Joffrey Ballet School brings movement therapy to Uvalde

“We wanted to give because we wanted to show love.”

UVALDE – Saturday marks four months since the Robb Elementary tragedy when 19 children and two teachers were killed inside of the school.

The community has been steeped in sadness since, but on Saturday there were moments of joy at the El Progreso Library as the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School came to teach dance and promote love and healing.

“Love wins and we came here with love,” Jo Matos, the artistic director for children and youth at Joffrey School, said.

The baby grand piano’s ballad married with the sound of laughter to drive out some of the sadness of the solemn anniversary.

“You enjoy it but at the same time, it...the emotions still remain but it’s...thank you, thank you. The music, the choreography, it was beautiful so thank you,” Marcela Cabralez, whose daughter took part in the class, said.

The El Progreso Library transformed into a ballet studio so students from the Joffrey Ballet School could help teach the children of Uvalde.

“I do ballet so it was really cool to see like super advanced ballet,” Natalie Goggans, a 12-year-old dancer from Uvalde, said.

Matos said she has seen how movement can heal a community that is grappling with grief.

“10 years ago I brought this book to Sandy Hook and I did this program with Sandy Hook so when this atrocity happened here, it just seemed like the logical thing,” Matos said.

The dancers came from three states. On Friday, they visited several Uvalde CISD schools teaching similar classes.

Joffrey Ballet dancer Jimmy Long said it’s an experience he’ll never forget.

“I know that everyone is really broken from what happened but just to see as she said, like the resilience from the event and how they’ve like kept it positive and like have turned a negative situation and tried to like unite as a community, it’s like really inspiring,” Long said.

Between the three schools on Friday, Matos said they danced with about 600 children.

She hopes the joy and support they brought can help the kids get through some of the hard times ahead.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.