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City Ballet of Houston develops programs and performances that highlight the discipline and beauty of classical ballet. This purpose is achieved through its aims to 1) bring quality ballet of the highest professional standards to the community stage; 2) support public education through programs for school age children; 3) provide dance opportunities for underrepresented youth in the art of ballet; and 4) offer community-based programs to educate audiences where the art of dance is otherwise unavailable.
Since 1986, CBH in collaboration withHoustonParksand Recreation Department andHoustonIndependentSchool Districthave produced a special production of the Nutcracker Ballet through the Greater Houston Youth Nutcracker project (GHYN).
CBH will continue this successful youth-oriented project featuring docents and auditions where hundreds of underserved families are introduced to the world of ballet, and 100 children will be selected to participate in the production. CBH targets children for participation and performance attendance from the neediest schools throughout Houston. The performing children will receive full training for the performances over an eight week period, including instruction in dance technique and etiquette, costuming and participation in full length, professional level productions. The children perform the roles of Party Children, Soldiers, Angels, Pages and Mother Ginger in Fredric Franklin’s classic version. The project culminates with the children’s appearance in two full-length performances at the Wortham Brown Theater in November of 2013. The first is performed exclusively for school children in the Houstoncommunity, and the second is performed, admission free, to the public. This project will touch approximately 7,000 individuals at the performances and further reaches the community through its presentation on television. All training and performances are provided free of charge. Historically, CBH partnered with another non-profit, Inner City Productions (ICP), who provided financial backing, while CBH focused on the artistic aspect. From 2008 forward, ICP's Board joined CBH's Board, which has taken ownership for 100% of the financial responsibility. 2013 marks the 26 th anniversary of the project, and it is a proven and successful model.
The Greater Houston Youth Nutcracker is a truly unique project. It is considered one of the most valuable dance outreach programs in the city .... one that has been modeled by other cities around theU.S. It is unique in that it allows numerous children, who have not been exposed to the arts, to have the opportunity to perform in a full-length ballet. Additionally, it allows a segment of our community who would normally not be able to attend a live ballet performance to do so. The project has opened the door for many ofHouston’s youth. A great example is Marlon Taylor-Wiles. Marlon was introduced to ballet through the project and subsequently danced on scholarship with Margo Marshall. He attended the Boston Conservatory on a full scholarship, and he was the first member of his family to attend college. Marlon has gone on to joinNew Yorkbased company Armitage Gone! Dance. Marlon has been named one of Dance Magazine's top 25 dancers to watch for 2012, and he will join our GHYN production in 2013. As you can see, the benefits of this project far outlast one performance. For many it opens the door to their future.
- Jennifer Mallette
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