Atlanta Ballet (Atlanta, GA)


Close-up of young girls in red leotards rehearsing a spanish dance. One girl is holding a flamenco fan

The final performance for the Atlanta Ballet and Latin American Association's Dance and Cultural Initiative.
Photo by Kim Kenney

Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet began as the Dorothy Alexander Concert Group, rehearsing in Alexander's garage, and grew into one of the nation's premier professional ballet companies and the oldest continually operating ballet company in the U.S.  In addition to the exceptional dance artistry of its performances, which annually reach more than 100,000 people, Atlanta Ballet also offers innovative community and educational programming, benefiting 75,000 children each year in Atlanta's low-income neighborhoods.

In FY 2005, Atlanta Ballet received an NEA Summer Schools in the Arts grant of $30,000 for their Dance and Cultural Initiative Summer Program.  Reaching 120 students ages 6-18, this tuition-free program is designed for at-risk Latino youths in the Atlanta area.  For eight weeks during the summer, students work six hours a day, four days a week, in classes designed to teach them dance skills and about the Hispanic culture.  Dance classes are designed for beginners and offered in a variety of styles, including ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, flamenco, and Capoeira.  Students' dance skills are showcased at the end of the program in a final performance attended by families and members of the Latino community.  In addition to dance classes, students also can take classes in studio art, English language, the history of dance, and the influence of Latino artists on dance and music. 

Atlanta Ballet also developed a special course on Conflict Resolution/Leadership to address the growing pressure by gangs among middle and high school students.  The program is designed to strengthen the students' confidence and their sense of belonging within the community, improving their abilities to think creatively and respond positively to peer pressure.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)