Title I students to dance with Charlotte Ballet

Peter Chu with Reach program studentsNearly 60 students from Title I schools in the area of Charlotte, North Carolina will bring to life a fresh interpretation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring accompanied by Charlotte Ballet dancers and the Charlotte Symphony on April 6-7 at Belk Theater.


Rite of Spring: Reinvented is an exciting partnership that will connect the full symphony orchestra and professional ballet choreography with students from Charlotte Ballet’s Reach program to present this revolutionary work. Reach is an all-scholarship program that makes beginning-level, quality dance training accessible free of charge.


Peter Chu with Reach program students“The arts can be a catalyst for change in so many ways,” said Charlotte Symphony Music Director Christopher Warren-Green. “Stravinsky’s work was transformational, and with this collaboration, we’re hoping to incite change as well. Art builds self-esteem, improves discipline, builds a strong work ethic—and exposure to something greater than themselves is sometimes just what our young people need.”


Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Warren-Green and Charlotte Ballet Artistic Director Hope Muir, this project aims to serve as a change agent in the lives of these young students, providing access to the highest level of performing arts in their community and beyond.   


Celebrated choreographer Peter Chu, known for his work with Orlando Ballet, METdance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and television’s So You Think You Can Dance, has created a vision for the dance and has spent weeks teaching Charlotte Ballet apprentice dancers and working with the students.


“I hope that these dancers walk away feeling empowered and inspired by this overall experience,” commented Chu. “It’s a communal experience, and I want them to learn to become effective, efficient and clear communicators, both physically as dancers and verbally as leaders. It’s bigger than Stravinsky’s music, bigger than the dance steps and my choreography. This is not mine—this is ours.”


Peter Chu with Reach program studentsMuir said she was delighted when Maestro Warren-Green and the Charlotte Symphony approached her about collaborating on the project.


“It was a huge and ambitious vision so unique in its model to bring together two amazing cultural organizations as well as extend the experience even further into the community,” she said. “For my first season as artistic director of Charlotte Ballet, this collaboration was a wonderful beginning to what I hope is a continued partnership with Charlotte arts organizations and the many wonderful experiences together we will bring to this city.”


The symphony will further explore the notion of the arts as a change agent at a number of free community educational opportunities. Led by distinguished musicologist and Harvard professor Thomas Kelly, the conversations will examine the emotive and revolutionary power of music.


For tickets to Rite of Spring: Reinvented, visit charlottesymphony.org. To learn more about Charlotte Ballet’s Reach program, which has served more than 800 students aged 7-13 in the last eight years, go to www.charlotteballet.org.


Photos: Peter Chu with students from Charlotte Ballet’s Reach program. Photography by Jeff Cravotta.