Sarasota, FL (May 4th, 2020) – The Sarasota Ballet announces today that, in its support of the local community, it will continue offering free online classes for all its Education programs through to the end of the school year. This will allow students in The Sarasota Ballet School, Margaret Barbieri Conservatory, and Dance – The Next Generation to continue practicing dance virtually.
“Since March 30, we have offered over 50 live classes per week via Zoom at no cost to all of our families.” says Christopher Hird, Education Director. “I am delighted that these classes will remain free of charge until the end of May. Many of our families are currently struggling financially, and I know how much they have appreciated the opportunity to continue dancing with us and maintain their connections with our inspirational teachers. This is a wonderful way to express our gratitude for their support of The Sarasota Ballet, and it shows how invested we are in our Education programs.”
The classes reach students from as young as 3 in The Sarasota Ballet School, Trainees at the Margaret Barbieri Conservatory, and students in our Adult Program. The classes are taught by the Education faculty, led by Hird as well as Assistant Education Director, Dierdre Miles Burger, with other classes taught by Sue Peterson, Patricia Strauss, Sarah Krazit, and Marlena Abaza. In addition, Principal Dancer of The Sarasota Ballet Kate Honea and Assistant Ballet Master Octavio Martin have been giving special master classes.
“We’re so grateful for these online classes for the kids,” praises Jennifer Nzeza, parent of Aurora, a Sarasota Ballet School student. “The Sarasota Ballet has created a positive solution for what could have been a distressing and unnerving dilemma. We appreciate the access to such a robust schedule, so my child can continue her dance education without missing a beat. This source of joy and physical activity has been crucial in these difficult times, and it’s especially put us at ease for classes to be offered free of cost.”
The Sarasota Ballet’s drop-out prevention program, Dance – The Next Generation, is also offering its students free online ballet classes and opportunities to learn more about the arts through specially guided content. Dance – The Next Generation Program Director Lisa Townsend has been organizing these efforts to ensure an engaging and enriching curriculum.
“With everything going on these past couple months, there’s been so much to worry about,” says Janine Arguello, DNG Parent of Sofia. “With The Sarasota Ballet stepping up to offer this program at this time, we have one less source of concern, as we know our child can continue to receive the support that has helped them thrive. Thank you, Ms. Townsend, for giving us this sense of stability and comfort at a time when it’s so deeply needed.”
About The Sarasota Ballet
Since 1990, the mission of The Sarasota Ballet has been enriching lives, captivating emotions, and strengthening the community through the art of dance. Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb, Executive Director Joseph Volpe, and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri, The Sarasota Ballet has received national and international recognition for its diverse repertoire of rarely performed ballets, as well as the integrity and artistry of its performances. The Company’s expanded repertoire includes works by world-renowned choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Sir Matthew Bourne, Dame Ninette de Valois, Michel Fokine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Rudolf Nureyev, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor, and Christopher Wheeldon. During Webb’s tenure, The Sarasota Ballet has been invited to perform twice at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and twice at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, as well as week-long residencies at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater in New York. In May 2017 The Sarasota Ballet performed at the inaugural National Choreographic Festival in Salt Lake City and in August of 2018 returned to the Joyce Theater for another sold out week-long residency.