Poets and Pirates, the return of Storybook Ballet

As Free Arts eased back into in-person programming, this year’s Storybook Ballet was reimagined with the health and safety of participating children at top of mind. Our arts and culture partners, Dance Theater West and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, collaborated with the participants from two different partner agencies, showcasing spoken word poetry through dance and a mixed-media visual arts exhibit. This twist on the traditional Storybook Ballet became “Poets and Pirates.”

Led by teaching artists Myrlin Hepworth, children from Sacred Journey used their own experiences to imagine their version of Neverland. They were prompted to write poems exploring creativity, fantasy, and dreaming. The children then recorded their poems, and students from Dance Theater West created movements to their recorded voices.

Both artistic visions were presented at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Developed in the previous week, the visual arts pieces were put on display at the performance art center. One child from Sacred Journey in the spoken word Professional Artist Series stated that “…the expression to write freely” is what she liked best about the program.

More than 100 guests showed up to encourage and support the participants. Free Arts also provided each child attendee an individual art kit with an intentional project that allowed further exploration into dreams and imagination. The kits included materials to create a personal keepsake treasure chest to store their hopes and dreams while continuing their journey toward resilience. Over 60 art kits were taken home by children and young adults at the end of the performance. Free Arts looks forward to continued collaboration with our arts and culture partners to provide unique and expressive artistic opportunities for the children we serve.

Young adults at North Star Independent Living Services also imagined a fantasy world through intentional artwork. Facilitated by teaching artist Kristin Wesley, participants used mixed media arts to create a collaborative piece of art that told a story of fantasy, hope, and resilience through their eyes.

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