IN 2017, DANCE EDUCATORS LINDEN MCPHERSON AND JACK VIRGA-HALL founded a non-profit called Ballet Pacifica whose mission is to expose young people to the beauty, artistry and athleticism of ballet through educational outreach and performances.
How the outreach program developed
The educational outreach program was envisioned by Linden McPherson, a former professional ballet dancer, ballet teacher for over 40 years with a BA and Masters degree in Dance from the University of CA, Irvine, and Jack Virga-Hall, a professional dancer, dance teacher for over 30 years who attended California Institute of the ARTS. Together with curriculum by Dr. Corina Williams McGovern, a former professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and instructor at University of California, Los Angeles with over 25 year of experience working in educational settings,
the SMArts Educational Outreach Curriculum was created.
These experts and specialists from various fields, including education and early childhood development created SMArts, an interactive arts integration educational program for 2nd and 3rd graders. The unique curriculum uses dance and movement to teach common core concepts in math, science, language arts and world culture. The program also incorporates a live or recorded performance of the The Nutcracker ballet.
Our reach so far:
SMArts was piloted to a handful of public and Title 1 parochial schools in underserved areas of Los Angeles in the Fall of 2018. The response was overwhelming. SMArts has seen consistent growth over its years of operation, notwithstanding the disruption to classroom learning caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, when all lessons were converted to video. This continued growth, and strong community support testifies to the positive impact and reach of SMArts.
SMArts is made possible through the generous support of sponsors,
donors and partner organizations,
who believe in the power of integrated learning through the arts.
Amestoy Elementary School
"Thank you so much for this program. My class and I loved it! It was amazing! You guys really outdid yourselves. The way that you adapted the program for distance learning was SENSATIONAL! Kudos to you and everyone who worked on it. The program was outstanding, and the dancers were top-notch! Thank you so much. Hopefully, next year we will be able to see it in person. Happy Holidays!"
Robinson Elementary School
"The students loved the SMARTS program! We followed your suggested schedule and used the information you provided for each lesson. Thank you so much for letting us participate."
Nativity Catholic School
"First, I want to say how AMAZING this program is! The video content makes this program so easy to work with and our kids LOVE it. Thank you for all the time and expense it took to upgrade this wonderful program. We appreciate all you do for students and schools in need. There truly are no words to express our appreciation."
Linden McPherson - President
Elaine Ketchmere - Treasurer
Peggy Grant - Secretary
Corina McGovern - Educational Outreach
Jack Virga Hall
Dr. Candace Poindexter
SMArts coordinator - Maureen Gold
SMArts is a DBA of Ballet Pacifica, a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Corporation,