Neglia Ballet Artists began CityDance in 2001 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mark’s Family Foundation and through corporate support. CityDance is modeled after other successful partnerships between professional ballet companies and public schools, such as Dance Chance run by the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Dance in Schools run by the San Francisco Ballet.
The CityDance program allows children in the Buffalo Public Schools to learn about dance through lecture and demonstrations, live performances, and dance classes at their schools. Children with particular talent and interest, are offered scholarships from the Jose Neglia Scholarship Fund for ongoing instruction at the Neglia Conservatory of Ballet.
Over 23,500 school children have enjoyed Neglia Ballet Artists “On School Time” productions of Romeo & Juliet, Spartacus, Don Quixote, Baba Yaga, and The Nutcracker. These shows are a key component of our community outreach and audience development. For many, our “On School Time” productions are a first introduction to the world of dance. Eileen Buckley, WBFO, most recently interviewed Buffalo Public School students and teacher from BPS#74 who commented on their great experience after watching Baba Yaga and how On School Time shows fit into the Common Core curriculum (Click here to hear the full story). After our performance of The Nutcracker, Jean Polino, Principal of the Drew Science Magnet wrote: “This experience may be the only time they see classical ballet. I suspect that your generous gift to our students has spurred an interest in the arts that will continue for a lifetime.”
Dance is an integral part of any region’s cultural vibrancy, and there is no richer tradition in dance than that of ballet.
We know from past years that Buffalo school children, many of them highly disadvantaged, respond enthusiastically to the opportunity to learn about dance, see a world-class dance production, and take classes from skilled instructors.
Shalymar Perez, a scholarship student for nine years, is one of our most promising students.She learned about dance through our CityDance program at Herman Badillo Academy when she saw a Neglia Ballet Artists “On School Time.” She then attended the free classes offered at Herman Badillo through our CityDance program and shortly after received a full scholarship to study at the Neglia Conservatory of Ballet.
At the time she was 8 years old. In the nine years that she has studied at the Conservatory, Shalymar has performed roles in many of Neglia Ballet Artists productions including the corps de ballet of The Nutcracker. Shalymar was recently accepted to Pointe Park University, which has one of the top programs in the nation for dance, where she will continue her dance studies in the fall.
Goals and Objectives