A still image from the Northern Ballet and American Ballet Theatre virtual collaboration, supported by Burberry Inspire.

LONDON — The Burberry Foundation has expanded its in-school arts and culture project, Burberry Inspire, to the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Artistic partners taking part in the program, such as American Ballet Theatre, Northern Ballet, Reel Works, Leeds Young Film, Studio in a School NYC, The Hepworth Wakefield and Leeds Playhouse, turned to virtual learning to continue their lessons, despite the impact of the pandemic on education programs.

Artists from those institutions created virtual dance, sculpture and digital media artworks that were directly inspired by the students, with highlights including the first collaboration between American Ballet Theatre and Northern Ballet. Students worked with professional dancers on four films that were shot partly in New York and at the Hepworth Wakefield, a cubical-looking contemporary art museum in West Yorkshire, England.

Leanne Kirkham, director of learning at Northern Ballet, said: “With great challenge comes great opportunity, and we wanted to share this ethos with young people by offering them a chance to work with professional dancers like never before. Pupils in Yorkshire and New York City have risen to the challenge and created some beautifully inspiring choreography, which our dancers have loved bringing to life.”

 

A still image from dance film Roots performed by Northern Ballet.

A still image from dance film “Roots” performed by Northern Ballet.  Courtesy Photo

 

Reel Works, an organization that aims to empower underrepresented students through filmmaking, helped students to create original documentaries, narratives and animated films, and share their stories with their schools and communities. Burberry Inspire has also been collaborating with Leeds Young Film on ideas and ways to engage students.

Studio in a School NYC, which aims to enrich young lives through visual arts, launched Studio in Your Home, a platform for creating art with materials found at home, to stay connected to students during the pandemic. They created a distance-learning curriculum, including instructional videos, illustrated lesson plans and family art-making guides, put into practice with nearly 100 partner schools.

A virtual cultural runway will be held later this year to showcase students’ work from the transatlantic program, and some 5,500 young people have benefited from Burberry Inspire from their experiences of the creative arts, the brand said.

“Supporting the arts and engaging students in creativity is more important than ever, and we’re grateful to all the teams who have worked tirelessly to continue to provide resources and cultivate a true sense of community and connection,” said Pam Batty, secretary to The Burberry Foundation and vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry.

 

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