The Charlotte Youth Ballet (CYB) was created by Gay Porter in 1981 with the goal of bringing young dancers from any studio in the Charlotte area together to experience an opportunity to perform alongside professional dancers in full-length productions. In keeping with this mission, CYB also offers its young dancers tremendously inspirational and enriching opportunities each year to introduce classical ballet to diverse audiences.
This goal has been carried out through several programs primarily divided into two categories.
· The Nutcracker – (November – December) For this classic favorite production, professional dancers collaborate with and mentor student dancers in various roles; all supporting cast is developed from Charlotte area student dancers aged 8-25. Each season the choreography is updated and adapted by Artistic Director Gay Porter to showcase the individual talents of these cast members, adding an innovative and unique freshness to CYB production. Currently, the professional dancers have been contracted from Mauro Ballet, Puerto Rico, which enhances the experience for CYB student dancers by offering cross-cultural exposure as well.
· A Storybook Classic – (April) This second major production is an annual ballet performance pulled from a classic and well-loved storybook and presented to both student and public audiences. CYB believes it is a familiar story that can help captivate the attention and renders a presentation that without words, is understandable, enjoyable and stirs emotion.
Outreach (funded through grants, corporate and patron giving):
· Scholarships – Through donations each year, deserving students who would not otherwise have the financial resources to participate in CYB productions, are awarded scholarships which offset their performance fees.
· Ticket Donations – The Board is committed to continuing its tradition of ticket donations for underserved members of our community.
· Girl Scouts – Each year Girl Scouts partner with CYB to attend performances at reduced ticket rates and participate in activities, designed with our student dancers, to cultivate an appreciation for performing arts. They receive achievement badges provided by the CYB.
· Lasting Impressions - This community outreach program brings classical ballet classes directly to underserved students in Title 1 schools. These students, who otherwise would have limited to no access to ballet classes, receive free weekly ballet classes, shoes, tights, leotards and costumes as well as all equipment necessary for instruction.
· Senior Tickets – Each year CYB offers seniors in the Charlotte area steeply reduced tickets to our matinée performances.
In direct alliance with our mission to bring the art of dance to diverse audiences, CYB’s target audience is two-fold. First, free and reduced tickets are offered to school students, disadvantaged families and elderly groups in an effort to reach financially challenged segments in our community. Second, through media exposure that highlights our unique combination of youth and professional performers, we seek to attract newcomers of all ages to experience this dynamic art form. Through the ethnic diversity of our student youth performers and our professional guest artists, it is hopeful that cultural barriers may be lessened among their peers as well as in the community at large.
Carmel Christian School, a South Charlotte school, has an extensive Arts program for all ages including theater, band, choir, Ignite Worship Bands for middle school and high school students, dance and elementary music.
Last year, high school students performed Robin Hood. In 2022 they will perform 'Singin in the Rain'. Tickets will be on sale in February for the March 4 and 5 event.
The musical, Annie Jr., was performed by middle school students on November 5 and 6, 2021, produced by Christina McCorkle, directed by and with the musical direction of Stefanie Spruill, and choreography by Brandy Caton.
Fifth grade students are excited about performing the musical, 'Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon Kids' on April 1 and 2, 2022. For more information about the school and any of these performances please visit carmelchristian.org.