Lake Charles Civic Ballet

50 is the New 30

by Rhonda K. Chargois


Southwest Louisiana doesn’t have a professional ballet company to claim as their own. The closest thing we have is a visit from the Moscow Ballet and their Nutcracker sponsored by a local ballet studio. We are fortunate to have our own civic ballet—Lake Charles Civic Ballet. LCCB dancers are students. For the most part, they are middle school and high school students, with a few college students and professional dancers that participate regularly in class and in performances.
Our company dancers are connected. Not that they come to class every afternoon and visit with everyone face to face. They’re connected online. They interact with friends, family, teachers and brands through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube; they read and create blogs like Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress. Smart businesses will meet these younger consumers where they hang out if they expect to be noticed by them and have an impact. Most ballet companies are smart. LCCB wants to connect. We may be over 40, but we’re acting much younger. I guess you could say we’re fighting our age. 
In our efforts to stay young and connect with new ballet fans, we have become much more social. No, we don’t visit in class, but we are connected with people and businesses through social media outlets. We are a nonprofit arts organization which means we are supported by a limited budget. We depend on the support of grants, sponsors, and volunteers. And just in case you didn’t notice—social media is cheap, but it isn’t easy.
Facebook should be fairly easy, right? Twitter is different and may take more time to understand if you’ve never tweeted. Blogging moves into more work. Flickr, YouTube, Foursquare, they all have something fun to offer to a company looking to ‘get social’ on a budget. It’s like an addiction. You add one social account, and the next thing you know you’re adding another and another. But remember, every account has to be updated, monitored, and actively used, or you may as well remove the word ‘social’.
I’ll admit. When my own children were younger I was against social media, but once my children were old enough to become ‘social’ it became my job as a parent to monitor their activity. As I monitored, we learned together the best ways to connect with the good and stay away from the bad content online. Now that I’m 50 which we all know is the new 30, I can connect with the younger generation. Connecting for LCCB means sharing what’s happening inside The Ballet and what’s happening in ballet outside our community. The Nutcracker is great Christmas fun, but ballet is so much more.
Our Social Media Team has a mission to track down the most current online ballet information and discussions. We want to share that information with our dancers and anyone else who may be interested. We want to share the links to our favorite blogs and Facebook Pages on The Ballet blog soon (just as soon as I learn how to do that—Jjk). Some ballet companies have beautiful websites, informative blogs loaded with eye catching photos, and they’re connected with social media in every way imaginable. Other companies are stuck back in a time warp before there was social media.
Last week I heard a mature woman exclaim she would be coloring her hair until the age of 100. Lake Charles Civic Ballet has a group of volunteers who believe our company is a valuable addition to our community and the world of ballet. Connect with us, and let’s be social. We’ll be the elderly women with colored hair staring at our smart phones and clicking away on our laptops.
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