For 70 years, Ossining-based Westchester Ballet Company (WBC), one of the longest-running regional non-profit youth ballet companies in the United States, has served our county. WBC, made up of 100 young dancers from across 17 towns and villages in Westchester and Putnam counties, is driven by the belief that the arts are essential for our youth, that dance in particular instills confidence, provides foundational well-being, and strengthens our shared community.
This spring WBC launches its WBC@70 Spring Fundraising Campaign, with the goal of raising $70,000 to support 3 key initiatives:
- Increasing dance scholarships
- Bolstering community outreach to support diversity and inclusion among its dancers and its audience
- Maintaining ticket affordability
“When I’m dancing, the whole world around me just stops. It’s just me and the music.”
For the past 25 years (with the exception of 2020) WBC’s Nutcracker has been hosted by the Westchester County Center in White Plains, attracting an aggregate audience of 150,000+ since 1996. In addition to its focus on training young dancers and creating world-class performances, WBC partners with other nonprofits serving vulnerable and under-resourced individuals and groups in our community and provides discounted or complimentary tickets to the Nutcracker performances.
“WBC dancers and audiences reflect the rich diversity of Westchester,” said Amy Harte, Board President, WBC. “This richness truly fuels the entire WBC endeavor and makes being involved with the Company so personally rewarding. For the dancers, being part of a ballet company and learning the skills necessary to perform on a big stage in front of thousands of people builds character and resilience. We live in a time when these qualities are needed more than ever.”
“Dancing through the pandemic has helped me express my emotions through movement, staying healthy and focused on my future, said Lily Rivera, 13, who lives in Ossining, is an 8th grader at St. Augustine’s and a member of WBC. “When I’m dancing, the whole world around me just stops. It’s just me and the music. Nothing else. No virus and no stress.”
But the Covid pandemic has hit the arts world hard and WBC suffered the loss of a year’s ticket sales. So, for those who value community arts programs and want to support them, now – says WBC – is the time to step forward. How? Go to www.westchesterballet.org and click on “Donate!”