Mary Callis, executive director of Garrett Lakes Arts Festival, and Jennifer Christophel, executive director of Dancing Classrooms of the Alleghenies, have partnered to provide funding for the future dance programs that will be offered in the schools. The current project will be written to accommodate any age group or level, but for the 2020-21 proposed project, Ballet Theatre was asked to gear it toward the fourth grade.
The project will be presented by Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Ballet Theatre of Maryland is Maryland’s only fully professional ballet company, and is based in Annapolis. The company was founded in 1988 by Edward Stewart, who was the artistic director until his death in 2002. Since then, the company has been directed by Dianna Cuatto.
It is a professional company that aims to inspire the audience through the transforming power of American dance. Energy, athleticism, dynamism and passion are classic American dance ideals that move their dancers to achieve higher levels of artistry and skill, whether through the drama of contemporary pieces or by making classic ballet storytelling come to life.
Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Dance in Motion Project is designed to provide third- to fourth-graders with “hands-on” experience through dance, where they will explore a wide range of cultural dance styles and how those styles have impacted the evolution of classical ballet since the American renaissance of classical dance.
During a three-day workshop, students will experience the basics of classical ballet, Irish step dancing, Latino and Flamenco rhythms, African-American jazz and blues, and more. They will also work with BTM’s faculty to create their own choreography in one of these styles, which they will perform with BTM’s professional dancers in an assembly called “A Cultural Journey Through Classical Dance.”
The assembly will be performed on the final day of the project at least twice for Garrett County schools. The project is being planned in area schools for November 2020.
The Garrett Lakes Arts Festival is funded by donors and grant funders such as Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Garrett County Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council and Maryland Humanities.