Gifts To Our Community: Louisville Ballet

Dec 7, 2020 | Community, Giving Back

The Ballet Bound scholarship project has been able to provide one-year scholarships to 15 students, some of whom will receive ongoing scholarships. Photos submitted.

Transitioning on Their Toes

The performing arts have been hit hard by the limits COVID-19 has put on public gatherings, but the Louisville Ballet has pivoted to utilize technology in myriad ways. Its season is now digital, but the dance films it is creating are not merely a recording of a performance. They are innovative and envision dance in a way that Louisville audiences haven’t seen locally. Kentucky! Vol I and The Nutcracker are two films that have been confirmed for the season.

Of course, performances are just one part of what Louisville Ballet does. Stacey Blakeman, director of community engagement, says the Louisville Ballet School moved to virtual classes in the spring but reopened to in-person classes in August with strict safety measures. With so many children doing online district education, “having this outlet for a place to go and something to do that is safe has been really important to a lot of our school families,” Stacey says. Families who don’t feel comfortable with in-person classes are still able to have virtual ones.

Stacey Blakeman, director of community engagement, says the Louisville Ballet School moved to virtual classes in the spring but reopened to in-person classes in August with strict safety measures. She says, “HAVING THIS OUTLET FOR A PLACE TO GO AND SOMETHING TO DO THAT IS SAFE HAS BEEN REALLY IMPORTANT TO A LOT OF OUR SCHOOL FAMILIES.”

One of the things that Louisville Ballet is extremely proud of is its Ballet Bound scholarship program. While the Ballet has long been committed to improving access to ballet, this year it has been able to provide one-year scholarships to 15 students identified through its outreach programs. At the end of each school year, between three and five Ballet Bound students will be awarded a continuing
scholarship provided they are meeting goals and mastering skills, and 15 new students will join the Ballet Bound program. By 2025, Louisville Ballet would like to have 12 students who will have graduated from high school and ballet school and be ready to begin a career with Louisville Ballet.

Finally, Louisville Ballet is continuing its outreach to students throughout the community, whether they are doing non-traditional instruction (NTI) or are in-person. Stacey and her colleagues have created electronic books and in-home videos that can be used by teachers or families at home. “We’re so grateful to be able to be busy,” she says. “The fact that we are surviving and still serving our community and producing work is an amazing thing.”

P.S. Check out other organizations we featured as Gifts to Our Community.

Louisville Ballet’s season is now digital, and The Nutcracker is one of two films that have been confirmed for the season.

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