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Ballet Students Share Their Love of Dance

Students of Classical Ballet Theatre in Herndon share their love of dance with less fortunate children in South Africa.

Students of Classical Ballet Theatre in Herndon share their love of dance with less fortunate children in South Africa. Photo by Katie de la Paz

Classical Ballet Theatre students are forwarding dance shoes and attire this month to Mzansi Productions in South Africa. A professional performing arts company, Mzansi Productions provides dance instruction to less fortunate children. Currently, their myriad outreach programs involve more than 200 boys and girls, ages 5 to 13.

CBT’s connection with these South African children is through one of its former students, Nathan Chaney. Chaney, now a young man dancing with the Zurich Ballet, performed before the supportive audiences in South Africa, where he not only won the 2010 Cape Town International Ballet Competition, but also returned as a guest artist in 2011.

As a guest artist, Chaney participated in various dance outreach programs and, through these programs, gained an appreciation for his personal fortunate circumstances. While he never had to think about whether he would have money for a good education or dance lessons, much less food for dinner, he met impoverished children who struggled daily to meet their basic needs. Although they struggled, these children found immense joy in dancing, even in bare feet and on dirt floors. Their situation and enthusiasm inspired Chaney to spearhead an effort to provide outreach programs with dance attire, so that these children may find additional joy and promise in owning a pair of ballet slippers or a leotard.

CBT is a not-for-profit organization, with a three-fold mission to provide education, performance, and outreach opportunities in the performing arts to Northern Virginia and the surrounding communities. For more information about CBT and its upcoming performances — Ballet and Bordeaux and Swan Lake — visit http://www.cbtnva.org.