Backstage at the Ballet is an artists-in-residence program sponsored by the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Guild. This highly successful program will celebrate its 16th year by working with the children at Meadow Lane Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska. From November 30 - December 3, 2010, Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company artists will lead three learning stations at the school. Each station will last 45 minutes. Every student at Meadow Lane will participate in each station in groups of about 25 children. On the fifth day of the residency, dancers from LMBC will perform excerpts from The Nutcracker for the entire school. Backstage at the Ballet has been at numerous other Lincoln schools including: Beattie, Hill, Humann, Pershing, Rousseau, Riley, Fredstrom, Kahoa, Maxey, Sheridan, Randolph, Elliott, Campbell, West Lincoln and Calvert. Backstage at the Ballet was funded this year by the Porter, Scott, Kinder Family Foundation.
Backstage at the Ballet engages children in many activities: the art of dance, especially classical ballet; the technical elements of dance and live theater that combine to create a production the magnitude of The Nutcracker; direct experiences in costuming, make-up and movement with music; the basic story of The Nutcracker and the variations used throughout the United States; the different cultures that contribute to classical ballet and appear in the ethnic dances in The Nutcracker; vocabulary enrichment skills by using and explaining some of the terms of classical ballet and the theater; dance as both an art and a healthy activity for developing stamina, flexibility and strength for males and females. Bringing all these elements together prepares Lincoln students for enjoying and understanding live theatre and dance.
Besides the artists from the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company, many other people are involved in Backstage at the Ballet. Debby Erickson has been the project chair since the project’s inception in 1993. She coordinates all aspects of the event and has been successful in obtaining grants to fund Backstage at the Ballet. Ventures in Partnership, cooperatively sponsored by Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln Education Association and the Lincoln business community, provides funds for a teacher liaison at the school site. Guild and parent volunteers help at the learning stations during the residency.