The Washington Ballet selects talented students from DanceDC participant schools to receive full merit-based scholarships to The Washington School of Ballet. EXCEL! Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to study classical ballet, free of charge, for a full school year. This program is vital for these students, who would not be able to pursue their dance training without financial support.
“Being witness to an incredible dancer who maybe would have never even tried dancing if it weren’t for DanceDC or EXCEL! is an unbelievable experience,” says Katrina Toews, Director of TWB@THEARC. “To be able to offer scholarships to these select students is an honor. EXCEL! is about finding that raw talent and doing whatever we can to amplify it.”
EXCEL! Highlight by Saki Scheller, Former Education Program Manager
The Washington Ballet provides significant financial support to allow graduates of DanceDC to explore the art of classical ballet. The importance of quality ballet training for boys is especially immeasurable. One of the EXCEL! Scholarship recipients from John Eaton Elementary is a boy named Ruben. He has grown his passion for ballet through the DanceDC program. He has had the chance to work with TWSB’s Director, Mr. Han, in the Boys 1 class this year. His mother said, “It’s been an incredible learning experience for Ruben and for us. The combination of structure, discipline, and physical activity has been great for him. He loves the classes and comes home tired, which is an extra bonus for us. More importantly, TWB’s effort to expose boys and girls to ballet at a young age as part of their regular school curriculum, when so many dance classes focus on girls, or when parents generally don’t enroll boys in them, give boys a chance to experience an activity that is really perfect for so many of them.
Many parents, like Ruben’s mother, appreciate the life lessons reinforced by Mr. Han in the ballet classroom. In Mr. Han’s recent interview with Dance Teacher, a national industry publication, the editor adds, “While some may consider Han’s strict approach to be old-school, he maintains that discipline is learning how to work hard. In the world of Han, hard work is fun, too.” Ruben is just one of the 30 students who received the EXCEL! Scholarship. Next year, The Washington Ballet seeks to increase the number of recipients to 40 given the funding support for it.
For more information about EXCEL!, please contact 202.889.8150 x232.