition and dancewear for the life of their training.
The Gift of Grit: Resiliency is more impactful on a child than specific dance skills, and each time a difficult task is overcome it teaches the child a lesson in the value of persistence.
The Challenge of Cooperation: Learning to trust teammates and, in turn, asking them to trust you contributes to greater success in interpersonal dynamics throughout life.
The Benefits of Broadened Horizons: New experiences outside a child’s day-to-day environment can awaken and build an excitement for ever-expanding personal growth.
The Marvels of Movement: More than 50% of us are kinesthetic learners, yet 80% of classroom training is designed for auditory instruction. Allowing children to experience and participate in physical movement while learning exhibits benefits throughout the remainder of the school day.
The Practice of Patience: Engaging with others in an environment that promotes tolerance, kindness, and patience teaches children to value and respect such traits in themselves and others.
Accessibility vs. Elitism: By bringing dance instruction to schools in underserved communities, many students are given an opportunity to experience a professional art form for the first time, encouraging them to develop both as artists and as audience members.
Group Dynamic in Education: Ballet instruction challenges students to attempt mastery of their own bodies, while still recognizing the ways in which their own movement works with and impacts others.
Ownership of Progressive, Multi-Tiered Learning: Children are taught to understand the “hows” and “whys” of multi-tiered learning and, therefore, develop a vested interest in seeing it through to success.
Games and Play for Organic Development: Breaking away from rote memorization through the use of movement-based games stimulates intellectual growth, affecting all aspects of the child’s day.
Social Change through Civic Pride: By sharing beauty and light with children and proving they are fully capable of producing it within themselves, we begin to affect positive change through civic and self pride.
Ambition and Achievement:
Setting step-by-step goals and pointing out success along the way—for individuals as well as the group—teaches children that our choices and actions, big or small, can lead to great achievement.