FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS WILL BE PERFORMING A FULL-LENGTH BALLET

PRESS RELEASE

BFAK students and volunteers rehearse “capturing the wolf" in the ballet Peter and the Wolf

BFAK students and volunteers rehearse “capturing the wolf” in the ballet Peter and the Wolf

BFAK students play the role of the duck “swimming on the pond” in rehearsals of Peter and the Wolf.

BFAK students play the role of the duck “swimming on the pond” in rehearsals of Peter and the Wolf

BFAK students dance like “Birdie” during rehearsals of Peter and the Wolf.

BFAK students dance like “Birdie” during rehearsals of Peter and the Wolf.

Agoura Hills, CA – Ballet For All Kids (BFAK), a rare dance experience that offers classical ballet training to all children (and adults) including those with special needs, is holding a recital including a first-of-its-kind full-length ballet of “Peter and the Wolf” on Saturday, May 14, 2016, 7:00 p.m. at the Performing Arts Education Center in Agoura Hills, located at 28545 W. Driver Avenue.

The philosophy behind the teaching is to embrace each student’s particular circumstances, honor their abilities and disabilities, and celebrate their exceptional uniqueness.  This is the first time that the public will have a chance to see these incredible and inspiring students in action in a full-length ballet production.

The non-profit BFAK method is an original ballet therapy, successfully teaching children and adults with all abilities and special needs including:  Autism, learning and emotional developmental disabilities such as behavioral issues, ADHD, anxiety disorders, neurological difficulties, or those that are hearing impaired, blind or immobile.  Students come from all over the Los Angeles and Ventura County areas to participate in their classes, with over 100 volunteers from both public and private schools.  See video: https://vimeo.com/53311846

According to Bonnie Schlachte Director, “I truly believe that our program enriches the community and creates a completely inclusive environment that is unique to the world.  When our students move, they are dancers – not just children with special needs.  As our parents watch their children dance, they get to experience the pride of parenthood.”

The program teaches classical ballet using the Schlachte Method – an approach developed to assist all students in the study, technique and discipline of ballet.  It encompasses various styles of learning including visual, auditory and vestibular balance coordination, while at the same time, fosters emotional intelligence.  As a result, they come away with greater self-confidence, stronger friendships, better self-discipline, and an increased joy for the movement of dance.

Ballet For All Kids is the only studio in the world that offers classical ballet training to all children, facilitating a voluntary outreach and advocacy program.  Parents also report that BFAK has provided many positive experiences for their offspring, including increased socialization skills, better focus and concentration in the classroom, and decreased inappropriate behaviors.  Also, students come away with better physical and occupational therapeutic benefits, as well as an overall increase in confidence and poise.  In addition to offering ballet, BFAK also teaches jazz, tap and belly dancing classes.

For further information about BFAK’s “Peter and the Wolf” performance, or to order tickets contact info@balletforallkids.com.   Ballet For All Kids, is located at: 2282 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village, CA  91361.   Phone:  805-524-5503.  A second location is at:  16422 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA  91436.   Website:  http://balletforallkids.com/  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ballet-For-All-Kids-The-Schlachte-Method-123007087732886/?fref=ts.

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Bonnie Schlachte, Founder and Director of BFAK

Bonnie Schlachte, Founder and Director of BFAK

NOTE TO MEDIA:  BFAK Director Bonnie Schlachte is available for interview from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on May 14th during the dress rehearsal prior to the show.  Contact Rhonda Rees PR at:
818-325-2089 to make the arrangements.

New York City and Ballet For All Kids

We are so excited to be expanding to New York City!  Ballet For All Kids is the only studio that welcomes children of ALL abilities and disabilities.  Until now, we have only been able to be in the Los Angeles area.  One of our lovely teachers, Rebecca, is now attending NYU and is offering classes in Manhattan.  We are so thrilled to be able to offer classes to children with special needs in the NYC area! NYC Classes

Welcome

This speech was first given at Calabasas High School’s Dance Team Benefit for Ballet For All Kids:

Self-confidence.  Friendship.  Self-discipline.  The pure and simple joy of movement. These are some of the benefits of a classical ballet education.

But many children – children on the Autism Spectrum, children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, children with Anxiety Disorders, Behavioral issues, and ADHD – cannot succeed in a traditional ballet class setting.

It was with that in mind that Ballet For All Kids was created so that all children, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, could have the opportunity to reap the benefits of a classical ballet education and experience the joy of dance.

I would love to be able to share each and every one of our amazing student’s stories. Each of our kids has been on an incredible journey and has shown so much bravery and determination that it leaves me breathless.  The child that stands up from his wheelchair puts his feet in first and attempts a demi plie.  The child with Autism who is terrified of new situations but stands bravely in their first class because they just want to dance like Angelina Ballerina.  The child with developmental delays who works every week for three years and triumphantly now can skip from foot to foot.  These are incredible children and I am continually inspired and uplifted by their spirit and love.

But Ballet For All Kids is more than just its students – it is our wonderful volunteers that make this program work.  Week after week, our volunteers give tirelessly of their time, energy and compassion to our students. Most of my volunteers start helping BFAK because they need the community service hours at their school.  But they keep coming week after week, early on Saturday and Sunday mornings, long after they have finished with their required community service hours – out of pure and simple love for these kids.

The relationships that I have seen develop between our volunteers and our students has reaffirmed my hope and faith in humanity.

Recently, one of my volunteers shared her college essay with me and I would like to share part of it with you:

Maddie has Down Syndrome. Maddie is my inspiration. There is no moment more special or rewarding than the moment Maddie gets a dance step right. When you look into her eyes it is as if you see her heart smiling, and then yours smiles back because you know that you just made the world’s difference to this little girl. Ironically, though, it was really her who did everything for you. Maddie keeps me going when I want to give up; she encourages me to work harder, to be better, and to dream bigger. Maddie has taught me to see life with passion and enthusiasm, to absorb all the good, and fight through all the bad. She has taught me to be kind, to be patient, to be accepting and willing to understand others, but most of all she has taught me to see the world differently. Every Sunday I see Maddie; every Sunday is my favorite day.

I couldn’t agree more.