Last week was the book launch for BalletMet’s own children’s book, Leap and Twirl! There was a great turnout with kids, parents and community members coming together to celebrate this wonderful picture book conceived by Ambre Emory-Maier, written by author Steven C. Anderson and illustrated by Sarah DeAngulo Hout.
It might seem a little strange to have a children’s book as part of a dance education program, and it is. Leap and Twirl is the only children’s book associated with a dance company. The book is apart of the Magic in Movement – Grow up Great! Program, which is a collaboration between BalletMet, PNC Foundation and the Columbus Urban League. The program is starting its third year as a way to develop and improve social growth and literacy skills, foster creative expression and better prepare children for kindergarten.
To start off the event, Director of Education Ambre Emory-Maier and Executive Director Cheri Mitchell talked about the numerous educational programs that BalletMet has, and how important dance and education is to BalletMet. Ms. Mitchell summed up BalletMet’s mission statement by saying they believe that “dance is for everyone and everyone should have to chance and opportunity to experience it.”
After hearing about the book and programs, the audience finally got a chance to see the book as Steven Anderson read the book aloud, inviting all of the children in the audience to join him. We heard all about Leap and Twirl’s week at school, and how they got experience the joy of dance in their life. After the reading, the audience got a special treat as children from the Columbus Urban League gave a little demonstration of how the book is being used in the educational programs. The kids moved around to live music as they pretended to be butterflies and bears and to leap like a frog and twirl like a squirrel – inspired by the characters in the book.
The book launch was a great success, and I think all of the kids in the audience enjoyed it. If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of the book, visit our website at https://www.balletmet.org/dance-education/education/education-materials.
And don’t forget, as Steven Anderson writes in Leap and Twirl, “Every day is a day to dance!”