Ballet Hoo! index
Countdown to the performance
Programme 1 summary
Programme 2 summary
Programme 3 summary
Programme 4 summary
Meet the BRB team
Meet the participants
What the project has meant to me
A day in the life...
The story of the ballet
How you can get involved with dance
Press and media coverage of the project
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Keith Horsfall is evangelical about the power of Ballet Hoo! to effect change in people's lives. He stresses that 'even on an economic level, it has benefits. If you think of a plimsoll line running through society - above it is a positive contribution, below it is a negative contribution - we're hoping to raise some of these youngsters above that line.
'If through projects like this, we keep just one kid out of jail, we're saving society £50,000 a year. Over a lifetime, that's half a million pounds. If you multiply that by ten kids, it's massive. Here we've got a hundred kids off benefits, so already that's great. If we retain 30 per cent of them making a positive contribution, then it makes real economic sense.'
Keith goes on to point out the huge amount contributed by the network of voluntary life coaches working for the project. 'All of a sudden, these youngsters see a network of adults who aren't letting them down, but supporting them. It's like a massive role-model organisation.'
The children, Keith reckons, identify with the central strands of Romeo and Juliet. 'The beauty of this project is that, drawing on the combination of dance, drama, music, lighting and sound, we can use the themes of the ballet - gang warfare, unsustainable relationships, teenage suicide, murder, drugs - to help them come to terms with their own problems and learn new social skills. Can they relate to dysfunctional families? Of course they can!'
The other boon of Ballet Boo!, Keith argues, is that it will help shatter misperceptions about children. 'Society does judge young people. I get so cross about that. Kids are so quickly written off. They kicked out of home and school and put in foster and care homes.
'They’re presented on TV programmes like Grange Hill as out of control. That becomes the stereotype. We want to overturn that. This project is saying "I'm not condemning you just because you're wearing a hoodie. I'm putting my trust in you".'