Pacific Northwest Ballet's DanceChance program strives to reach into the community and discover talented, Seattle-area elementary school students. Children who show they have the physical ability to become professional dancers are provided with classical training, allowing them the opportunity they might not otherwise have to pursue a dance career. Students attend classes twice a week on full tuition scholarship with dance attire, transportation and complimentary tickets to company performances provided.
performs tendu at the barre.
DanceChance began in 1994 and was designed by Francia Russell, Co-Artistic Director and Director of PNB School. In Russell's words: "It is our hope that exposing these talented kids to classical ballet and other forms of dance will open up new worlds for them. Few, if any, of them would ever have known about their talent without the DanceChance program and some might never have found a productive passion in life. We feel confident that they will repay us through the fresh and diverse influence they will have on the future of our art form."
In the fall, the DanceChance screening team visits partner schools to audition third-grade students. Students are selected on the basis of their musicality, physical ability and coordination. The Introductory Session runs for 9 weeks from October through December. A select number of students who demonstrate strong interest, talent and willingness are invited to continue their training in the spring. Students study ballet fundamentals as well as character dance, modern and jazz.
DanceChanceSecond Year and Beyond
Children who show interest and promise are invited to continue as second-year students, focusing on classical ballet as well as character dance, modern and jazz. Students attend classes twice a week; once on a regular school day and once on Saturday. In their third year, students join regular PNB School classes. The DanceChance students have auditioned for and been placed in such company productions as PNB's Nutcracker and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
DanceChance Boys in Modern class.
Evaluation and assessment of DanceChance children by DanceChance faculty and staff is an ongoing, multi-faceted effort. A child's continuation is based on his/her talent, interest and willingness to participate. These three categories indicate a match between the child's needs and DanceChance's ability to meet them.
DanceChance on the Eastside
Since the opening of the Francia Russell Center in Bellevue in 2002, Pacific Northwest Ballet has looked forward to the expansion of the DanceChance program to talented students on the Eastside. In the Fall of 2004, DanceChance began it's partnership with six Bellevue School District Schools to offer classical ballet training to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity. Students attend classes twice a week at the Francia Russell Center and are provided with full tuition scholarships, dance attire, transportation and tickets to PNB performances.
Are you a former DanceChance student?
We'd love to hear your story and find out where you have gone in life! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org