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Spotlight on Education: ROAD

Providing accessible and creative outreach programs is a priority at Kansas City Ballet.  Last year, almost 15,000 adults and children participated in one of a dozen different programs.  Reach Out And Dance (ROAD) is a mainstay of our outreach activities. In the 13 years since ROAD began, almost 9,000 children have participated. ROAD brings dance directly into public elementary schools to introduce children to the fundamentals of movement. One academic year of ROAD consists of 24 weeks during which an instructor and a music accompanist have one-hour weekly sessions with fourth grade classes.

“The reason ROAD makes me want to go to school is because it gives me a chance to be a star.” (4th grade student, Kansas City, MO) 

Students of all abilities participate in ROAD; there are no auditions or qualifications for participation. Each year, ROAD programs culminate in a ROAD Rally demonstration performance for parents, students, and the public. These energetic rallies build excitement for next year’s participants while allowing the current ROAD participants to showcase what they’ve learned throughout the year.

…I saw first hand one of our very ‘challenging’ students participate and enjoy himself despite his normal ‘too cool’ mannerism.  His gang affiliation was forgotten when he participated in ROAD.” (School principal, Kansas City, KS)

Merriam Park Elementary School fourth graders celebrate the end of the year with their ROAD Rally.

Kansas Cit Ballet’s ROAD program closely coordinates music and lesson contents with the teachers and school staff in order to support the Missouri, Kansas and National Education Standards. The ROAD staff and the school form a partnership that strives to fulfill common needs and goals. The program involves diverse groups of children in dance who would not normally have the opportunity for involvement. ROAD also supports the school’s curriculum by instilling in children self-discipline, concentration and a desire to achieve qualities that carry over into academic work. Through this active involvement, the dance experience requires students to apply themselves to a task that involves both mental and physical challenges.

This dance experience actively involves students and requires their application to a task that involves both mental and physical challenges. ROAD provides opportunities to develop student creativity through games and exercises that encourage inventive personal imagination. Participation in ROAD requires no special clothing, shoes or equipment. The program enhances memorization skills, since the students are required to remember choreography and expand upon it during subsequent sessions. The children gain valuable experiences in teamwork, as they work as a group to achieve cohesiveness in their weekly classes. They are constantly challenged to both support and critique one another as they work in small groups. At the close of the period, the entire grade level is combined to give a public exhibition of their work.

Linda Martin, KCB’s Director of Community Programs says, “The goal for KCB’s outreach programs is to awaken the students’ awareness of their potential and to help them discover the arts in our community and beyond.”

To learn more about ROAD and  other KCB education programs, please contact Linda Martin at 816.931.2232 x1315 or

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