ballet tech cincinnati changes name to reflect expanded vision

Ballet tech cincinnati, the nonprofit that's expanded Cincinnati's dance vocabulary, has expanded its own vocabulary beyond dance. Its new name, arts innovation movement Cincinnati, (or aim) reflects the diversity of programs it hosts and its big goals for expanding the city's arts outlook.

Marvel Gentry Davis, aim cincinnati's Producing Artistic Director and President of the Board of Directors, has overseen the organization's development from its humble roots. In 1997, ballet tech was a nonprofit designed to provide dance performances for one small dance school in Maineville, OH.

"What we found," said Gentry Davis, "was that this organization was being controlled by a handful of people - but a nonprofit had to belong to the community."

The organization recently moved to its Kennedy Heights facility, which has allowed it to further the diversity of Cincinnatians served by its programs. Located in the District A arts Corridor, the building now welcomes the Q City Players Comedy Improv Troupe, Jazz Jams music improv sessions, dance classes, and a summer performance camp.

Gentry Davis became President of the Board in 2001, and guided board members in deciding what ballet tech could bring to Greater Cincinnati. They wanted to create dance performances that catered to non-traditional audiences, such as parents of small children. They also hoped that their brand of dance would be a catalyst for diversity and tolerance in the wake of 2001's civil unrest in Over-the-Rhine.

According to Gentry Davis, the resulting Leaping for Literacy dance shows are "designed for a two-and-a-half-year-old, but can also be enjoyed by that child's parents and grandparents."  

Last February's Talking Eggs production was based on a Caldecott Award-winning children's book of the same name; next April's Leap is Lord of the Jungle, a Tarzan story. Leaping for Literacy won ballet tech the 2008 Scripps-Corbett Award, given to arts ventures that impact society. ballet tech/aim cincinnati was also the only arts organization finalist for the regional ONE Award, recognizing excellence in nonprofit operations.

Nine years of Aronoff Center performances will culminate in a 10th anniversary celebration - August 14's Gala of International Dance Stars. The only event of its kind in the Midwest, the Gala will feature 17 dancers from world-renown companies and five world premieres.

You can keep up on aim's programs through its Facebook page.
Writer: Elena Stevenson
Source: Marvel Gentry Davis, Producing Artistic Director and President of Board, aim cincinnati
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