MICHIGAN CITY — Judith Joseph continues a 25 year tradition by bringing the "Ballet Lady” to all 10 Head Start of La Porte County classrooms, one at a time, Jan. 22 through Feb. 14. With special permission, the public is welcome to observe.
According to Joseph, the Ballet Lady is the primary outreach program that Metamorphis Traveling Theatre makes available to elementary school children in La Porte County. It is part show and part educational experience, stemming from Joseph’s work with the National Dance & Theatre Institute and Jacques D’Amboise, who pioneered bringing dance to the inner city youth of New York, she said in a release.
Joseph has worked professionally with Agnes deMille, Bob Fosse, Sammy Davis Jr., Matt Mattox and others; toured internationally representing the U.S. in ballet festivals in locales such as Denmark, Germany, Scotland, Bulgaria, Russia and Cuba; is an aluma of American Ballet Theater, Charles Weidmann & Company and the New York revivals of Fosse and deMille shows. She holds a BA degree with dance major and an MFA in Theatre Performance. She developed Ballet Lady during her years in New York specifically for pre-K-1 grade children, which is still a part of NDT. Locally the program came into being when encouraged and funded by Lakeshore Foods, The Indiana Arts Commission and private donors who share in the vision of arts in education.
While MTT has presented performances for the Head Start children over the past four years, it was Aprille Baylock, education manager of Head Start of La Porte County, who envisioned bringing the Ballet Lady into the individual classrooms as originally conceived affording the children a closer contact with the music and movement. In their own classrooms, with furniture pushed aside, the youngest children learn about posture, how muscles work, simple ballet movements and how to create dances of their own, Joseph said. Adding elements of Razzle-Dazzle make-up, Fred dolls, and floating silk for everyone, the children become the performers.
For more information about Metamorphis Traveling Theatre, call 219-872-4813
The Ballet Lady will arrive at 9:30 a.m. each of the following days:
Jan. 22 — Ms. Taylor's room at Imagination Station
Jan. 24 — Maple room at Niemann
Jan. 27 — Walnut room at Niemann
Jan. 29 — Knapp School HS classroom
Jan. 31 — Aspen at Niemann
Feb. 3 — Chestnut at Niemann
Feb. 5 — Sassafrass at Niemann
Feb. 10 — Pine at Niemann
Feb. 12 — Elm at Niemann
Feb. 14 — Dogwood at La Porte Presbyterian Church in La Porte