Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

PNC Gift Supports Boys’ Dance 

PNC Gift Supports Boys’ Dance 

The Estelle Dennis/Peabody Dance Training Program for Boys is currently in its sixth year, under the leadership of department chair Melissa Stafford.

Throughout its proud 100-year history, Peabody Dance has been a pioneer, frequently offering groundbreaking programs and performances that have shaped American dance. Its Estelle Dennis/Peabody Dance Training Program for Boys, established in 2009, is an example of just such a program. The program offers rigorous training in classical ballet for boys ages 9 to 15 and is tuition-free for all participants.

A new gift from PNC will support the program and help boys with potential and a love for dance pursue their passion.

“At PNC, we believe that students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, especially those from underserved communities, should have access to arts and cultural education,” said Will Backstrom, PNC client and community relations director in Greater Maryland. “We are proud to support the Peabody Dance Training Program in its efforts to encourage boys in the Baltimore area to pursue dance training studies at a prestigious arts education institution.”

Up to 25 boys, some with little or no previous training, are accepted into the program by audition each year. Each dancer receives high-level dance instruction valued at more than $1,800 per year, plus unique opportunities to attend professional performances and meet professional male dancers. The next round of auditions will be announced in March.

“Gifts like this one from PNC make it possible for us to discover and nurture these boys’ exceptional talents,” said Peabody Dance Department Chair Melissa Stafford. “As we celebrate our centennial season, we are so grateful to PNC and all of our donors and supporters who are investing in the future of dance at Peabody.”

— Tiffany Lundquist