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Connections and Coffee

Dancing’s Lifelong Lessons

A Q&A with Children’s Ballet Theatre Board Chair Sue Powers

Can you give a brief overview of Children’s Ballet Theatre and describe its mission?

Children’s Ballet Theatre is an independent, nonprofit company dedicated to quality, youth-oriented ballet for children ages 8 to 18. Dancers study technique at their home dance studios, then work with the company to create memorable, fun performances.

CBT’s mission is to provide a youth-oriented, community-based ballet performance company in Michigan with the highest possible dance, artistic and performance standards, while fostering a greater appreciation of ballet as an art form.

Why it is important to provide access to the arts?

We believe that the arts can challenge our perspectives, giving us new ways to see and experience the world, cultivating the values of diversity, tolerance and empathy. The arts also bring us joy, help us express our values and build bridges between people. The arts are a fundamental component of a healthy community, strengthening communities socially, educationally and economically — benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.

What are some of the important life lessons learned by dancers?

We pride ourselves on trying to ensure that CBT is a great place for young dancers to grow into not only better dancers, but to learn important life lessons such as teamwork, responsibility, discipline, professionalism, making good choices, time management, service to others and being part of something bigger than themselves. Over our 40-plus years, we have seen so many of our dancers grow up into amazing adults who significantly contribute to our world.

Your biggest event of the year is coming up this fall. Tell us about that, as well as how the community can support you.

Our annual “Nutcracker” is our next big event and is performed during Thanksgiving weekend. It provides our audience a wonderful opportunity to experience this much-loved holiday classic and a can’t-miss local tradition. In addition to “The Nutcracker,” the company performs classical ballets during our annual spring performance. We are a nonprofit arts organization that relies on donations and ticket sales to fund our operations. If interested in learning more, people can visit our website at