You've heard the saying "dance is a universal language," but dance programs, especially ballet, can be both costly and out of reach.
Two South Bay ballet instructors sought to change that by bringing the opportunity to perform, and a first glimpse of ballet, to kids who may never have had the chance to be exposed to it. Everything they need fits inside a simple cardboard box. They call it "Ballet in a box!"
"We were actually sitting in the office one day and trying to think, 'How could we bring ballet in another form to people? How do we make it accessible to more people?'" said Donna Perkins of the Redondo Ballet. "What about a box?"
The program starts with a performance, which for many of the students watching is their first glimpse of ballet. During the show, the box sits nearly unnoticed on the stage. What the audience doesn't know is that soon they will be putting on a performance of their own.
Once the dance ends, the box is finally opened. Inside is props, colorful costumes, music, everything the kids will need to put on a show of their own.
"You open that box and you just drawn into that world that should be for everybody," said Francesca Stern, who partners with Perkins to run "Ballet in a Box."
"Ballet in a Box" help bring ballet to students in communities that may never have see otherwise.
"What we do, not many people are able to have access to it," said Perkins. "Ballet tends to be very expensive. The classes are expensive, the training, the shoes...It takes a long time to be trained."
The dancers teach the students the routine, one step at a time. The connection, many times, is instant.
"When we bring ballet in a box to the kids who have no dance or arts to our program, they light up," said Perkins.
So much joy comes out of such a small cardboard box.