In celebration of National Arts Education week (September 12-18), I thought it appropriate to focus on the importance of arts education.
Years of research show that arts education is closely linked to almost everything that we want for our children: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity. Arts education is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Statistics show that learning an art can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.
With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to hear about arts education from the perspective of young people. I asked some of the students of the SNB Academy age 3 to 16 to tell me why arts education (ballet in particular) is important to them.
For the most part students age 3 to 5 focused on the enjoyment of the art form saying things like: “Ballet is fun!” and “Ballet is the best!”
But students age 7 and over, had more individual aspects to share.
Some students focus on the work involved in studying the art.
Phoebe Delong (age10) says that ballet art is something in which “you have to put in a lot of hard work to make it look easy and delicate.”
Karlie Serapiglia (age 9) feels that it: ”is a chance of a lifetime. It means working hard and being productive and… I just love Ballet!”
16 year old Annika Johnson articulates: ”Ballet is particularly important to me because it teaches me how to work physically and mentally in a different way than school does and gives me a chance to express everything that I feel inside without having to say anything.”
Some students focus on the exercise aspect of the art form.
Jessie Clauson (age 14) states: “ Ballet is important because I can exercise and also express myself which I can not do in any other form of sports that I am involved in.”
Irene Nam (age 15) says: “Ballet lets you move around and express yourself which is very different from what we get to do at school.”
Iliana Harris (age 16) states: “Ballet has been very important to me especially during Covid. It let me get out emotions and move around – even when I had to be stuck inside.”
The art of ballet historically was done to bring man to a higher spiritual level. It is amazing that even young children have a strong sense of that.
River Herzinger (age 8) feels that through ballet she can: “show others and show God how much I love Him.”
Lulu Weir (age10) feels that ballet gives her a way to: ”show others the way I feel through dance.”
Molly Hajec (age 9) thinks that the art of ballet makes her ”inspired, loving and graceful.”
The majority of students in their teens emphasized the importance of art as a means for self expression and a way of coping with fears and anxiety.
David Johnson (age 15) states: “Ballet lets me express myself in a safe environment.”
Haley Pershall (age 14) says: “If there are things going on in the world that are…not so good… ballet gives me the chance to focus and kind of escape from them.”
Alexis Hanna (age 11) says: “Ballet is a big part of my life, and when I focus on it, I forget everything else in the world.”
Lucca Light (age 12) adds: ”If I have a really difficult and stressful day, I come to ballet, and it helps me calm down and have fun.”
Dafne D’Olympio (age 16) agrees and adds: “Ballet is important, especially now with everything that is going on in the world. I get to go somewhere where there is such a great community, a place where you can express yourself that is so safe and loving, and it means so much. It just feels… really good.”
12 year old Sophia Riella summed it up beautifully saying that the art of ballet: “is something that I am most passionate about. It is just that ….well… I guess … I just really love doing it!!”
Being able to have in studio classes again at the SNB Academy has been wonderful for all the students.
We are looking forward to the PEANUTCRACKER-The Story In A Nutshell audition on October 9, 2021 that will be held in the SNB studio and on Zoom from 1:00 to 3:30 PM.
Peanutcracker will once again give students in the community studying the art of ballet the opportunity to perform in December at both the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno and at the Carson City Community Center and to share their art with over 4,000 other young school children in the community.
For information about SNB or to register to audition call 775-360-8663 or visit www.sierranevadaballet.org