AS SCHOOL REGISTRAR of Ballet San Jose School, one of my favorite parts of the job is our Friday Outreach Program. We reach out to local schools and provide a complimentary tour of our building at 40 North First Street, which itself is a really neat building. The first time I came in to work, I felt like I was back in New York, taking a class in a studio building. The kids always get a kick out of the many stairs and passageways, and they really love finding out what many of our rooms used to be before they were dance studios.
After taking them around, we show them the Costume Shop, which is a highlight for many of the kids. (When Ms. Sue asks them what they think is in the tip of a pointe shoe to make it so hard, someone always guesses “rocks!”) After that, they get to watch the end of a company class, which is an extremely special treat! The kids can’t help but “oooh” and “ahhh” as our dancers fly through the air just feet in front of them. Then, they get to take a class with Mr. Eriksen, who is on the faculty here at Ballet San Jose School and is famous amongst the BSJS kids for his Pirates of the Caribbean and Angry Birds ballets. Though some of the kids may have hesitation at first about taking ballet, they always leave Mr. Eriksen’s class with happy and eager faces.
Today’s tour was from Trace Elementary, so it was a special day for me as I am a graduate of Trace! While much of the school has changed since I was there (a fire destroyed the building I learned in), there is so much that is still the same. They are still the Trace Tigers and still have a huge focus in the performing arts. When I was in elementary there, I participated in Drama, Dance and Orchestra, which are still programs at Trace today. I told the students about the time I was in the musical Annie at Trace and I played Annie’s dog Sandy (I even barked along when Annie sang “Tomorrow”), and they happily told me about the shows they were putting on. The kids in this group were so eager to learn everything about our school, and it was absolutely fantastic to share with them.
The best part of the tour is the very end, where Mr. Eriksen and I get to tell the children that because they came to the tour today, they get a whole free semester of classes in our First Step Program, as well as a free uniform. Without fail, every time we announce it, their faces light up and they cheer. Today’s announcement was no different. I can’t wait to see some of these Trace faces in my school!