BalletMet: Using Momentum to Build Momentum in Children's Lives
You may already associate BalletMet with our professional company and our instructional dance academy, but did you know that BalletMet is very active in the Columbus community through educational dance programs in local schools?
Momentum is a part of BalletMet's DanceReach Residencies. Through the Momentum Program, students engage in music, movement, and choreography in order to build confidence, excellence, and discipline. Classes are held weekly for students in grades third through fifth in seven different Columbus and Hilliard elementary schools during the school year. The students have two performances. One is in their school's gymnasium mid-year whereas the year-end performance is at the Capitol Theatre downtown.
Approximately 400 students, who have been preparing since late September with the help of Momentum administrator Monica Kridler, dance teachers and accompanists, will present their hard work at their year-end performance on May 26th. This year's production has a health and fitness theme and was inspired by The Wizard of Oz. The main concepts are eating right, staying active and sleeping well in order to be fit for life. In the show, Dorothy has become a lazy couch potato. With the help of the students, she learns what it takes to live a healthy life.
I visited Weinland Park Elementary to watch as a group of third graders polished up their dance for the production. All 400 students will dance to the opening song as well as the finale. The show is comprised of dances which showcase each individual school. Weinland students will be dancing to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which demonstrates the importance of sleep to a healthy lifestyle.
The energetic students started their class with warm-up exercises that consisted of clapping, stomping, and stretching. Janine, the students' Momentum dance teacher, instructed students to mimic her movements and follow her commands. The kids seemed to really enjoy the exercises, which are not only a good way to warm up but also a good way to practice movements that are in the dance.
Children, who otherwise might not have the opportunity, are gaining access to dance and music through Momentum and similar BalletMet educational programs. Not only that, but these students are learning discipline and excellence through dance. The mission of BalletMet's Education and Community Programs is to provide quality dance experiences that are informative, inspirational, and accessible so that the entire community may appreciate and enjoy the art of dance.
BalletMet Momentum participants are working hard and getting excited to perform for friends, family and community leaders on May 26th.