The Benefit of Ballet: Children’s Ballet Theatre

Written by Brandon Kirby. Posted in Features, Nonprofit Profile

Enrolling your child in the Children’s Ballet Theatre in Old Town becomes, not just an experience and responsibility for them, but for the entire family. For Caryn Rhodes, who serves as board chair, and many other families within their ballet performance company who can testify, the extra work is always worth it.

Made up of 52 dancers from 48 different families, the non-profit organization is entirely self-sufficient with all volunteer work from families helping with anything from costumes and sets to marketing and selling concessions for the performances. Among the dancers are as many as six kids from Children’s Miracle Network.

“We try really hard to make it a family affair because it really is a family changing situation when dancers come into the company,” Rhodes said. “We accept all help, and it really becomes a family.”

A big adjustment comes around the holidays because one of their two annual performances is The Nutcracker taking place every year around Thanksgiving at the Wharton Center in East Lansing. “Families make sacrifices, but we try to make it a good transition,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes herself experienced the transition when her daughter started dancing with the company eight years ago.

“I feel like I get out every bit as much as I put into this organization,” she said.

The organization draws in students from other dance studios in the Lansing area and all the way to Ann Arbor to put on two full-length ballet productions a year. Outside of their usual lessons, the dancers come to weekend rehearsals with Children’s Ballet Theatre working with the company’s artistic director and ballet mistress to bring the performance to life. “They are such wonderful productions,” Rhodes said. “It’s so impressive what these dancers pull together. It’s such a professional ballet.”

Their upcoming performance is Cinderella happening on the weekend of May 4 at Holt High School Theater. And for those looking to get involved, the next audition is on Sunday, May 13 which will be for The Nutcracker in November.

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