Ballet San Jose | BALLET IS ESPECIALLY FUN AT BALLET SAN JOSE’S EDUCATIONAL MATINEE FOR CINDERELLA
On Saturday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) Ballet San Jose presented a very special Educational Matinee performance of Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose. Over 1,400 attended, many of them invited children and their families from local underserved elementary schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, The Shelter Network, Santa Clara County Adoptive and Foster Parent Association, and from Community Arts and History Support Group. For many of these families, it was the first time they have ever seen a ballet, and it was free! But the fun started long before the curtain even went up.
Activities for the children abounded in front of, and throughout the venue. A “Royal Ball Dance Class” taught by Ballet San Jose School instructor Elizabeth Hutter and several Professional Track students drew lots of would be dancers in front of the theater. The children learned basic ballet posture and foot positions, and got a lesson in the waltz with live music from school accompanist Cliff Rawson playing Sergei Prokofiev’s score from the ballet.
Inside the Stage Café on the main level of the lobby, student dancer Kelly Rafey, dressed in Cinderella’s Act I costume, read the story to children and their parents, and posed for photos.
Upstairs on the mezzanine level, young girls decorated Cinderella’s slipper (in reality, brand new toe shoes) with sparkles and jewels and colored markers while the boys decorated Prince Charming’s crown. (The line for this event went around the entire lobby ramp and the volunteers had to open up again at both intermissions to accommodate all the would-be artists.) Special workbooks with coloring pages, puzzles, and a lesson in ballet pantomime were passed out to the children as a gift for them to take home.
And just so the adults had something to do, BSJ Artistic Consultant Wes Chapman gave an pre-performance talk in the Ridder Lounge where he spoke of his life in ballet, the production of Cinderella (he was Prince Charming in the American Ballet Theatre production in 1997), and gave a few sneak previews of next season’s productions and upcoming Company Dancer Promotions.
All of the activities were free to ticket holders. Ballet San Jose has received funding for its Education and Outreach programming from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Comerica Charitable Foundation, and Ballet San Jose’s Board of Trustees.