Repertory Dance Theater is a non profit 501(c)(3) pre-professional dance company located in the Lehigh Valley area of eastern Pennsylvania. Grosh had the privilege to speak with the company’s Director, Jennifer Halitzman Tracy, to hear more about their exceptional dance programs.
Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) offers dance education and performance opportunities for elementary through college age students in their local community, removing the need to go to New York or Philadelphia for exceptional training. Many of RDT’s dancers have gone on to receive scholarships for college, apprenticeships with the New York City Ballet or to dance professionally, amongst many other prestigious opportunities.
Ms. Halitzman Tracy explained that one of RDT’s goals is “…to make our [dance] company look more like the community in which we live, which is not just Caucasion. We want to include people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.” Repertory Dance Theatre strives to make dance education accessible to as many young people as possible, which they accomplish through their outreach program, known as the Talent Identification Program. Each year, RDT teaches dance workshops for 1st and 2nd grade students in local inter-city schools. They invite some of the young people who show strong potential in the workshops to audition to join RDT’s company. Once accepted, these students receive a dance education, shoes, attire and performance opportunities for free until they graduate from high school. Joining RDT’s dance company is no small commitment for the student and their family, but it is an opportunity they likely would have never had without the generosity and inclusion of Repertory Dance Theatre’s Talent Identification Program.
Beyond the physical benefits of dance, the disciple of learning choreography and the joys of entertaining audiences, dance students learn so many other invaluable life skills, such as the importance of time management and what it means to be dedicated to something. Dancers develop self-esteem and experience a sense of accomplishment as they continue to progress in their skills and techniques. Ms. Halitzman also explained how each member of RDT feels like family, which gives each person a deep sense of value and belonging.
Grosh is proud to award the Third Place prize of the Grosh Cares Grant to Repertory Dance Theatre. They have received a $500 cash award and $500 credit towards hand painted or projected backdrop rentals. Congratulations! You can see more about Repertory Dance Theatre on their website at http://repertorydance.org/.