Each fall for the past 18 years, Free Arts has partnered with Dance Theater West (DTW) to recreate DTW’s Storybook Ballet production featuring Free Arts children. Our beloved partnership continued last September, when more than 20 Free Arts children performed alongside DTW dancers at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Director Susie Silverman and her dancers worked with the Free Arts children and teens, teaching them the choreography for their big scene in a special performance of Sleeping Beauty. Admission to the final show was free and open to the public, and the audience of nearly 400 people included Free Arts child welfare partner agencies as well as the performers’ friends and families.
In addition to the ballet, the Dayton Fowler Grafman Atrium featured an art exhibit created in a Free Arts Professional Artist Series and entitled Out of the Woods. Out of the Woods was created by ten teens from a Free Arts partner agency and led by professional teaching artist Shari Keith. The pieces were mixed media art projects that prompted the teens to reflect on their internal struggles and how they are working to overcome adversity. The pieces were well received, and audience members enjoyed engaging with one of the teen artists whose work was included in the exhibit and who attended Storybook Ballet, learning that this was the first time that he’d created art and that he hopes to do much more!
At the end of the performance, audience members were invited to engage in a multitude of art activities, including creating popsicle stick ballerinas, coloring enchanted castles, and wearing leaf covered crowns that they made in the atrium. Free Arts volunteer mentors and corporate volunteers from Topgolf, Tether Tools, and Mr. Cooper supported children in these activities. One volunteer noted, “I had the chance to walk to each activity with one child and we worked on each project together. I loved seeing the child’s face light up when we finished each activity.”
Thank you, Dance Theater West and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, for another great year!