DanceAIR is an outreach program offered by New Haven Ballet, which makes dance accessible to underserved children in New Haven. Through DanceAIR, students expand their understanding and appreciation of dance and the performing arts, learn basic dance technique and choreography, and have an opportunity to express themselves artistically by combining musicality and rhythm. They learn how to care for their bodies through good nutrition and healthy choices, and experience the physicality of dance, which emphasizes athleticism, artistry, strength, balance, and flexibility.
DanceAIR targets students who are interested in dance, but would likely not have an opportunity to learn about and experience the art form without DanceAIR. Since 2014, DanceAIR has reached students in grades 2, 3 and 4 at many public elementary schools in New Haven, In 2017, under the direction of Christopher DeNofio, DanceAIR will offer classical ballet training at Fair Haven School, Columbus Family Academy, John S. Martinez School, Lincoln Bassett School, Davis Street Elementary School, and East Rock School.
Specifically, DanceAIR provides:
• dance classes – NHB teachers provide dance instruction twice a week for ten+ weeks in each school. The program is usually offered during regular school hours, but has also been offered as an after-school program. Each class includes a warm-up with stretches using basic ballet technique, floor work grounded in ballet technique, teamwork through choreographing and rehearsing a dance piece, and a cool-down.
• health and nutrition education – NHB has partnered with Dr. Funda Gulmen, N.D., M.S. to provide nutritional expertise and guidance. She prepares worksheets on nutrition and healthy food choices in English and Spanish, and provides hands-on nutritional instruction which is responsive to the students’ needs.
• community performance – DanceAIR students are invited to perform and demonstrate what they learn at a community performance. These performances have featured accomplished dancers from Dance Theater of Harlem and Nutmeg Conservatory’s Professional Training Programs. The NHB Company of pre-professional dancers also perform.
• scholarships – NHB offers scholarships to one student from each school and has offered more than one scholarship per school when students have demonstrated exceptional talent, dedication and aptitude. Scholarships include tuition for multiple dance classes a week at NHB School for one year, performance fees, dancewear, and a stipend for transportation. Past DanceAIR winners have received financial aid to supplement their dance training after the DanceAIR scholarship has expired. These students are training to the fullest extent and participating in every performance.
If your school is interested in offering DanceAIR or for information on how you can help make dreams come true by supporting the program please call: 203.782.9038.