Photo by Dave Parrish
The Latin Ballet of Virginia (LBV) serves to enrich and connect communities through Latin/Spanish dance experiences with a commitment to education, diversity and accessibility. LBV provides access to the arts for low-income families by offering culturally diverse performances and classes, which helps prepare Hispanic and minority children for success in their community. They offer a wide variety of weekly classes, and have a growing team of faculty members, professional dancers, musicians and mentors.
LBV is the only cultural program of its kind in the area, making it a positive initial experience for the increasing number of Hispanic families in the community and anyone else interested in pursuing their love of the arts. While programs are open to all, LBV targets children and families with special and financial needs in Richmond. Today, LBV strives to get kids on the road to success by helping students new to the U.S. improve their language and communication skills, by providing multicultural experiences for all, and by offering positive alternatives to risky behaviors. Our programs encourage students to stay in school and plan long-term goals, and a special therapeutic curriculum works to improve attention and focus skills for children with learning and physical disabilities.
Recently, the Latin Ballet began involvement with a program called ‘Be Proud of Yourself’ (BPY). BPY continues academic programs through distance learning via Zoom. This program helps improve academic performance and social behavior, and increases confidence in the participating students. So far, this program is only offered at a few grade levels, but LBVV plans to develop the capacity to produce and deliver good resolution and quality virtual interactive classes for all 12 BPY modules.
Currently, LBV is offering pre-recorded classes and virtual learning to participating middle schools, students enrolled in LBV classes at the Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen, and students enrolled in classes at the Dominion Energy Center. All virtual and pre-recorded classes are published in a private Facebook page and a private webpage for future reference. LBV is also offering the classes to corporations for workers and their families to follow at home. This project has been extremely successful, and they plan to continue it during summer.
The Latin Ballet has also launched two projects focused on choreography. The newest introduces dancers from all over the world to exchange ideas, learn about the culture of each country, and choreograph an original work. The second project is a juried online choreography competition for experienced dancers from different countries and for forms of dance like classical ballet and flamenco, and Latin-American dances like folklore, contemporary, and lyrical.
The Latin Ballet hopes to continue online classes and projects to engage the community and further their cause. They are also in the process of editing and finalizing original dance productions to be viewed online. Meanwhile, LBV dancers and musicians are meeting this summer to plan and rehearse for performances, lectures and events scheduled for next Fall. To find more information about the Latin Ballet of Virginia, visit their website at www.latinballet.com.
Photos by Kristen Weyer Baker