Naturally, I'd find out about this amazing school after moving back from Rio, but I'm glad that it's now at least on my radar. Thanks to Kacie for sending this to me!
UPDATE: The Miami Herald published a second story about the program today with a photo gallery of the kids here.
The Miami City Ballet has a scholarship program for children from the Escola de Dança Alice Arja, a professional dance school near Barra that trains a combination of paying students and favela kids. Alice Arja was trained in Brazil, the US, and Cuba, and has run the school since 1989, producing students who have gone on to join major companies in Brazil and Europe, and to study at professional schools around the world.
Ms. Arja sets aside half of the spots at the school for scholarship students, and has set up a partnership with the Miami City Ballet to send the most talented students to the US to take a summer intensive there. This year, 23 of her students were accepted into the program, a sizable fraction of the 215 total students in the entire summer intensive from all over the US and the world. One of the Brazilian students even won an apprenticeship with the Miami City Ballet, and will stay in the US to dance with them.
While the video feature from the Miami Herald drums away at how "needy" the children are (they live in cardboard boxes! without water! or electricity!), the bottom line is that this is an amazing and unique program that allows kids with no financial resources to have the opportunity of a lifetime to train in another country. [Check out the full story from the Miami Herald here, and watch the accompanying video below.]
The MH video wasn't spectacularly done, but what I really loved was finding videos of one of the Brazilian students dancing at the program this year (with hushed, awed commentary in Portuguese). See parts 2 & 3 of the piece here and here.