Press Release

Free afterschool dance program for San Francisco children to expand through funding from Bank of the West and the BNP Paribas Foundation
San Francisco | Feb 08, 2016

Bank of the West and the BNP Paribas Foundation today announced that Alonzo King LINES Ballet (LINES) was awarded a grant from each of the organizations to support HeART with LINES, a free dance education program that promotes creative expression while fostering self-esteem, confidence and social development. HeART with LINES targets underserved youth in the 3rd through 8th grades who might not have access to quality arts programs, and provides them with lessons focused on universal dance concepts and the choreographic process, as well as field trips to LINES performances and the LINES Dance Center. The students are taught by LINES’ Teaching Artists and will have an opportunity to showcase their own choreography at the HeART of Market outdoor festival at Mint Plaza during National Dance Week in April.

“The opportunity to experience and appreciate the arts can enable young people to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them,” said Jean-Marc Torre, senior executive vice president and head of Bank of the West’s Commercial Banking Group. “Bank of the West has a long tradition of supporting the arts in the communities it serves and we’re very pleased to support HeART with LINES, a program that gives children in San Francisco the chance to participate first-hand in the art of dance and experience it as a catalyst for creativity, inspiration, and self-esteem.”

The BNP Paribas Foundation awarded LINES $22,000 annually for three years to further develop its dance education program and expand its reach with under served youth. The Foundation is focused on the arts, social inclusion and the environment and, in 2015, launched Dream Up, a global initiative promoting arts-based programs in 26 countries. Over the course of three years, the Foundation will grant more than $1.7 million in financial support to 30 arts organizations, enabling under served children to access the arts in a wide range of disciplines including music, dance, theatre, circus arts, photography and video production. Bank of the West provided an additional $10,000 to provide healthy meals for participating children as well as dance and school supplies.

LINES Ballet Founder and Artistic Director, Alonzo King said: “There is this thought that a dancer, singer, musician, has to have an incredible range of physical possibility to be skillful. But this isn’t true. It is the mental ability and the heart’s capacity that has to be huge. It is the mind and heart that dances, sings and plays. Not the body. Thanks to the generous support of Bank of the West, our new program HeART with LINES engages students with accessible dance education that connects to their minds and hearts. Now we have the opportunity to use dance and movement with students and families to create, explore, express, feel, and become artists."

The LINES program recently completed its first fall 2015 semester at the Tenderloin Boys and Girls Club, DeMarillac Academy and Presidio Middle School. Schools or youth-focused organizations that would like to learn more about how their students can access LINES’ free Community Programs can contact or call LINES at (415) 863-3040.

About Bank of the West
Bank of the West is a regional financial services company chartered in California and headquartered in San Francisco with $74 billion in assets as of June 30, 2015. Founded in 1874, Bank of the West provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services through more than 600 offices in 22 states and digital channels. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 75 countries with 185,000 employees.

About the BNP Paribas Foundation
Under the aegis of the Foundation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been playing a key role in corporate philanthropy for 30 years. It is also encouraging and contributing to the BNP Paribas’ philanthropic policy growth in all parts of the world where the Group does business. The BNP Paribas Foundation's activities are aimed at promoting innovative projects dedicated to culture, social inclusion and the environment. It is paying close attention to provide optimal support to its partners, through a long-term commitment. Dialogue, loyal support and a relationship based on trust are the hallmarks of its involvement.


Media Contacts:

Ayele Ajavon
Bank of the West

Mona Baroudi
Alonzo King Lines Ballet 

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