Thomasville Times Enterprise

December 3, 2013

Step Up! dancers join ballet

Staff report
CNHI

THOMASVILLE — On weekday afternoons, many children at the Thomasville Resource Center finish their homework and then enjoy their free time playing and relaxing. Not Shanice Madison and Caliyah Sinkfield.

 Twice a week, they can be found at the Thomasville Center for the Arts dancing their hearts out in South Georgia Ballet’s outreach program, Step UP!

Both began their dance instruction four years ago through the Step UP! program started in Thomasville. They both auditioned for placement in the South Georgia Ballet company last spring. They are the second and third dancers to transition from the outreach program into the ballet company. Both girls enjoyed their roles in the SGB’s Christmas production of “The Nutcracker” which took place on Saturday and Sunday at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium.

This fall, South Georgia Ballet began its sixth year of its Outreach Education program, Step UP!, which offers weekly dance instruction to children in Thomas County from the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club and the Thomasville Community Resource Center.

The children are bused to the South Georgia Ballet dance studio located at the Thomasville Center for the Arts where they are given weekly ballet instruction from the SGB faculty. The Grady County Outreach Education program, now it its 11th year, works with the Grady County Board of Education to provide dance classes for area students. The upper level Step UP! students performed on Dec. 2 at the school matinee performances of “The Nutcracker” as Bon Bons alongside SGB company dancers.

Last year, 65 dancers from Thomas County and 60 dancers from Grady County participated in the Step UP! program.

“We have the most amazing students benefiting from our Step UP! program this year. I am so motivated to keep this modeling of having our “Step Up!” students filter into our mainstream company. These are some very promising dancers that could truly turn this into a lifelong career,” said Melissa June Outreach Education director and co-artistic director for SGB.

South Georgia Ballet’s Founder and Co-Artistic Director Alison Bundrick has been bringing quality dance instruction and performances to the community since 1998. SGB, a nonprofit organization, receives funding for Step UP! from The Williams Family Foundation of Georgia, Inc., The Lewis Hall and Mildred Sasser Singletary Foundation, Thomasville Antiques Show Foundation, Cherokee Foundation, the Georgia Council for the Arts, Parker Poe Charitable Trust, the William H. Flowers Jr. Foundation, Inc. and other private donors.

For more information on the  program or to make a donation and be a Friend of the Ballet,  call Laura Green, executive director, at (229) 228-9420, email at sgballet@gmail.com or visit www.southgeorgiaballet.org.