Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Class Keeps Youths En Pointe ; Project Plie Introduces Local Children to Ballet

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Class Keeps Youths En Pointe ; Project Plie Introduces Local Children to Ballet

Article excerpt

HUNTINGTON As his comrades spun recklessly during an introductory ballet lesson, Huntington Boys and Girls Club member Brandon Hill, 7, watched attentively and replicated instructor Summer Logans moves. I want to be a dancer when I grow up, Hill said, straightening his posture. Today we got to jump and spinned around and I had a really good time.

The lesson, hosted by Logan, of the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center in Huntington, acquainted group members age 6 through 10 with beginner ballet positions and a brief history of Misty Copeland, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre and former Boys and Girls Club member.

Logan, who began dancing at age 12, received a bachelor of arts in dance and choreography from Ohio University. From there, she ventured to Huntington to assist Jessica Lynn Fox, of the universitys program, in founding the Jeslyn Performing Arts Center.

One of our mission statements is that dance is education regardless of socioeconomic means, ethnicities, race or gender, she said. It shouldnt just be limited to those who can afford it. It should be for everybody.

As a certified American Ballet Theatre instructor in preprimary through level five, seeing youth enjoying her passion makes her investment worthwhile.

Weve worked with Title 1 schools, the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Huntington Museum of Art to make sure that dance, particularly ballet, is accessible, Logan said.

Although ballet may not be every students specialty, Logan said familiarizing him or her with a confidence-building hobby would be beneficial later in life.

It makes well-rounded individuals and it helps in math and science and writing, a lot of people are fortunate to have it in their school systems, but in Appalachia, we are not, she said.

For students who cannot otherwise afford dance classes, Jeslyn will be awarding a few scholarships in the near future.

Its funded and sponsored by the ABT for special students and for us to have access to students with stories like Misty Copelands, she said. …

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