What is CityDance?
Neglia Ballet’s Outreach Program: CityDance aims to increase long-term access to arts instruction, specifically in dance, for youth living in under-resourced communities of Buffalo.
Through CityDance, during the academic school day, groups of Buffalo Public School third-grade students are bussed (or walk) from their school to Neglia’s studios, where they are immersed in series of dance classes. Once the workshop is complete, students demonstrate what they’ve learned for their schoolmates back at their schools.
Students who show particular interest or potential in dance are offered scholarships to continue their training at Neglia Ballet during the summer and fall. Some students who show serious interest and commitment may receive financial support to continue ballet for multiple years, carrying them through high school graduation fully prepared to audition for colleges or ballet companies.
History of CityDance
Neglia Ballet began CityDance in 2001 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mark’s Family Foundation and through corporate support. Originally, CityDance was 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 operated by the San Francisco Ballet.
From 2001-2015 the model enabled Neglia to provide over 25,000 students with the opportunity to experience professional ballet and participate in free workshops. In 2016, the program was revised to have a deeper impact on its participants while continuing to expose thousands of students a year to live ballet performances at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
CityDance relies on funding from individual and foundation support, and government grants.
Performances at Shea’s
Another aspect of making ballet accessible to everyone, is FREE viewings of ballet performances at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Over the years up to 30,000 Buffalo Public School children have seen Neglia Ballet’s live professional performances, such as “Baba Yaga” on the historic Shea’s stage at no cost. For many, this is their first exposure to ballet and it inspires them to explore the arts and dance.
Shalymar was a scholarship student for 9 years. She learned about dance through our CityDance program at Herman Badillo Academy when she saw a Neglia Ballet “On School Time” production. She then attended the free classes offered at Herman Badillo through our CityDance program and received a full scholarship to study at the Neglia Conservatory of Ballet. In the 9 years that she studied with us, Shalymar performed roles in many of our professional productions, including the corps de ballet of The Nutcracker. She was later accepted to Pointe Park University, one of the top dance programs in the nation.
Arts Program Coordinator
This summer, 10 students from Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction #61: Home of the Arts were selected to participate in The Neglia Ballet Summer Workshop. The week-long intensive introduced our students to the basic elements of dance and ballet. At the end of the week, School 61 students had an opportunity to perform a Demonstration Class on August 25th at The Buffalo Summer Youth Arts Celebration (Buffalo Arts Studio). The Neglia Ballet Studio gave each student a Certificate of Completion as well as scholarships to continue ballet in the fall. We are so grateful for our partnership with The Neglia Ballet Studio and for the opportunities they have given our students.