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In 2014, some of the Imagine Missions children began to take informal ballet classes and to participate in occasional dance numbers at church with Camp Imagine counselor Katie Bridgeman. As Katie continued to visit the orphanage, more and more kids became interested and participated in ballet/dance classes and small church performances. A few other dancers (including Carolyn Tobin and Michelle Sopetti) introduced the kids to modern dance and even some salsa!
As time went on, it became apparent that 10-year-old Estephanie constantly desired to dance... she would beg Katie (who the kids called 'Madame Ballet') to teach 'real ballet class' every day and wowed her Imagine family with her passion and stage presence during small dances for church. So in November 2016, Melissa, Pascal, and Katie took Estephanie to one of the few ballet schools in Haiti- a school called the Institut de Danse Lynn Williams Rouzier (IDDLWR). There, Estephanie tried a class and was hooked, and in good faith that funding for the somewhat pricey dance training would come through, her wonderful parents (Pascal and Melissa) signed her up for the year. Several generous donors stepped in and made it possible to pay for the tuition and expensive cost of travel to and from the school four times a week, as it is in Petionville (1-2 hours away from the orphanage).
Since then, Estephanie has performed in two school shows including the full-length ballet A Midsummer Night's Dream. Katie returned (with dancer friends Emma and Maika) to the orphanage for a long stay and to teach 'dance camp' for all the children interested. The boys began an all-boys ballet class and the little kids continued to enjoy 'creative movement' classes. When she was able to visit IDDLWR to see Estephanie's dance class and rehearsal, she not only saw how Estephanie's technique had improved but what a great vision Lynn and her daughter Marynn, the school's directors, have for growing the art of dance in Haiti. They believe in instilling not only creativity and good technique into their students, but strong values and a sense of togetherness and collaboration between their students of many backgrounds.
When Katie explained Estephanie's background and that there were more little boys and girls interested in taking dance, Lynn and Marynn generously made the long drive to Despinos to visit our orphanage! There, they observed a small ballet class Katie taught the Imagine kids and spoke with Melissa and Pascal about bringing eight of our students to the school for a very reduced cost. We are so grateful for their generosity!
Please consider sponsoring the lessons and weekly transport of our dance students. As a dance (lesson or transport) sponsor, you will make it possible for our children to attend classes and participate in performances, which will widen their senses of self-expression and help them learn discipline and dedication. In the process, you will also be supporting the arts in a developing country as IDDLWR seeks to expand Haiti's exposure to classical ballet and many types of dance ad music. You will also have an opportunity to send and receive occasional letters to/from your sponsored child as well as photos/updates about your child's progress as we are able! Thank you so much for considering this unique opportunity to support growth and development of the children of Imagine Missions and their country of Haiti!
For more information or questions concerning dance sponsorships or dance at Imagine Missions, please contact Katie Bridgeman at firstname.lastname@example.org "