Miami City Ballet Launches Groundbreaking Program to Miami-Dade County Public School Children — Ballet Bus

A full scholarship, long-term investment in young people, creating a new model for national arts experiences for underserved communities

 MIAMI BEACH, FL – (August 28, 2015) – On September 8, the very first day of Miami City Ballet School’s school-year program, two buses will pick up 21 children from their elementary schools on the Biscayne Boulevard corridor, North Miami Beach, and Miami Beach and take them to their new after-school dance classes at MCB Studios. But this is just the beginning – these children will receive full scholarships at MCB School for up to 10 years per child – an extraordinary and long-term investment in the young people of Miami-Dade County.

Presented in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, BALLET BUS is a groundbreaking new program created by Miami City Ballet to eliminate the most difficult barrier to young children from underserved communities participating in the arts – transportation. By providing the transportation to Miami City Ballet’s 63,000 square foot state of the art facility on Miami Beach, MCB is opening new avenues for personal growth, exploration and transformation for these young children.

The students, ages 7-10, are part of this brand new, and one-of-a-kind outreach initiative designed to provide children from Title I schools with a full scholarship for exceptional dance training. Serving as a gateway into the arts, the nine-month, 34-week program affords students the training needed to excel at MCB School, one of the nation’s most respected dance academies. The invaluable opportunity to engage with critically acclaimed teachers and artists is fully subsidized by Miami City Ballet, and includes everything from dance attire to healthy snacks, water bottles and ballet shoes. Scholarship students will be completely integrated into the MCB School student body, and each year, the students will be evaluated and have the opportunity to move on to the next level of study. This program represents a long-term investment in each child, as we hope these young dancers will be part of this scholarship program through graduation from high school – that is, approximately 10-12 years of study for each child.

“Ballet changed my life from the age of five, and it continues to do so, to this day. We want to transform and inspire young people in our community in meaningful and lasting ways through the power of the performing arts, and specifically classical ballet,” said MCB Artistic Director and Chairman of MCB School, Lourdes Lopez.

BALLET BUS is structured around proven studies that demonstrate how early exposure to the performing arts enhances young people’s academic achievement, social development and likelihood of graduation. The program is based on both merit and need – identifying talent and potential, and fostering a nurturing and supportive environment to encourage natural ability through classical training.

Darleen Callaghan, MCB School Director, said, “It has always been my dream to offer scholarships, transportation and opportunity to children in our community who would not otherwise have the resources to train at a professional ballet school. To give them the chance to experience the benefits of dance training and to carry those life skills into their adult lives will truly be impactful. This is what Ballet Bus can offer these children.”

“We are thrilled about the launch of Ballet Bus and the partnership between Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Miami City Ballet,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of our students. The arts, including dance, are an integral facet of life and contribute immensely to student achievement and social development.”

Enrollment in MCB School allows access to the very best classical ballet training as well as a clear career path for gifted students. More than 50 percent of current dancers in the professional company are graduates of the School, proving it is opening new avenues of both personal and professional development for all 900 students enrolled in this year’s student body.

BALLET BUS is made possible by the generous support of individuals, foundations, and corporations in our local community including Eugene and Jean Stark; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners with additional support provided by the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs program, and the Cultural Arts Council; The Children’s Trust: a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County by making strategic investments in their future; The Miami Foundation; and Comerica Bank. Neiman Marcus Coral Gables is the official corporate sponsor of BALLET BUS with funding provided from the Heart of Neiman Marcus foundation.