Eight years ago, Albemarle Ballet Theater started a scholarship program that raises money, through performances and gifts, to pay for dance lessons for children who have the desire to dance, but lack the means to become involved. In 2012 ABT raised $9,580 from supportive local businesses and individuals and its Spring Gala, and thereby allowed 18 girls to take lessons. Some donors and recipients met a recognition reception met at the school March 24.
“Dance is expensive,” said ABT’s Gary Hart. “In the old days it was only for the wealthy. We’re grateful to all of you who support us in this. You are contributing to the lives of these girls and boys. You care about your community.”
Amia Salisbury, a scholarship dancer for seven years, told the donors, “It has helped me to overcome fear and to have faith in myself. Thank you for supporting me.”
Sylvie Cromer, a dancer just starting out, said, “When I dance, I feel I can be whoever I want to be.”
“I really appreciate the opportunity you give me,” said Amber Gilbert. “Otherwise it would not be available to me. From my family to yours, I thank you and I wish the best for your businesses.”
Over the years, the program has made dance available to 51 students.