Mountain Mayhem: Celebrate the Beat |

Mountain Mayhem: Celebrate the Beat

Over the years, I’d heard about Celebrate the Beat (CTB) at the Community School in Woody Creek through friends whose children had participated in its three-week dance program there involving the entire student body and even the faculty. But not until a recent reception at a ranch on Owl Creek Road did I have a chance to see a dose of it up close and understand its significance.

The program’s history began in 2000 when the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet invited Tracy Straus, a Tony Award winner and artistic associate at National Dance Institute in New York City, to create a program to bring the highest quality arts education to Colorado. That year, she met Jim Gilchrist with the Community School and they’ve worked together ever since. In 2004, she established CTB as an independent nonprofit and by 2018, in collaboration with teachers and school officials, CTB’s program began reaching over 3,500 children annually, forming essential collaborations to give at-risk youth opportunities they never dreamed possible.

This summer, on a beautiful July evening at the home of Elliott and Donna Slade, guests gathered for an inspiring dance performance by Denver students ranging in age. Tracy Straus welcoming all, alongside CTB executive director Justine Roberts, Denver program director Heather Krentz, Vail program director Kris Ashley and board members.

Straus spoke to the impact of the program, noting, “The arts truly transform children’s lives and we believe every child has a beat within. Our program teaches children to become the very best they can become and it’s grown because it works.”

CTB supports the highest quality in-school and after-school dance programs for all children that improves their physical health and well-being, inspires them to believe in themselves, and establishes a standard of excellence that impacts all aspects of their lives. CTB programs contribute to a healthier, higher achieving student body. By experiencing and thriving in CTB programs children are learning to listen, focus and take direction, and their excitement about learning itself is ignited.

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