Centre For Dance Education Joins The Fight Against Childhood Obesity


Media Contact:
Sigele Winbush, 404-862-2081


Atlanta Ballet Observes National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month with

Inaugural “What Moves You?” Healthy Living Day on Sunday, Sept. 9

ATLANTA (August 22, 2012) In recognition of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education will host its inaugural “What Moves You” Healthy Living Day on Sunday, Sept. 9 from 10 am – 6 pm, at its Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre in West Midtown Atlanta.

The event is part of the Centre’s initiative to promote healthy, sustainable lifestyles through physical activity and a balanced, nutritious diet. The event will also support the national effort to eradicate childhood obesity in the U.S. 
Festivities are open to the public and will include:

  • Free dance classes for children and adults (e.g. ballet, salsa, hip hop, modern, African, jazz, yoga, and musical theatre)
  • Nutrition seminars and food demonstrations
  • Health assessments and individual consultations
  • Performances by:
    • Atlanta Ballet’s modern dance troupe Wabi Sabi
    • 35 students from Atlanta Ballet’s community ensemble, with live African drumming from award-winning, all-female ensemble Giwayen Mata and Attoungblan: Ivory Coast Dance Theatre

“This event has been a goal of ours since we opened the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre in 2010, and we are ecstatic to see it come to fruition,” said Carla Cuba, Centre for Dance Education community programs director and one of the event coordinators. “Our mission has been always been to inspire and enrich the communities we serve through dance, and now we’re expanding our outreach to include nutrition and healthy living.”

Healthy Living Day will also serve as the official “coming out party” for Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Nutrition, which was also launched in 2010 and is the first of its kind for any dance company in the U.S. The Centre for Dance Nutrition is headed by registered dietitian (and former Atlanta Ballet dancer) Emily Cook Harrison, who worked closely with Cuba to create the event.

“Although nutrition and healthy eating are crucial to the lives of dancers, the principles we teach are applicable for everyone. Many of our students may not go on to pursue professional careers in ballet, but a healthy, active lifestyle is necessary for whatever path you choose,” said Harrison.  “Our goal with this event is to make that message resonate with all families, no matter their circumstance or socio-economic background.”

For the festivities, Harrison has put together a day of interactive workshops that will show families that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive, but affordable, accessible, and fun.

Parents and their kids can partake in classes like “Feeding a Healthy Family: Real Life Nutrition for Busy Families,” which will include food demonstrations of healthy recipes, and “Smart Shoppers: Media, the Food Industry, and Food Choices,” a workshop where kids will have an opportunity to make their own commercial about healthy eating.

Harrison will also be on hand throughout the day with other registered dietitians conducting health assessments and individual consultations.

“Atlanta Ballet and its Centre for Dance Education recognize the serious threat obesity poses to the health of America’s children and the importance of decreasing its prevalence, not only in Georgia, but across the entire United States,” said Harrison. “Through programs like Healthy Living Day, we are confident that we can play a significant role in remedying this problem.” 

During the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups, increasing more than fourfold among children ages 6 to 11. According to a 2010 study released by the Center for Disease Control, more than 12 million children and teenagers (16.9%) ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic.  In Georgia, one in five children is overweight.

Throughout the school year, Harrison partners with Cuba to bring dance and healthy living practices to the Centre’s community partners and programs. Harrison also provides comprehensive nutrition services for the professional Company and students within the Centre for Dance Education.  

Atlanta Ballet is one of hundreds of organizations, advocates and families nationwide planning events and activities to build awareness of childhood obesity and ways to combat it in observance of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. September 2010 was the first National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, established by presidential and congressional proclamations and adopted locally by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education “What Moves You” Healthy Living Day will be held from 10 am – 6 pm on Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre, located at 1695 Marietta Blvd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30318 in West Midtown Atlanta.

For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit or call 404-873-5811. Representatives from the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, Atlanta Braves, Wholesome Wave, Chikin Feed Atlanta, and the Atlanta Beltline will also be present.


Click here for the "What Moves You?" Healthy Living Day class and seminar schedule.