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In 1993, Richmond Ballet began to search for a new educational initiative to deepen the Ballet's impact on the community. Richmond Ballet had reached a level of stability as an arts organization and needed to maximize the community's investment in the company. The Ballet wanted to create a program that would provide interaction with groups of students and professional dancers on a long-term basis. The organization was motivated by the belief that it is important for the company to provide services beyond the normal range of performances. Richmond Ballet's objective was similar to a program founded by former New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d'Amboise. According to Mr. d'Amboise;
"The goal was to allow the children of inner city schools to experience what it's like to be an artist - to seek excellence in an art form. It's not to make them dancers, painters or musicians. Using the finest professionals, we introduce them to an activity that demands excellence in themselves. There's no winner or loser as in sports. It's a motivational program for children that works - the constant striving for excellence - getting better and better."
One of the defining goals of Richmond Ballet's program is to make the program an integral part of the school curriculum, rather than offering it solely as arts education. It requres the collaborative efforts of the teachers and administrators to help establish the depth and quality of the experience for the students. Partnerships with organizations such as the Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Science Museum of Virginia, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and even the Federal Reserve Bank are a crucial link in integrating the program with the curriculum and supporting the teachers.
Now in it's eighteenth year, Minds In Motion has successfully expanded from two to thirty schools, serving students in Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hopewell, Charlottesville, Martinsville and Woodbridge. Acclaimed by teachers, parents and students, Minds In Motion has grown to be the major focus of Richmond Ballet's education and outreach mission.