Milwaukee Ballet: A 50th Anniversary Partnership Profile

Exposing children to the arts is an important piece of the Next Door educational experience.

On June 25, 2019, around 100 Next Door students were able enhance their arts education with a captivating visit from ten dancers with Milwaukee Ballet – one of Next Door’s community partners for its 50th Anniversary in 2019.

“All of the children – from not quite yet two years through age four – were in awe of the strength and beauty of the dancers, and even more excited by the opportunity to practice some of the moves themselves,” said Sandy Gadzichowski, a Next Door Education Manager who helped plan this visit.

The Milwaukee Ballet sent the dancers and the company’s Director of Community Engagement, Alyson Chavez, to Next Door as part of its Ballet Beat program.

The month-long summer outreach tour offers a chance for the ballet to reach deeper into the Milwaukee area during its off-season and bring professional dancers into a variety of community spaces spanning generations.

“Connecting communities through inspiring performances and community engagement is a core component of Milwaukee Ballet’s mission,” said Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink.

Ballet Beat gives us the opportunity to take dance OUT into the streets. This series of pop-up performances and workshops will introduce the diversity and skills of our dancers to the community at large. This will be a first-time experience for many, and we hope it will inspire a little curiosity and create their first step towards an appreciation of dance and the arts,” Pink said.

During the program at Next Door, classrooms rotated in and out of a performance space allowing for smaller group presentations.

Each session began with story time led by Alyson. She read books including “Dance” by Bill T. Jones, “Brontorina” by James Howe, and “Dogs Don’t Do Ballet” by Anna Kemp.

The dancers each introduced themselves and shared what they love about ballet.

Students learned how ballet shoes work and had a chance to feel them.

A display of ballet costumes was part of the presentation as well.

The children enjoyed several demonstrations of ballet poses and moves, and had a chance to get some lessons, too. Pictured below are students from Ms. Sheila’s class and they did fantastic job!

To view more pictures from the visit, click HERE for a photo gallery from Next Door’s Facebook page.

Next Door is proud to partner with Milwaukee Ballet during its 50th Anniversary in 2019.

In addition to Ballet Beat, the Milwaukee Ballet hosted a book drive to support Next Door’s Books for Kids program during its run of Midsummer Night’s Dream from May 30 to June 2, 2019.

During this milestone year, we are partnering with 50 community organizations and businesses to help support our work at Next Door. If you’re interested in partnering with us, click HERE to learn more.