SAVANNAH, GA – February 4, 2020 – Savannah Ballet Theatre (SBT) has received a $35,000 Investment Grant from the City of Savannah to support the continued growth of its educational outreach programs for local students.
In 2019, SBT received a generous grant from the City of Savannah which allowed the nonprofit arts organization to serve the community. This investment for 2020 will enable SBT to continue to offer unrivaled performances of The Nutcracker, and provide additional outreach programming that will reach students of all socio-economic backgrounds in the Savannah area.
Each year, grants and corporate underwriting have enabled SBT to offer a subsidized matinée of two season productions to 1,000 students, their teachers, and 50 seniors from local assisted living communities as part of the Educational Performance Outreach Series (EPOS). EPOS is complimentary for teachers, and students pay a modest fee of $5. In previous years, SBT has only been able to offer one performance. However, SBT will now offer two performances of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on Friday, April 24 and two performances of The Nutcracker on Friday, December 4. This investment from the City of Savannah will allow 4,000 students to attend one of these performances free of charge. For many students, SBT’s student matinée is their first experience with live performing arts.
SBT’s EPOS is just one of the ways that SBT reaches out to students. The newly implemented ReachOut program gives students an up-close and personal look at classical ballet in a studio setting. Engaging study guides are offered to educators in advance to provide a meaningful introduction to art appreciation. The materials allow the students to expand their knowledge of dance and music as applied through their general studies. A post-performance meet and greet gives an additional opportunity for student audience members to ask questions, see costumes up close, and express their enthusiasm and gratitude. Students learn essential dance terminology, how to perform steps, and most importantly, how to express themselves as budding artists under the direction of SBT’s professional dancers. This grant will allow SBT to offer ReachOut free of charge to 800 students and their teachers throughout 2020 as the demand increases. Without funding from the City of Savannah, SBT would only be able to provide this experience for 100 students.
“A study by researchers at the National Endowment for the Arts found that at-risk students who have access to the arts tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement. Both the Educational Outreach Performance Series and ReachOut are up close, and personal experiences for students that we hope will contribute to making an impact on the next generation of artists,” said SBT Advancement Director Abby McCuen. “That is why we are so grateful to the City of Savannah for this investment that will give us the opportunity to bring the gift of dance to hundreds of students in our community.”
SBT is the only classical ballet company in coastal Georgia that provides both dancers and audience members with a full season of professionally staged performances and outreach programming. It is their mission to develop and showcase the talent of dedicated Savannah dancers alongside top professional dancers who train in the studio, and to engage in educational outreach and promotion of the art of dance within the community.
For more information on the history and mission of the Savannah Ballet Theatre & School of Dance, please visit www.savannahballettheatre.org.
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