The Charleston Ballet's board of directors and artistic director want to encourage folks who might not be able to afford ballet tickets to experience the beauty of dance.
So for the last couple of years, the ballet has offered its Ballet For All program.
It is open to any child in Kanawha or Putnam county schools who qualifies for the free or reduced lunches — and the child's family. Tickets are just $5, rather than the $20 price normally charged for adults and the $15 charged for students.
Katie Feola, a former dancer with the ballet who now serves on the board, said board members have sought ways to make the tickets easily accessible — and even free, in some instances.
To that end, her dentist husband, Nick, has purchased a block of tickets that were distributed at the Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School. Putnam County Realtor Kim Jarrouj purchased another block that was distributed there and another former dancer, Alison Adkins, purchased tickets that were distributed in the area.
"This year we've been trying to get businesses to sponsor tickets so we can get them to more families," Katie Feola said.
"The idea is to help children that normally might not come to the ballet."
This weekend's season opener is the full-length staging of "La Bayadere."
Feola said eligible parents who wish to purchase tickets may do so by calling the ballet office at 304-342-6541 and reserving them for pickup at the Civic Center Little Theater. They do not have to show proof that their children are on the free or reduced lunch program; the program is operated on the honor system.
While the ballet has set aside 200 tickets for the program, it has never given out that many with the program.
"We would love for that to be a problem," Feola said, and the ballet's artistic director, Kim Pauley, has indicated she'd set aside even more if necessary.
The ballet's productions take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.