BalletX and National Dance Institute’s Teacher Training Workshop

Photo: Dance eXchange teacher R. Colby Damon working with Dance eXchange students

From September 25 to September 29, 2017, Dance eXchange, BalletX’s In-School Outreach Program, will host a Teacher Training Residency with the National Dance Institute (NDI) at Vare-Washington Elementary School, located at 1198 S 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19123.  Led by NDI Master Teacher, Tracy Straus, attending teachers will have the opportunity to hone their craft and gain exposure to NDI’s unique and engaging curriculum while working alongside 3rd and 4th graders. This residency is open to dancers, dance educators, and teachers.

During the weeklong NDI workshop, Sept. 25-29, dance educators will undergo training in NDI’s pedagogy, which teaches students the fundamentals of dance and performance by integrating a curricular theme, and concluding each program with a final performance. Tracy Straus and Tony Kieraldo, notable NDI instructors, will lead the workshop’s dance and music, respectively.

BalletX has successfully implemented NDI as the core discipline behind Dance eXchange, an in-school educational outreach program that uses live music and structured creative learning to teach Philadelphia students the basic vocabulary of dance, while fostering personal growth skills like self-confidence, focus, teamwork, and determination. Dance eXchange brings two teaching artists and a live musician into the classroom twice every week, for a total of 26 class sessions per year, establishing an environment where students can build their critical and creative thinking skills as their dance skills develop. Focused through a curricular theme, students are introduced to new cultures and big ideas, engendering in them an abiding curiosity about the world and their place in it. The students’ final performance will take place on a professional stage for friends, family, and the community.

Founded by BalletX in Spring 2014, Dance eXchange began with a class of 24 students at Philadelphia’s Andrew Jackson School. The program has since grown significantly, reaching nearly 500 3rd and 4th grade students at 3 Philadelphia schools in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

The theme of 2017-18’s Dance eXchange program will be the four seasons, based on the music of Antonio Vivaldi and Beautiful Decay, a full-length ballet that BalletX will perform at The Wilma Theater, Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Dance eXchange final student performances will be held in February 2018. Participating Philadelphia schools are Bache-Martin, Chester A. Arthur, and Albert M. Greenfield, with outreach efforts reaching approximately 200 students. Kate Carr continues in her role as Program Coordinator of BalletX’s Dance eXchange program.

Dance educators interested in attending BalletX and NDI’s training workshop (Sept. 25-29) as a Participant or Observer may apply at or 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. For more information on the Dance eXchange program October 2017-February 2018, please direct all inquiries to Kate Carr, Education & Outreach Specialist, at or (215) 605-0199.

Thanks to the generous support of the William Penn Foundation, Dance eXchange works to fulfill the mission of expanding, increasing, and deepening arts education for students. Dance eXchange was founded with support from the 2013 Knight Arts Challenge, a program of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Leo Model Foundation, among others. Additional support is provided by the Zeldin Family Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial, and PECO, lead corporate sponsor.