Metropolitan Ministries, Straz Center opens the world of dance to elementary school students

A partnership between the Straz Center and Metropolitan Ministries has kept elementary school students alert for 16 years.

In 2006, Metropolitan Ministries approached the theater in hopes of making ballet lessons available to Sullivan Partnership School students on the Metro Ministries campus.

“I believe dance and arts education really should be for everyone, and we all need those things,” ballet teacher Hannah Box said.

Box uses dance as an escape from the world. Once a week, she teaches students at the Sullivan Partnership School and hopes students can see ballet in the same way.

“It’s my way of understanding things, and everyone deserves to learn this tool,” she said.

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Box is the outreach arts instructor for the Straz Center. She’s been teaching Sullivan for two years.

For 16 years, Metropolitan Ministries and the Straz Center have brought ballet to elementary school students.

“I believe that dance and arts education really should be for everyone,” she explained.

Many Sullivan students live on the Metro Ministries campus. The school was the Straz Center’s first partner for the Straz Arts Education Partnership Program.

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“For many students, by gaining this confidence in themselves and their bodies, their communication skills improve. They gain confidence. This is my second year at Sullivan Elementary taking this program, and even seeing the growth from the students who started with me last year to this year is just tremendous in how they can come into this room and express themselves,” Box said.

The ballet instructor helps the students to put on new ballet shoes.

To kick off the month of November, 96 students received free ballet shoes.

To kick off the month of November, 96 students received free ballet shoes. Both partners look forward to the annual tradition.

“Watching students grow and gain confidence in their bodies and their movements is so rewarding,” Box said. “Seeing them fall in love with something new is just the best.”

Center Straz currently has 48 educational partners.

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