Last December, NYXT brought you a video about The Brooklyn Nutcracker by Brooklyn Ballet. We invite you to learn more about the values and the vision of this wonderful organization through the eyes of Lynn Parkerson, Brooklyn Ballet’s Founding Artistic Director. The school is located in Downtown Brooklyn, in this link you can see their coronavirus updates, and you can watch their videos on nyxt.nyc/brooklynballet.
NYXT: What is Brooklyn Ballet’s mission?
Lynn Parkerson: The mission of the Brooklyn Ballet is to create new work, to educate the community and to provide training and accessibility to ballet for everyone in the borough.
NYXT: What should we know about Brooklyn Ballet’s programs?
Lynn Parkerson: Brooklyn Ballet is mainly comprised of four programs. We have a professional company that has an annual performing season. We have a school and a community dance center located in Downtown Brooklyn. We have Elevate, which is our in-school outreach program - we go to between six and ten schools per year. And Take Ballet to the Streets, which is performances in unusual settings. They are free, and it’s for new audiences to encounter ballet.
NYXT: What are the benefits of ballet?
Lynn Parkerson: Ballet has huge benefits in a lot of different areas. The training is really something that children respond to, and it’s beneficial for their learning, standing up straight, the verticality. This 400 years old tradition continues to inspire and attract children to it. They really learn how to progress and enhance the things that they are doing, and they are able to become better dancers and they realize how that works, to have discipline and to get that freedom once you have put in the discipline.
NYXT: What makes ballet an educational resource?
Lynn Parkerson: I’ve always been interested in what’s going on between people, what’s going on in the larger world while we are in the studio training, and really having the ballet vocabulary be open to other forms, and seeing how ballet is influenced, and also seeing the similarities between ballet and African dance or Baroque dance or hip hop dance, and when the dancers have a chance to work together in the studio all kinds of new vocabulary arises, new kinds of conversations arise with the body. It just seems to be opening up more and more possibilities for new work.
NYXT: What does Brooklyn Ballet bring to the community?
Lynn Parkerson: When we first went to South Brooklyn, to Flatlands and Marine Park and Canarsie, and we brought our ballet company that is an ethnically diverse ballet company, when we brought that to public schools, we were like rock stars. Ballet is something that children yearn for, they want to be in that magical world of ballet.
NYXT: What is the importance of the work that you do?
Lynn Parkerson: I’ve just been amazed by what happens when you have dancers in the room that are speaking to each other and that are learning from each other. Making dances is making spaces for others and letting others speak and listening and allowing yourself to speak as well through the body, it becomes an expression of the community, and of who we are.
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