We recently completed our first collaboration with the inspiring local non-profit BalletHaven. BalletHaven’s mission is to teach K-8 New Haven Public School girls both discipline and dedication through dance. Aldrich Pilates’ mission is to give our students the tools to feel better in their bodies. We (BalletHaven’s founder Mnikesa Whitaker and I) thought it was an exciting concept to combine forces and see how both organizations could benefit.
Out of a number of applicants, we selected three middle schoolers (Mary, Ivana and Carole) to participate in our week-long Pilates Reformer for Dancers class. The goal of each class was not only to expose the girls to the Pilates apparatus, but also to see how the Pilates repertoire could help them achieve more strength in specific ballet positions as well as to improve their overall technique. Each day they came and shared thoughts from their journals about any questions or comments that came up in the previous session. My instructor Amanda Bloom, who also volunteers at BalletHaven teaching Pilates mat classes, co-taught the classes with me.
It was remarkable to witness these girls evolve over just five days, both strength and confidence-wise. It was also exciting for us to have students of different ages and socio-economic backgrounds exploring the space, asking questions, and sharing their impressions with us.
We look forward to the next collaboration!
Many thanks to Aldrich Pilates instructors Amanda Bloom and Emily Adams who generously volunteered their time and energy to create curriculum and co-teach the classes.
To learn more about BalletHaven and/or to donate to their non-profit, please email Mnikesa Whitaker at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit their tumblr page here.