FORT GREENE, Brooklyn (PIX11) – People will be dancing in the streets in Albee Square this weekend when Brooklyn Ballet celebrates its 20th anniversary by launching their “Take Ballet to the Streets” outdoor program this Saturday and Sunday. The program offers free classes for all ages and skill levels.
Audrey Borst described what goes through her heart and mind when she’s performing.
“Euphoric is the word,” said Borst. “I am feeling the energy of the bodies I’m dancing with and just really being in that moment and feeling everything going on is very special.”
Borst is a professional dancer and dance instructor at Brooklyn Ballet. She wants to impart that same feeling to her students, many of them youngsters.
“I just want to share the experience of expressing yourself, having an outlet for your feelings having a positive way to experience and express yourself,” added Borst. “I really try to get them to tap into imagining a whole world.”
Brooklyn Ballet wants to spread the positivity and expression of the art form by providing weekend-long complimentary outdoor dance classes in Albee Square. They have been a part of the fabric of this neighborhood for two decades. In 2002, Brooklyn Ballet was born when a ballet dancer and a hip hop dancer performed together in a storefront in Fort Greene.
Founder Lynn Parkerson said the company is marking its anniversary by going back to its roots with a nod to how it got its start.
“We’re celebrating 20 years with one of our most important programs that provides access to the arts, to everybody,” she said.
Their “Take Ballet to the Streets” program is happening all weekend and will provide free lessons in various dance disciplines, along with performances by Brooklyn Ballet students and professional dancers.
“It’s our outdoor performances that really recruit in some way kids that would not have ordinarily been exposed to ballet,” said Borst. “Ballet’s magic so people see it, they love it, we also incorporate other dance forms.”
Parkerson said dance is so much more than movement, it teaches life lessons and builds self-esteem and confidence. For her students, it’s become a safe space.
“I want kids to understand how ballet isn’t just look pretty … it’s very much feeling comfortable in who you are as a person,” said 13-year-old Lans Duke. “This place is such an open community, no matter what ethnicity, what body type, it’s so accepting, it’s such an amazing place to express who you want to be.”
The young dancers are hoping to introduce the grace and joy of ballet to others their age.
Jonah Konah is performing publicly for the first time this weekend.
“Dance is a great way to connect with the body to connect the mind with the body, and it offers a feeling of relief,” said Konah. “My performance is influenced by myself as an LGBTQ artist … I’m just so happy to share with everyone in Brooklyn.”
People from all over the city are invited to participate in “Take Ballet to the Streets.” The first free class starts at 11 a.m. Saturday. There will be complimentary classes all day in various dance types. There will also be professional performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
For more information and the complete schedule, visit Brooklyn Ballet’s website.