Recently, ABB entered into a partnership with the Norman Rockwell Museum located in Stockbridge, MA to offer an integrated arts educational performance that combines both professional dance and visual art. Norman Rockwell Museum Dances with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, focuses on sharing America’s stories through the art of Rockwell illustration and the power of live, professional dance. Designed to foster a love and understanding of art and culture, this program also encourages its student audiences to use critical thinking skills, imagination, and engage in social and emotional development through interactive exploration. Students leave this performance with a new understanding of how visual art and dance relate to one another, and a keen awareness of the impact that art in its various forms has on our cultural progress as a society and nation.The program is built around four iconic Rockwell paintings: Girl at the Mirror, The Marriage License, The Gaiety Dance Team, and Rosie the Riveter. For each of these paintings, the Norman Rockwell Museum’s Curator of Education delivers a multimedia presentation describing the historical context of each work, major social themes, and other relevant information about its creation and inspiration. After students have learned about the historical background and context of a painting, ABB brings the illustration to life through dance. The program also offers audience members a chance to interact with the dancers, crew,and museum staff member after the performance in a question and answer session.
Recently, for the Norman Rockwell Museum Dances with Albany Berkshire Ballet production, ABB visited public schools in four districts across Massachusetts. In the most local district, Pittsfield, ABB performed at four schools where 30.9% of the student body was made up of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and multi-race students. All of the students in three of the four districts visited qualify for the free breakfast and lunch program through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision for schools in low-income areas. As many as 73% of students came from economically disadvantaged families in the schools we visited.