Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Supporter Spotlight: Julie Sunderland of the Cincinnati Ballet

Picture from of Julie Sunderland with kids from one of Cincinnati Ballet’s Outreach Programs.
  Last Monday, I was able to be there for the very first day of the 2014 Faces without Places Yellow Bus Summer Camp and I stood off to the side as the campers got off the bus. I saw many nervous faces and closed off body language, some heads down and scuffling feet. I tried to draw out some smiles with silly antics and high fives as we lined up in the playground, getting ready for Movin’ It, but to little avail. Movin’ It is the first things the kids do every day when they get to camp, learning dance moves or exercise routines from a volunteer to get their hearts pumping and to clear their minds. So the nervous kids and staff in bright yellow shirts lined up with their eyes on Julie Sunderland with the Cincinnati Ballet. Her energy and sunshine that morning seeped into the kids and I saw their eyes brightening as she led them through some fun dance moves to the song “Happy” by Pharrell. While trying to keep up with Julie and the kids, my eyes scanned the group and I felt so happy to see the nervousness melting away. The kids threw themselves into spinning, twirling, leaping and dancing, forgetting their worries and breaking into smiles and laughter. Julie has the amazing ability of helping kids (and adults!) to dance and be silly and let loose, while still learning and following directions. The point of Movin’ It is to teach kids who may be going through a lot of transition that movement and exercise is necessary to our health and ability to do well in school and life, but it is also fun! We would like to share our appreciation for Julie for being a wonderful example of this for the kids, some of whom are still practicing the dance at local family shelters and have definitely caught the dance bug from her. Thank you Julie!

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