Community Outreach, News + Media

Connecting Communities with Dance

March 2, 2020

Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s mission over the last 33 years has been to advance the art and appreciation of ballet and Canadian choreography through performance, educational experience and community engagement. One of the many ways that we achieve our mission is through our Ballet 101 community education program. 

The Ballet 101 program connects with people throughout Canada in local community settings: elementary schools, public libraries, seniors’ residences, and even in hospitals. The raison d’etre of Ballet 101 is to bring professional classical ballet to under-served and remote audiences who do not normally have access to high calibre dance performances. This program helps to provide access to arts-based learning opportunities and compelling artistic, cultural and heritage experience. 

Our free 1-hour ballet presentation, conducted by our professionally trained dancers, educates the audience on the history of classical ballet, the importance of basic ballet positions, and emphasizes how movement is used as a storytelling medium. A highly interactive presentation, complete with excerpts from classical ballet variations, this presentation has delighted and enlightened many audiences throughout Canada. 

The Ballet 101 team in Cornwall, ON.

“We appreciate the art of ballet a lot more now that it has been explained to us. They are athletes and performers!”

We have had the good fortune to receive funding through our partnership with The Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. This 3-year funding commitment will allow Canada’s Ballet Jörgen to present Ballet 101s in remote and underserved communities across Ontario from Hudson’s Bay all the way down to Niagara Falls. Our goal is to reach at least 48,000 audience members over 3 years. 

As part of the Ballet 101 program, we ask our recipients to fill out a survey. We use this survey to ensure that the program is hitting it’s intended goal of advancing the art and appreciation of ballet and Canadian choreography. The feedback from our recipients has been overwhelmingly positive.  An elementary school in Oshawa has said “it was a wonderful and engaging performance. Our students do not get the advantage of seeing live theatre/dance. This was a great experience for them.”  Last June, after visiting the Huron/Bruce area of southwestern Ontario, an elementary school remarked that “we appreciate the art of ballet a lot more now that it has been explained to us. They are athletes and performers!” And in Bowmanville, a school commented “We were very impressed by the performance. The dancers were exceptional, and there were many interactive moments throughout. Our students talked about it all day afterwards, with many now interested in dance!” Encouraged by the outpouring of gratitude and positivity around the program, our professional dancers are motivated to continue making a difference in the lives of people in underserved and remote communities. In Nepean, one teacher remarked “Our students are seeing ballet in a new way. Many have come forward asking me how to register for ballet.”

We are pleased to say that we are on track to reach our goals. Since April 2018, our dancers have travelled throughout Ontario, while also creating and touring a new full-length ballet, Anne of Green Gables – the Ballet™ to visit over 21,000 people in over 175 venues in 63 cities, towns and communities.

To request a Ballet 101 visit to your local elementary school, library or community centre, please contact our Program Manager, Andrea Page, at andrea@balletjorgen.ca.

Presented across Ontario in Partnership with

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