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HTown60: Houston Ballet's Graceful Givings

The idea behind the costume giveaway is similar to Supermarket Sweep.

A holiday tradition is coming home. The Houston Ballet will perform The Nutcracker back at Wortham Theater for the first time since Harvey damaged the venue. But before those dancers hit the stage, the Ballet is giving back in a big way.

Since 2006, the Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement team has organized Graceful Givings, a costume giveaway for about 40 Houston-area school dance programs.

“Dance supply stores donate leftover costumes, material, shoes and classroom wear to us,” explains ECE Director Jennifer Sommers.

Those donors include BackStage Dancewear, Russian Pointe, Jazz Rags, Georgie Girl and Leapin' Leotards.

Come the morning of the giveaway, a practice space at the Ballet’s downtown location is stuffed with roughly $35,000 goodies that will be put to good use.

“Graceful Givings really gives us an opportunity to include all our kids,” says Chadwick Peters, director of dance at Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School.

“We fundraise a lot and Graceful Givings helps supplement some of that fundraising so that we don’t have to fundraise as much,” adds April Pollard, a dance educator at Pershing Middle School.

The idea behind the giveaway is similar to Supermarket Sweep. Three schools at a time get one minute to fill a bag with as much as they can. Organizers cycle through all the schools until the floor is clear.

“Oh, goodness. It is so much fun,” Pollard says.

On the sidelines, you’ll find people making trades and working together so everyone comes away happy.

“It’s almost like a community garage sale with no sales,” laughs Peters.

To learn more about Graceful Givings, click here.

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