Anna Boatwright

Dancing Her Way into Children's Hearts

Anna Boatwright is passionate about dance. A trained ballerina, she regards dance as a powerful form of self-expression that can contribute significantly to self-esteem.

For her action project, Anna wanted to share the beauty and the benefits of dance with underprivileged children. Using a wide array of leadership skills, Anna successfully established a ballet program at the YWCA in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

Many small steps were required to make the project a reality. First, Anna needed to find a space in which to teach. She contacted staff at Charleston's YWCA and cultivated a productive working relationship with them. The space available there wasn't perfect-it had no bars or mirrors-but she adjusted, using tables as surrogate bars and using her own body to reflect what the children were doing.

Anna's action project challenged her in several important ways. She not only learned to work with and teach children-devising exercises and choreographing dance pieces-she also honed her speaking and arguing skills as she worked to gain the trust and confidence of the YWCA's director and staff. Her efforts paid off. Not only did they offer Anna space, they invited her to teach at a YWCA camp in the summer and to return the following year to teach again.

Anna's work has reaped multiple benefits. The children have grown through their exposure to dance. Their parents have found new ways of getting involved with them. The staff and YWCA have enjoyed being able to offer dance classes to the community. And Anna has stretched and grown and proved herself to be a graceful and determined leader.

Anna's project got the attention of Seventeen magazine. Read the article!