With exceptional programming and intensive community engagement, State Street Ballet is driven to be an essential asset to our own community of Santa Barbara and to communities everywhere we tour. We accomplish this through several initiatives:
Introducing people to dance at a young age inspires life-long participation in arts of all kinds. Our Arts Education programs reach an average of 40,000 children at home and on tour each year. In 2014, State Street Ballet will be launching our newest outreach endeavor, "Library Dances", directed and choreographed by SSB company member Cecily Stewart. In collaboration with Santa Barbara's local high schools, "Library Dances" will present performances based on their literature curriculum requirements, providing the perfect visual enhancement to their current studies. Incorporating students from their theatre programs, as well as students from our Professional Track program, "Library Dances" extends, enhances, and broadens the impact of arts education in our community. The program itself will offer free outreach performances for Santa Barbara students, and two public performances at affordable ticket prices. Like "Library Dances" on Facebook for updates, photos, videos, and links to how you can help support the development of this important program!
State Street Ballet also seeks opportunities to integrate major performances with a variety of outreach activities throughout the community, and does so in collaboration with a broad spectrum of community partners.
For example, on October 6, 2011 coinciding with the Downtown Organization’s First Thursday’s Cultural Event, State Street Ballet’s new Season officially opened with an original production of choreographer William Soleau’s, "Starry Night" at the Granada Theatre. An estimated 600 art lovers visited the theatre early to see the dancers warming up on stage. In addition, President’s Circle members enjoyed a private reception with Soleau hosted by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
On Monday, Soleau visited elementary schools, offering students the opportunity to meet a working artist and hear first-hand his personal story of how he became an artist, how his passion for Van Gogh developed through earning his degree in art history, and how the famous painter’s life inspired him to create the ballet.
As part of the season premiere event, State Street Ballet also introduced a new innovation in our arts outreach efforts – an activity that allowed for both inventive and interpretive creativity among students. Four local elementary school art teachers agreed to present Van Gogh as their first program of the year. Six hundred students culminated their study by creating their own paintings in the style of Van Gogh, and their work was shown in the Granada’s McCune Founder’s Room with an artist reception as part of the First Thursday opening exhibit offerings. In addition, classical music students with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony provided the music at the reception.
Friday morning, as part of the Yellow Bus Series, nearly 1,000 students from 17 schools (K-10) came to the Granada to see "Starry Night".
State Street Ballet takes ballet out of the theater and onto the streets with spontaneous, free performances at the zoo, the public library, and other unusual sites.
Reduced and Free Tickets
A key means of making ballet accessible to all is to offer free and reduced tickets to economically disadvantaged and underserved groups. An average of 26% of State Street Ballet’s audiences at major performances have benefited from free or reduced tickets. Community partners receiving free tickets to distribute to clients include West Side Neighborhood Clinic, Casa Serena, SB Rescue Mission, Transition House, and several of the lower income retirement communities. CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation) recently honored us with the “Above & Beyond Community Award” in recognition of our outreach to their clients. Community groups receiving access to reduced tickets include churches and schools.
Community Outreach On Tour
In August 2013, the company returned from its summer break to inaugurate the new Season with our annual visit to Redlands, California and our one-week residency at the Redlands Bowl as ambassadors for Santa Barbara. We reached more than 15,000 people through presentations of our original ballet, "Beauty and the Beast", that included two performances at the historic Redlands Bowl, three days of outreach to local schools, and a special performance at the Burrage Mansion that targeted at-risk youth.
The Redlands Bowl attracts loyal family audiences and many look forward to State Street Ballet’s unique performances each year. Our Friday and Saturday evening performances this year did not disappoint, with crowds of 11,000 in total attendance. In 2011, we presented "The Jungle Book" to rave reviews - The Redlands Daily Facts (August 31, 2011) said, “ ‘The Jungle Book’ proved to be an exciting journey, blending ‘familiar story lines with exciting dance movement and special effects,’ and the Redlands Community Music Association said "People sat captivated while they watched Mowgli’s story unfold through the beautiful dance moves.” The Friday performance of "The Jungle Book" in 2011 was taped for broadcast on KVCR, the local PBS affiliate reaching millions of viewers from Los Angeles to San Diego.