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Danielle Jones ’14 Channels Passion for Dance Through New Ballet Internship

Publication Date: 5/1/2013

For Danielle Jones ’14, an internship is much more than just a job opportunity. It reflects her passion: dance. This year, Jones has been able to channel that passion through an internship with the New Ballet Ensemble and School. The internship is funded by the Ham and Katherine Smythe Fellowship in the Arts, and Jones is involved in many aspects of New Ballet including working weekly at Dunbar Elementary School in the Orange Mound community.

“I have danced for 13 years, and I am on the dance team here at Rhodes,” says Jones. “Dance has always been a part of my life, and so emotionally, I share a close connection with these kids who are getting really good training through New Ballet. I love the arts and working with them. This is a great experience.”

Jones began the internship in November 2012, and since then, her work with the organization has been multifaceted. New Ballet offers professional training in ballet, flamenco, hip-hop, jazz and other genres, and it also runs residency programs like the one Jones assists with at Dunbar Elementary for boys and girls in third, fourth and fifth grades. Many students in the residency program go on to receive need-based scholarships at New Ballet.

“If the students at Dunbar show talent and commitment, they have the opportunity to earn a scholarship at New Ballet and take classes with all the other students who attend the school,” says Jones. “Another really awesome thing is that New Ballet has a grant to provide transportation for the students. I’ve worked with programs before where the opportunities were great, but if they didn’t have a way to get there, that was a huge problem.”

Jones, a double major in environmental studies and anthropology/sociology from Little Rock, Ark., began dancing ballet when she was six. At the age of 12, she began to take up modern, tap, jazz, and then hip-hop. Jones was considering studying dance in college until she tore her ACL and meniscus during her junior year of high school. Earning a scholarship at the age of seven allowed Jones to dance at the school of Ballet Arkansas, and Jones says that it was this experience that allows her to relate so closely with her students who love to dance and are able to do so through their New Ballet scholarships.

“Growing up in Little Rock, I didn’t have the opportunity to do in-school classes like this that flowed into an actual dance school, and New Ballet is really unique in that regard,” says Jones. “Dance and the arts taught me a lot about discipline and perseverance, and I really hope the students understand how that can transfer into other areas of their lives. It is so exciting to see them do well.”

In addition to working with the students at Dunbar, Jones takes a ballet class three times a week at the New Ballet studio and assists with a creative movement class for preschoolers. She also has taken on a supportive role in the office, helping with grant-writing and marketing for various events. Still, Jones says that her time at Dunbar is the most rewarding aspect of her internship.

“I leave work happy every day,” says Jones. “Even though some days are frustrating, at the end of the day, the kids are happy I’m there and I’m glad that they’re learning to dance.”

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ’13)

Tags: Arts/Performances, Campus Life, Service, Students