Westwind’s CIS representative Christi Cage said each Monday and Wednesday several third and fourth grade students meet virtually with Briana Brown, a ballet instructor at Ballet Lubbock.

“This will be my third year working with Ballet Lubbock,” Cage said. “For the past couple of years, we have been able to have her [Briana] on campus so she could come in and give great face-to-face instruction, but this year has been a little more difficult.”

Cage said that because of the pandemic, she was not sure that she would be able to continue the partnership with Ballet Lubbock this year. She said that Ballet Lubbock was up for the challenge and decided to move the lessons to a virtual platform.

“Where there is a will there is a way,” Cage said. “It wasn’t a program we wanted to stop, so with Ballet Lubbock we made a way to keep going.”

Lara Davis, Director of Community Engagement at Ballet Lubbock, said they call their program “Dance Connect,” and that this year they feel connections are more important than ever.

“Our hope is that the students will connect with the art form, their peers, and themselves,” Davis said. “These connections have become even more critical during the pandemic, and even though the dance class has looked a little different this year, with Ms. Briana teaching the class virtually to the in-person students, it has been 100% worth it.”

Cage said the students are so excited to come in, say hello to Briana and get started dancing. She said that Briana is d

oing an exemplary job engaging and interacting with the students, even through a computer screen.

“She starts with a little warm up and then takes them through basic dance moves and ballet moves,” Cage said. “Right now, they are actually working on a performance piece where the kids are collaborating with Briana. She is allowing them to give her some i

deas on what dance moves they want to do, and she is tailoring the dance to each specific group.”

Cage said that Ballet Lubbock’s “Dance Connect” program is teaching students more than just ballet.

“I think it teaches them social skills, self-esteem, how to work collectively in a group, and I think it gives them hope for their futures that one day they can pursue dance,” Cage said. “That might not be something that they have even thought about until they step foot in here.”

Both Cage and Davis have collaborated to plan a safe opportunity for the ballet students to perform in person for family members and friends. As of now, they are planning on performing onstage at Crickets Theater at Buddy Holly Hall on May 1.