Since its founding in 1972, Oklahoma City Ballet has been the city’s professional ballet company, boasting talented dancers from around the world.
As the resident dance company of the Civic Center Music Hall, the company produces four main-stage productions per season in Oklahoma City in addition to touring across Oklahoma and surrounding states.
But beyond that, the Oklahoma City Ballet also offers dance classes for all ages and skill levels through The Oklahoma City Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School as well as multiple community engagement programs to encourage artistry and athleticism in students across the state.
"OKC Ballet is like a three-legged stool - we have the Performing Arts section; we have the school, which educates to the highest quality; and the third part is our community engagement," said Lestari Kusumawardani, marketing director.
"Our mission is to make the ballet more accessible to everybody. For some kids, arts isn't accessible, so we want to provide that for them. We work with Boys and Girls Club for no charge and have numerous outreach programs to the community for free."
FREE COMMUNITY PROGRAMS
The OKC Ballet also offers free Community Programs not just for youth, but for senior citizens and those who have Parkinson's.
"All of our community programs are free. Our mission is to make the ballet more accessible to everybody - all ages, all abilities, physical or emotional and mental abilities. We do that by having a couple of like dance classes geared towards giving people a chance to dance," said Kusumawardani.
"We work with physical therapists and psychologists o make sure that we, understand all abilities. For our Parkinson's Class, we work with the Parkinson's Foundation of Oklahoma to make able to make this happen."
The OKC Ballet also offers a free performance day for all children in Oklahoma.
The Youth Community Programs offered by OKC Ballet include:
The BalletReach program is built on the idea that ballet should be available to everyone. OKC Ballet sends BalletReach instructors to schools and to five different Boys and Girls Clubs for students to receive hands-on training. Through this program, the company aims to remove barriers to entry and make the art of ballet accessible to every child.
ArtsReach brings the arts into the classrooms of over 4,000 students each year through an eight-week deep dive into the world of ballet and its history. The ArtsReach curriculum consists of engaging internet resources and materials that demonstrate the evolution of ballet through the centuries and provides students with a foundational knowledge of the art form and its relevance today.
BalletKids Club was created with the intent to remove obstacles that may prevent children and teens from experiencing the art of live ballet performance. Through partnerships with local nonprofits across Oklahoma City, children are given the chance to attend one of OKC Ballet's professional company’s performances for free.
For many children and teens involved, BalletKids Club offers their first-ever exposure to live performing art.
Chance to Dance
Chance to Dance is designed to be inclusive for children ages 7 and up of varying physical and developmental abilities. The goal of Chance to Dance is to provide an opportunity for community, artistic expression, and learning for all children
YOUTH DANCE CLASSES
The Yvonne Chouteau School is the official school of Oklahoma City Ballet offering classes for students ages 3 to adult from beginner to advanced levels.
The OKC Ballet instructors incorporate the best of the French, Italian, and Russian training methods. The ballet classes are accompanied by professional pianists and conducted in a supportive environment that fosters the development of proper technique as well as confidence, poise, coordination, and personal well-being.
"We do provide scholarships, so we try to make it more accessible for everyone," said Kusumawardani.
For more information, visit okcballet.org.