Sharing a love for dance

Classroom management, curriculum development and dance instruction. These were the tasks given to a talented, motivated group of students from the University’s Department of Dance who interned at Barre Belle over the past summer.

A 501c3 nonprofit organization designed to expose and provide universal access to the art of dance through local community centers and schools, Barre Belle is a portable dance studio for elementary students to introduce ballet fundamentals. Classes are geared toward those with little to no previous ballet or dance training, giving students an opportunity to learn, perform and attend a professional dance performance.

“Our partnership with the Department of Dance has been instrumental in providing dedicated interns to our program who share the same passion for the community, professionalism and love for the art of ballet and our students,” said Noel Pipkin, Barre Belle’s founder.

Each Charlotte intern (Aaryanna Henry, Riley McGowan, Sydney Lin and Alabi Orisadele) was matched with one of of Barre Belle’s community partner organizations — Freedom School Partners and the Salvation Army Center of Hope Women & Children’s Shelter — to develop relationships with the program directors that built trust, recognition and a rapport with each group.

Students at Freedom School Partners summer camp participated in a ballet barre and contemporary, creative movement and/or jazz center. Each class held between 20-30 students. This was the inaugural year for the Center of Hope summer camp, where the students learned a different style of dance from around the world each day for a week. Up to 20 students participated in dance, art and healthy cooking classes.

“It is partnerships like these that our interns thrive in both their classroom management skills and relationship building,” said Pipkin. “The need to pivot based on how the students show up that day, whether emotionally or physically and when evaluating skill level becomes critical when planning for class. All of our interns have been flexible and adapted their class based on these factors.”