Celebrate the Beat empowers children through dance | VailDaily.com

Celebrate the Beat empowers children through dance

Carolyn Pope
High Altitude Society
Children of Celebrate the Beat learn self-empowerment through dance.
Jon Resnick | Special to the Daily

I once heard someone say, “If you hit a wall, climb over it, crawl under it, or dance on top of it.”

Dancing on top of the walls is what Celebrate the Beat emphasizes. Back in 2000, Tracy Straus, a Tony Award-winner and artistic associate at National Dance Institute in New York, was invited to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to create Celebrate the Beat in 2004. Last year, CTB brought its programs to more than 3,500 children in 25 schools throughout Colorado and Mexico.

Programs are availabler before and after school programs and, during the summer, through Joyful Arts Camps and the Denver Summer Institute. Pop Hop is its week-long immersion camp, which culminates at the Vail International Dance Festival. This year, the children danced at the beginning of the Vail Dance Festival’s International Dance Evenings along with American Ballet Theater’s James Whiteside.

The organization is all about empowering children through dance. Recently, the board of Celebrate the Beat held a fundraiser and performance at the home of Glen and Margaret Wood.

Justine Roberts, executive director of Celebrate the Beat, said the organization was founded in the belief that the arts can transform any child’s life.

“CTB students are joyfully challenged through dance,” she said, “and music programs to develop healthy living habits, the art of collaboration, world views and cultural literacy, critical thinking skills, the ability to communicate ideas through the arts, confidence in themselves, the drive to achieve and a desire to succeed.”

Roberts serves along with the talents of many people, including Jacob Lidard, the Vail musical director and Kris Ashley, the Vail Valley program director.

For more information on Celebrate the Beat, visit at http://www.ctbeat.org.