The Right Brain Initiative


Artist Details

Oregon Ballet Theatre


Book this artist using the Residency Request Form


  1.  Students will experience the joy of moving their bodies through space.


  1.  Students will use their bodies expressively while maintaining personal space.


  1.   Students will develop social and emotional learning skills through dance.


  1.   Students will deepen mind and body connections through kinesthetic exploration of academic principles using dance.


  1.   Students will be exposed to the breadth of ballet, undoing stereotypical notions of classical ballet.


Since 1989, Oregon Ballet Theatre has been committed to sharing our passion for the expressive power of ballet, inspiring an enduring appreciation of dance, and connecting in meaningful ways to our community, through excellence in performance, training, and educational programs. Our work is driven by three core values of our mission statement; to share, inspire, and connect. We are dedicated to the vitality of world-class ballet in the region and strive to ensure all community members have access to the world of dance. OBT education programs serve 35,000 people of all ages in studios, classrooms, and theaters around the state. We are the largest professional ballet company in Oregon, train the next generation of dancers with our junior company, and reach audiences of 70,000 annually through productions.  


OBT Education Outreach offers integrated in-school dance residencies, field trips, lectures and more.  OBT ensures access to professional dance experiences for people of all ages. Our teaching artists bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge including dancing in professional companies, degrees in dance and dance education (Columbia College, Mills College, University of Utah) and a passion for collaborating with schools and teachers while seeking inspiration from the students they teach.










Students will experience the joy of moving their bodies through space!  Finally, a class where students are encouraged to leap their highest, stretch their fullest, collapse to the floor and do it all again.  Using a ballet structure as a foundation, students may circle one leg in a rond de jambe then explore how a rond de jambe can progress to painting colorful, imaginary circles through space.  Or, students might discover the intense effort and concentrated focus that comes when balancing on one leg in an arabesque


Students will use their bodies expressively while maintaining personal space.  The art form of dance is unique in that the body is the medium to express feelings, stories, ideas.  For instance, through embodying the weather cycle students may be lightening flashing and darting through the space, falling rain prancing-splashing-marching, then evaporating water molecules floating and drifting back to clouds.  Personal movement exploration of this nature encourages students to be respectful and safe of other dancers’ bodies and movement choices. At times students will be challenged to dance in one spot (self-space) and other times students are encouraged to travel through the room (general-space) all while maintaining safety.


Students will develop social and emotional learning skills through dance.  Development of these skills may look like maintaining spatial formations during chassés, taking turns to leap over a pointe shoe, making shapes with a partner, creating a short dance composition with a small group.  In addition, students learn to watch each other through audience and performer exercises, while answering questions, “What do I see?” or “What do I like?”  Students will learn the power of using the body as a tool for communication.


Students will deepen mind and body connections through kinesthetic exploration of academic principles using dance.  OBT teaching artists carefully craft lesson plans to reflect the classes’ essential question.  First grade students may explore changing tempos while learning about the speed of sound and light waves, 3rd grade students may embody very-vivid-verbs as they relate to literacy, 5th grade students may dance various pathways as they learn about human-migration.  


Students will be exposed to the breadth of ballet, undoing stereotypical notions of classical ballet.  In addition to the in-school dance residency, Oregon Ballet Theatre may provide access to costumes and pointe shoes, school matinee performances at Keller or Newmark Theatres, tours of OBT studios and a chance to learn what a career in dance may be.



OBT teaching artists draw from Oregon Department of Education Dance Standards as well as incorporating Academic Content Standards in their lessons.  You can dance about anything! Dance is a form of communication. You can learn about the world and your place in it through dance!


OBT teaching artists are able to link dance with a number of curriculum concepts.  Some of our favorites are:


  • Literacy
  • Expressive word choice and parts of speech
  • Story telling
  • Poetry
  • Observation
  • Pattern
  • Geometric shapes
  • Flip, Slide, Turn (Reflection, Translation, Rotation)
  • Symmetry/Asymmetry
  • Motion
  • Life Cycles
  • Animals and Habitats
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Art and Music
  • Tempos and Rhythms
  • Duration
  • Choreographic Tools
  • Accountability
  • Respect

What are some of your ideas?  OBT teaching artists would love to partner with you!


  • Eva Burton and Adam Hartley in William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

  • Emily Parker in George Balanchine’s Serenade.

  • Oregon Ballet Theatre Principal Artist Brian Simcoe and singer China Forbes in OBT’s 2017 performance of Nicolo Fonte’s Never Stop Falling in Love with Pink Martini. Photo by Yi Yin.

  • Photos provided by: Eva Burton, Adam Hartley/Blain Truitt, Emily Parker/James McGrew, Brian Simcoe/Yi Yin, Jim Thompson, Brook Manning, Derrick Ramey,


Space:  Auditorium or large space or a designated classroom free of obstacles.  A session may occur in a classroom with advanced communication.  


Travel: I drive and am available for residencies more than 15 miles outside of Portland.


Sessions:  At least two classes, but happy to do more. We can work back-to-back.  A 5-15 minute break works well.  Breaks longer than one hour will be charged.


Supplies: none


Technology: We provide our own iPad, speakers, and props as needed. Just need electric outlets.


$75 per hour for residency session, planning, and/or prep

$100 per hour for teacher workshop

Travel:  Travel is charged per mile based on applicable IRS Standard Mileage Rate.  Mileage reimbursement only applies to residencies more than 15 miles outside of downtown Portland.



Questions? Contact your Right Brain Coach.


503-225-5900 x229




Jennifer Cusick


(503) 353-5620

Sunnyside Elementary School

1st Grade

Michelle Cook



Powell Valley Elementary School

Michael Stephens



Powell Valley Elementary School

5th Grade

FAQ Arts