Opening up another world: Fourth-graders experience ballet

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


Wilson County fourth-graders were given a taste of big city culture when the New York Theatre Ballet performed at the Boykin Center in downtown Wilson.

Some 950 students were bused in from area schools for two shows at the historic theater on Nash Street Tuesday.

“It as amazing how they were dancing. They were on beat. They had fast foot work,” said Daryn Dashon Cox, a student at Hearne Elementary School. “They had many different features. It was amazing to see how all of them came together from different places to make one whole community.”

“It was awesome,” said Phillip Bailey, Lee Woodard Elementary School student.” I thought they were going to slip and fall a few times or that the dude was going to fall.”

Annette Faison, principal of Frederick Douglass Elementary School, said the performances gave the children a glimpse of something they don’t usually see.
“It opens up another world to them,” Faison said. “It gives them another viewpoint. For many of them, their only view of dance may be what they have in their environment. Music and dance is a way of communicating for all ages.”

Julie Ann Haas, arts attendant at the Arts Council of Wilson, said the performances were a community effort.

“We got community sponsors including Comfort Inn Suites, Southern Bank, North Carolina Community Foundation, Wilson Economic Development Council and Wilson Energy,” Haas said. “It was a collaboration between all of those to allow the school shows at no charge to the students.”

Haas said the ballet troupe did a similar program last year at Fike High School for elementary school students.

A ticketed evening performance took place Wednesday.

Monica Sharma, an instructional coach at Hearne, said it was a remarkable performance that captivated the children who were able to attend.

Sharma said most of her students do not get that many opportunities to see the ballet .

“The amazing thing for them was that the dancers were from the different parts of the country,” Sharma said.

Lee Woodard student Jana Collier had not seen a ballet before.

“I didn’t expect what it was going to be, but it was actually very cool,” Jana said.

It was also a first time experience for Brianna Horne, a Winstead Elementary student.

“When they had a tutu on and they started dancing, I thought it was great,” Brianna said. “I think it was fun.”

“It was exciting and fun,” said Samaya Murriell, a Winstead Elementary School student. “They had to remember all of the different steps.”

Paris Taylor, another Winstead Elementary student said the performance was “cool.”

“I liked how the dancers turned and they would spin creative with their dances and their outfits,” Paris said. “I am already a dancer. You have to learn a lot of stuff.”