For 17 years, Free Arts has been honored to partner with the dance school, Dance Theater West, and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to bring Storybook Ballet to the stage. This year, Dance Theater West and Free Arts teamed up to perform the dance production, Swan Lake with a Splash. Eighteen children and teens from Free Arts partner agencies spent four rehearsals with Dance Theater West director, Susie Silverman, and her dancers, to learn movement and choreography for their portion of Swan Lake. Along the way, they practiced life skills including collaboration, trust, and bravery. On Saturday, September 29, the dancers showcased their hard work in front of an audience of over 300 people. Admission was free and open to the public and included other Free Arts partner agencies, friends, and performers’ families.
The day’s festivities were not limited to the Storybook Ballet happening on stage. In the lobby of the performing arts center, Free Arts showcased its newest Professional Artist Series exhibit, I Am Human. The exhibit, led by professional teaching artists, Kristine Kollasch and Laurie Provost, brought together 10 teenage boys from a residential treatment center for 3 weeks of workshops. Together, they examined the things that make them human, their past, and where they would like to see themselves in the future. Through creative writing and visual art techniques, the young men created mixed media pieces. They shared their thoughts on the process and their work with patrons attending the exhibit and performance. “I didn’t think I would enjoy this as much as I did,” one artist explained. “Now I can see myself as an artist. I am very proud of what I did.”
To complete the day’s events, Free Arts held a Free Arts Day where children from our partner agencies, foster families, as well as the public at large, were able to create art to take home with them. The art projects included animal masks and paper flower-making. As one attendee stated, “My granddaughter really enjoyed her time today. She loved mask-making, and she’s dreaming of the time she will be able to dance on stage herself.”