The lecture-demonstration is one
way that Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre fulfills its mission -- to bring
the art form to underserved children and adults who may have never had the
opportunity to see ballet. Schools (especially Title 1) or community centers request or are offered a free lecture - demonstration. Lecture-demos have been done for kinder through college-aged students, adults and seniors. Groups have ranged in size from 10 to 500.
The executive and artistic directors and several dancers (4-10) go to the school or center and set up barres and sound systems in a space- either the gymnasium or cafeteria or stage- any large are available for the company's use. The executive director speaks for 5 minutes on the history of dance, and then the dancers take their places at the ballet barres. A 14-minute version of the typical 90-minute long class is presented, with each exercise explained as to the purpose in developing a dancer. Exercises at the ballet barre, in the center, leaps and turns across the floor, are all demonstrated.
While the dancers change into costumes, the executive director talks about choreography, ballet companies, the presentation of ballet on stage, pointe shoes and costumes. The dancers then perform variations or short solos, as well as pas de duex (dance for two) from the great ballets throughout history, with an explanation of the story of the ballet, what the variation depicts, and its place in history. Examples of variations currently in the AABT’s lecture-demonstration repertoire are: Peasant Pas de Duex from “Giselle”, The Lilac Fairy and Aurora from “The Sleeping Beauty”, Swanhilda’s variation from “Coppelia”, the Gypsy variation from “La Esmeralda”, as well as several original ballets choreographed by AABT artistic staff.
Finally, the dancers move into the audience to answer questions, interact with the audience members and sign autographs.
A goal of the lecture-demonstration is to have the schools who participate also bring their students to one of AABT’s in theatre free children’s performances. Then, the children see the results of the class produced on the stage with costumes, scenery and lighting.
Community outreach has and will continue to be the backbone of Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre. I invite you to join us in our efforts to bring ballet to those who might not experience it otherwise.