Classical Ballet Theatre Students Share Their Love of Dance
Classical Ballet Theatre (CBT) students enjoy sharing their love of dance with others—both near and far. This month they are forwarding dance shoes and attire to Mzansi Productions in South Africa. A professional performing arts company, Mzansi Productions provides dance instruction to less fortunate children. Currently, their myriad outreach programs involve over 200 boys and girls, ages 5 to 13.
CBT has a unique connection with these South African children through one of its former students, Nathan Chaney. Nathan, now a young man dancing with the Zurich Ballet, is enjoying a very successful and rewarding dance career. One of his most memorable experiences was performing before the kind and supportive audiences in South Africa, where he not only won the 2010 Cape Town International Ballet Competition, but also returned as a guest artist in 2011.
As a guest artist, Nathan actively participated in various dance outreach programs and, through these programs, gained a deep appreciation for his personal fortunate circumstances. While he never had to think about whether he would have money for a good education or dance lessons, much less food for dinner, he met impoverished children who struggled daily to meet their basic needs. Although they struggled, these children found immense joy in dancing, even in bare feet and on dirt floors. Their situation and enthusiasm inspired Nathan to spearhead an effort to provide outreach programs with dance attire, so that these children may find additional joy and promise in owning a pair of ballet slippers or a leotard. Nathan sees this as one small way to give back to a community that he found immensely nurturing, and he hopes that it will further inspire these children to continue dancing, with the hope that dance will also provide them life opportunities.
CBT students are excited to join Nathan in helping the South African children, as they know the children will benefit in many ways. They will make new friends, learn an art form, acquire self-discipline, and open their minds to brighter futures. As one outreach program volunteer noted, “Whereas food, safety, [and] a place to sleep was the priority with these children, they now want to become ballet dancers, doctors, politicians, astronauts, and even president.”
Classical Ballet Theatre (CBT) is a not-for-profit organization, with a three-fold mission to provide education, performance, and outreach opportunities in the performing arts to Northern Virginia and the surrounding communities. For more information about CBT and its upcoming performances—An Evening of Contemporary Dance, Ballet and Bordeaux, and Swan Lake--please visit http://www.cbtnva.org.