Art and physical education programs provide crucial stimulation for the healthy cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development of children and adolescents. The progressive defunding of these programs in public schools may jeopardize the overall well-being and maturation of youth, especially those who are at-risk or from an underprivileged background. After-school programs may boost resilience by increasing resilience factors such as self-efficacy, self-esteem, social relationships, and felt connections to the surrounding community. After-school programs that emphasize dance have been found to promote well-being in at-risk children yet the impact of ballet, as a community-based programmatic intervention, upon children and adolescents has yet to be evaluated. Assuming a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach and using a mixed methodology, the aims of this study are two-fold: The first goal is to explore the cognitive, emotional, social, and physical impact that ballet can exert on youth who participate in the Aspire Project, a non-profit, after-school ballet program whose primary mission is to provide subsidized ballet lessons for at-risk youth. The second goal is to investigate, identify, and delineate effective programmatic interventions utilized by the Aspire Project in relation to their community members.
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