Boca Ballet Theatre’s Step Programs
First Step Program
We live in a time when children all too often are falling through the cracks. Boca Ballet Theatre is committed to reaching out to the children in our community who are in need of extra support and mentorship. Boca Ballet Theatre’s First Step Program, first piloted in 1999, is a special dance program designed specifically for these children in our community. Currently, we are working with the Boca Raton Housing Authority—specifically, the after-school program at the Lois Martin Community Center.
Today, there are 15 children, ages eight through ten, who attend First Step classes twice a week at the Boca Ballet Studio. The children are exposed to ballet and modern dance in the supportive environment created by BBT’s dedicated faculty members. In addition to providing transportation for the youngsters, all of their dancewear and dance shoes are provided at no cost to the families.
At-risk children who are economically disadvantaged deserve special opportunities for creative self-expression and positive learning experiences. First Step uses the arts as a framework for learning about life, providing an interactive, hands-on method of discovery that is fun and non-threatening.
Most at-risk children and their parents do not have the financial resources to enroll in any “enrichment activities” outside of school. These youth require group supervision, one-on-one nurturing, and creative outlets to challenge their natural curiosity and channel their energy in a positive, self-affirming environment. Boca Ballet’s First Step program has accomplished these goals.
The First Step Program has also had a positive effect on the dancers’ families, who appreciate the extra support and encouragement that BBT provides. First Step family members and friends are invited to attend Boca Ballet Theatre’s productions.
Children involved in the program learn that dance is a way to create meaning and to communicate. They learn to demonstrate and apply critical and creative thinking skills. Dance also demonstrates the benefits of healthy living. Furthermore, children involved in the program are exposed to dance from various cultures and historical periods, which promotes understanding and tolerance for people from all walks of life. The Boca Ballet Theatre First Step Program is a wonderful way to reach young people and guide them to be better citizens through discipline, increased self-esteem, and respect for authority figures—all while enjoying the undeniable beauty of dance.