Dance Theater continues to inspire hope for Syracuse locals

Dance Theater continues to inspire hope for Syracuse locals

The Dance Theater of Syracuse breaks barrier after barrier with each passing year.
Published: October 16, 2019

The video was produced Oct. 3-6 as part of The Fall Workshop at Syracuse University's Newhouse School.

The children twirled across the floor without a care in the world. The fingerprinted mirror reflected the sway of their bodies. They ran after each other in a quick game of catch. They believed in themselves and were determined to face anything. The Dance Theater of Syracuse gives families hope and gives dance a deeper purpose.

Located at 117 Harvard Place, The Dance Theater of Syracuse continues to provide dance classes to children, teens, and adults. This company has been running for almost two decades, raising prodigies and professionals in the dance arts. Dancers at the company also participate in local festivals and competitions such as the Westcott Cultural Fair in September. Carol Charles, the director of the theater, spoke about the representation of color in studios.

“It is important to us to get them places where they can see themselves on stage so they know what we’re working toward,” Charles said.

The Dance Theater of Syracuse
A Dance Theater instructor helps younger students with stretching exercises.

The theater wants to break barriers as the dance world shifts. Charles has seen children from all walks of life come through the theater. She wants it to be a place where people can escape while being a safe space for families.

“I believe that the arts have a way of cultivating wellbeing and a sense of self that no matter your financial circumstances you can rise above the narrative of poverty,” Charles said.

Charles believes the theater has had a profound impact on the community, encouraging them to develop life skills in whatever they do. For her, the theater is an environment and a home where parents can leave their children in a safe space. Each person involved in the company takes care of each other while securing its foundation.

Dance Theater of Syracuse
Dancers line up during rehearsal on Oct. 5 at Dance Theater of Syracuse.

“Sometimes, it’s the children that have nothing that will fight the hardest to get what you have, and I see that a lot,” Charles said. “A dance class, who would think she walked five miles to get to that class?”

The theater’s goal is to help children prove to themselves that they can become anything they want, especially girls of color. For Charles, the theater is a place where these girls can see their beauty and develop a passion for the structure of the classroom. She sees a future for them.

“I guess I’d really like to say if you’re out there and if you’ve ever had the opportunity to dance,” Charles said. “You know what it can do to lift a child out their circumstance into their possibility.”

Editor's Note:

The video was produced Oct. 3-6, 2019, as part of The Fall Workshop at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.