Alameda Civic Ballet strives to create quality, community-accessible ballet performances while educating and engaging the community in the performing arts. Through its outreach programs, the company works to provide opportunities for members of the community to attend its performances for little or no cost.
In April 2009, Alameda Civic Ballet raised funds from local businesses and residents to present a ballet called The Impressionists to over 1,400 students and chaperones from 11 Alameda elementary schools. At only $2.00 per ticket, students experienced the magic of Impressionist paintings coming to life at a 60% discount from the initially projected ticket cost.
The Impressionists program for Alameda students featured selections from Degas Dancers and Monet's Garden, choreographed by Artistic Director Abra Rudisill and inspired by the artistry of these French Impressionists. The Company also performed Vive la Dance, a visualization of the paintings of Renoir, and the festive Le Cancan, bringing to life the lively colorful style of Toulouse-Lautrec. The dancers, numbering over 75, included professional ballet dancers, Company members, apprentices, and students of the Alameda Ballet Academy.
In addition, prior to the performance, ACB coordinated with Art Docents from each school to provide art lessons that focused on Impressionist paintings. The children then saw those works of art interpreted as dance in conjunction with historically appropriate music and costuming. The beautiful colors of the floral-inspired costumes of Monet's Garden truly looked like water lilies come to life, and the authentically-attired ballerinas in Degas Dancers appeared as if they had leapt from the canvas to the stage.
This was a very successful integration of art history lesson and hand-on art project that was then reinforced by a live dance performance. You can read some of the letters from students here.
ACB plans to present an entirely new production for the schools in 2011 and is undertaking a new fundraising campaign to underwrite the show.
"We thoroughlly enjoyed the ballet today - the school show was a huge success! The kids kept saying, "we saw that picture in class - you showed it to us!" - they really got it. What an amazing morning. Thanks for all of the hard work you and the whole company put into the production! Denise did a beautiful job on the costumes. The kids were ready to dance... Loved it all..."
Jenna, Edison art docent
on the Impressionists performance
for AUSD students