Tuesday, February 25 | Submitted by Frances Elkins | Downtown Central
Success of Dance Chance program leads to expansion to Weller Elementary
Springfield Ballet is reaching more deserving kids with the art of dance by adding a location for its free afterschool program, Dance Chance. For seven weeks this spring, Associate Director Frances Elkins travels to Weller Elementary on Thursday afternoons to instruct 18-20 kindergarten through second graders in basic ballet technique, rhythm, body awareness, and more! Springfield Ballet worked closely with Community Partnership of the Ozarks to identify Weller as a school that could benefit from this program. In 2013, Weller Elementary reported 91.1% of its student population as being eligible for free or reduced lunches. McGregor and Williams Elementary schools also participate in the program, in addition to the Community Center of Springfield.
Dance Chance was founded in 2007 as a partnership with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. A former Dance Chance instructor describes the program’s benefits in this way, “It has been a pleasure to see the students grow in their ability to simply be kids. They are now more able to use their imaginations to create characters and then use their body and movement knowledge to make those creations come to life. Throughout my time with these students, I’ve watched them go from cautious, sometimes withdrawn children to kids who are excited to learn about the body and dance technique and show off what they can do.” Since its inception, more than 250 children have benefited from Dance Chance.
At the conclusion of each session, participants demonstrate what they have learned in a public performance for family, teachers, and friends. Weller Elementary participants will show off their new skills on Thursday, March 27 at 3:30pm.
For more information on Springfield Ballet or to arrange an interview, contact Associate Director, Frances Elkins, at (417) 862-1343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.