Community-funded ticket program helps students attend ‘Cinderella’ ballet

JACKSON, Tenn. — Two-thousand students from Jackson-Madison County schools filled the Carl Perkins Civic Center Friday for a day of dance, and 1,600 of them were there thanks to Ballet Ticket Buddies.

“We originally applied for the Tennessee Arts Commission grant and because there were so many schools trying to go to the ballet. We got declined,” said Ciera Wood, a dance teacher at Jackson Careers and Technology Elementary School.

She took a group of students to see “Cinderella,” a ballet put on by Ballet Arts of Jackson.

Not all of her students could go to the performance, but community members jumped in to help.

“What Ticket Buddies is, is the community kind of pays for each student’s ticket,” Wood said. “They take donations in to make sure that every student has that opportunity if the state can’t provide the funding through the grant.”

The goal of Ballet Ticket Buddies is to educate students and give them the experience of a live performance.

Wood’s students are excited to see the performance.

“I danced at school, but I’ve never experienced something like this big in my life,” said Cortlie Moore, a fifth grade student at JCT.

“‘Cinderella’ was a significant part of my life since like I grew up, because I used to be obsessed with ‘Cinderella’ and I sorta fell out of it, so it’s like reminding me when I was a little girl and I really like that stuff,” said Mykala Vinson, another JCT fifth grader.

“This means an honor to me because I never experienced the ‘Cinderella’ movie before,” said JCT fifth-grader Lemarcus Parks.

“Most of my students haven’t been outside of east Jackson, and so this is kind of an opportunity for them to see something they’ve never experienced before,” Wood said.

For more information or to donate to Ballet Ticket Buddies, visit the Ballet Arts of Jackson website.

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