At New Orleans Ballet Theatre, we believe that access to excellent art transforms individuals, families, and communities. In keeping with this vision, our School to Stage program aims to use dance as a tool for improving outcomes for students who lack access to quality arts education in New Orleans by:
1) Exposing them to excellent dance performances, and
2) Providing them with high quality dance instruction.
Exposure is one of the ways we are closing the achievement gap.
- Amanda Aiken, Principal of Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep.
This past academic year, The 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, along with the New Orleans Ballet Theatre (NOBT) and Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep school committed to increasing access to quality arts education by piloting NOBT’s "School to Stage" dance program at Crocker. In support of this project, The 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans purchased ballet attire and equipment and covered all other expenses associated with it. With their help, School to Stage exposed approximately thirty students from 3rd to 5th grade to dance performances and allowed them to receive dance instructions from NOBT instructors.
During the course of the program, students participated in seven 45-minute sessions and one short performance. Located in Uptown New Orleans, Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep serves 426 students from Pre-K through 5th grade, 94% of whom are classified as “economically disadvantaged.” Crocker was an ideal pilot school for NOBT’s School to Stage program because they have a dance studio and music room that served as the perfect location for this project, but most importantly because their administration understands that enrichment through the arts is an essential component of their students’ academic success.
Executive Director of the New Orleans Ballet Theatre, Andrea Moreno says, "New Orleans Ballet Theatre, 100 Black Men of New Orleans, and Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep have a shared commitment to empowering communities through excellent art. It is this vision that has led us to design the "School to Stage" program, a partnership which will give kids across this city access to the excellent dance opportunities they have often been systematically denied."
NOBT seeks to build on the success of its pilot project in upcoming academic years by replicating its School to Stage dance program in additional institutions throughout the Greater New Orleans area and the surrounding region. In order to achieve this, NOBT looks to partner with area schools and other institutions and will pursue grants, sponsorships and other fundraising activities through its development operations to cover the cost of presenting these additional School to Stage programs in its partner institutions.
Participants in NOBT’s School to Stage program will...
● Gain a foundational understanding of ballet, including knowledge of basic ballet terminology.
● Increase their confidence and self-awareness by honing their performance skills.
● Improve their GPA’s and character scores.
● Acquire an appreciation for the art of ballet. Children’s ballet classes at Schramel Conservatory of Dance.
METRICS OF SUCCESS
Tracking the success of NOBT’s School to Stage program is integral to achieving our vision of transforming communities through excellent art. To that end, we conduct three formal evaluations throughout the year: a pre-evaluation prior to the first session, a mid-term evaluation after the third session, and a final evaluation after the last session. The pre-evaluation consists of a written ballet terminology assessment, as well as a written survey, which is given to the three primary stakeholders: students, parents, and administrators. We also collect academic data about the participants, specifically GPA and character scorecards.
The mid-term evaluation consists of the same written ballet terminology assessment administered during the pre-evaluation, with a goal of 80% of students achieving 80% mastery. We continue tracking student GPA and character growth, with a goal of 50% of students increasing their GPA by ½ a point, and their character scores by 1 point. The final evaluation consists of the same written ballet terminology assessment, with a goal of 100% of students achieving 80% mastery and 80% of students having increased their GPA by ½ a point and their character scores by 1 point. The final evaluation also includes a demo class and performance, to which parents are invited. A final survey will be given to the students, parents, and administration.