SAVANNAH, GA – September 10, 2019 – Georgia Council for the Arts recently awarded an $8,000 grant to the Savannah Ballet Theatre (SBT) to support this local nonprofit organization and the continued growth of its educational outreach for Chatham County students.
This grant will help SBT meet essential needs such as lighting, costumes, and venue expenses to ensure its ballet productions continue to remain accessible and affordable for the community.
“If the nonprofit’s income consisted of only ticket sales with no aid from grants such as this one, tickets would be very costly to offset expenses – discouraging many people from attending shows.” said SBT Managing and Education Director Abby McCuen.
For 21 years, SBT has further subsidized shows for area youth, and this contribution will allow the professional dance company to maintain their offering to students of a highly discounted ticket price of only $5 compared to the standard ticket cost of $30. Each year, grants and corporate underwriting have enabled SBT to present a subsidized matinée of two season productions to 1,000 students, their teachers, and 50 seniors from local assisted living communities as part of SBT’s Educational Performance Outreach Series (EPOS).
SBT also plans to have low sensory performances as part of its EPOS program in 2020. These sensory-friendly performances are designed specifically for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other disabilities. Before each Low Sensory performance, SBT hosts a touch tour for patrons who are blind or experience low vision. Low Sensory Performance and Touch Tours are being implemented by theaters and arts organizations throughout the United States in order to increase arts accessibility. SBT is proud to be the first professional arts organization in Savannah to offer this innovative and accessible experience.
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. During the first quarter of 2019, fifty students, their teachers, and parent volunteers from an SCCPSS Title One school attended the first ReachOut event free of charge. Students enjoyed a brief performance by SBT’s professional dancers and the session concluding with the kids learning a few moves and performing them live.
“It is extremely important to allow fine arts and ballet to thrive in Savannah, and for the community’s youth to experience outreach art programs,” said Savannah Ballet Theatre Board President Curt Bryant. “That is why we are extremely thankful to GCA for their generous donation in support of our premier shows and outstanding educational outreach program.”
SBT is one of seven local groups awarded funding for Georgia Council for the Art’s 2020 fiscal year. Since 2010, SBT has been the proud recipient of $57,000 in total from the Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA). SBT consistently receives high scores from the GCA’s esteemed panelists for its work within the state of Georgia. The award from the GCA is more than money to SBT; it’s a stamp of approval. SBT artists, dancers, directors, and volunteers are held to a high standard each year, and every performance raises the bar.
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. Although SBT is known for its superior production of The Nutcracker, the company is also known throughout the Southeast for their innovative, original adaptations of popular stories and movies. In addition to these productions, SBT is dedicated to preserving classical ballet through their staged classical productions. 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 performances, history and mission of the Savannah Ballet Theatre & School of Dance, please visit their website at http://www.savannahballettheatre.org/.