My Secret Bully

A Ballet of Caring, Support, and Resources

Article by Linda Bolander

Photography by Amanda Tipton Photography

Originally published in Broomfield Lifestyle

The mission of Colorado Conservatory of Dance (CCD), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is to “unleash individual potential and invigorate community through dance.” On February 25th CCD will bring this mission fully to bear at a free public performance of My Secret Bully, Anti-Bullying: Holistic Wellness Program. Curtain rises at 4:00 p.m. at the Broomfield Auditorium.

The internet has made bullying more visible and much more dangerous. The National Bullying Prevention Center reports that 20% of students reports being bullied, and 14.5% of tweens experience cyberbullying—and are 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-victimized peers.

The performance is a partnership between CCD, The Denver Young Artists Orchestra, and YouthSeen, an organization that offers social and emotional learning and support for youth and their families, especially in the LGBTQI community. This performance is inspired by the book, My Secret Bully, by Trudy Ludwig with and music for the program was composed by Florence Price, the first African-American woman to have her work performed by a major orchestra.

The purpose is not to “clap back,” but to offer tools for targets to stand up for themselves and give bullies tools for building empathy and kindness. It’s also intended to empower the bystanders in a bullying situation to move past being just an observer. A quote by Maya Angelou could have been made for this performance: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

This performance was created in the same light as The Ugly Duckling by Robert Millswhich was performed by CCD student dancers in area schools for over 30,000 school children between 2006 and 2011. CCD credits YouthSeen with providing a deeper social and emotional wellness message, pre- and post-performance discussion materials and resources, and wellness referral contacts for My Secret Bully.

Julia Wilkinson Manley, Artistic Director for CCD, says, “A great deal of passion has gone into the creation of this work. Deep thinking and feeling on the part of the dancers, insight from our collaborator and advisor Dr. Tara Jae with YouthSeen, and even a student conversation with the author have been blended into a work created with great love and care.”

To experience this moving and beautiful ballet, get your free tickets at While you’re in ticket-buying mode, save the date to join the April 29th Blossom Ball Fundraiser at the Gatehouse at Lionsgate Event Center. Proceeds will support CCD’s entire community outreach and arts education programming, serving over 22,000 students annually. Please visit for Blossom Ball tickets/information.

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