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Kids have a suite time at the ballet

Posted: December 19, 2008 10:12 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2008 4:59 a.m.
Two special performances of the Nutcracker were shown to 800 Newhall elementary school fourth-graders, thanks to the Santa Clarita Ballet Company's annual youth outreach program.

Hosted by College of the Canyons and performed by the Santa Clarita Ballet, the afternoon show introduces children to the world of ballet as well as a classic Christmas story they can one day share with their own children.

Newhall School District superintendent Mark Winger said the kids were allowed to attend because of their individual school's parent-teacher organizations.

"The cost of that trip is underwritten by the PTA," Newhall School District Superintendant Marc Winger said.
"The ballet offers us a great opportunity to go, and we just have to come up with the cost to go there."

Nine of the 10 district elementary schools were able to attend one of two Nutcracker performances that were held Thursday and Friday at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.

"We have lots of kids who would never have the opportunity to experience the ballet if they did not allow us to do that," Winger said.

The outreach was created and is run by Corinne Glover, executive director of the Santa Clarita Ballet.

Glover said the performance was the ballet company's way of introducing local youth to performing arts.

Before the performance, Glover and ballet company representatives send out preparation packets of information about ballet and the Nutcracker so teachers can offer their students an appreciation of the performance.

"They usually send out a ballet toe shoe so kids can see what one of those is like and a summary of the story so teachers can teach the kids the story before they see the ballet," Winger said. "They're not just walking to the ballet and being expected to listen and understand. This perks their interest and prepares them so they get a lot more out of it."

Winger said the ballet has performed the Nutcracker for Newhall elementary schools for several years now.

"This really makes the season for them," he said.


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