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Pathways at Shelby County Schools

Created in collaboration with Shelby County Schools and funded by generous donors, Pathways is a tuition-free in school residency program that inspires students with an affinity for dance to continue developing their talents. New Ballet’s Teaching Artists visit partnering schools once to twice a week throughout the school year leading a variety of dance classes. Pathways students perform in New Ballet’s annual Family Night at the Overton Park Shell.

In 2009, Pathways began as the Orange Mound Residency Program at Dunbar Elementary School. Its success caught the attention of the TODAY show, and Al Roker’s “Lend A Hand” program gifted the school with a fully equipped studio, mirrors, sprung floor, and barres. The program evolved into Pathways, expanding into more schools in the county.

A Pathways residency is built collaboratively with school administrators. Many participants explore their passion for dance at their schools and are inspired to advance into classes at New Ballet. Some of these talented young dancers have built successful dance careers, becoming Teaching and Performing Artists who return home to teach in their communities.

Pathways is more than dance classes. Its services reach beyond to address the needs of particular schools and students. Initiatives have included student mentoring through the Lunch Buddies program, free after-school transportation access between students’ schools and New Ballet, and family engagement and assistance programs, all supporting a deeper connection to the family and community.

If your school is interested in becoming partners in the Pathways program, please contact Mary Golden at 901-726-9225 or for more information.

Pathways at Shelby County Schools is generously sponsored by:

  • The Hearst Foundations
  • Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis
  • National Endowment for the Arts (Art Works grant)
  • The Memphis Grizzlies
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Educational Foundation