Ballet Benefit for CSN Homeless Students

College of Southern Nevada

Nancy Webb, High 5 Committee and Kyudong Kwak, Kwak Ballet Academy

By Fabiola Marzano

When a person lives on the streets during the days and sleeps in shelters through the nights, help is needed to overcome some hardships.  In 2008 the College of Southern Nevada along with Silver State Schools Credit Union created the High 5 Drive, which is a joint effort focusing on raising money for CSN homeless students. On October 7, the Nicholas J. Horn Theater at Cheyenne Campus is showcasing a classical ballet performance for this charity.

In the past two years, nearly 6, 000 homeless students enrolled in Clark County schools. There are some organizations that provide relief for homeless students such as: Shade Tree, the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, and HELP of Southern Nevada. CSN is also offering some relief through the Youthful Enterprise Scholarship (Y.E.S). The CSN High 5 Drive Committee is an organization established by students, faculty, and staff to fundraise for this scholarship.

CSN professor and member of the High 5 Drive Committee Nancy Webb said, “I was racking my head with ideas on how to come up with more fundraising opportunities.” All thanks to Webb’s daughter, who’s training at the Kwak Ballet Academy, Webb came up with a great idea to raise funds. “I’m affiliated with Las Vegas Ballet Company (my daughter is a member) and I approached the director and I asked him if he would like to donate performance time to perform a ballet with the tickets sales going to the scholarships.” Artistic Director Kyudong Kwak, at the Kwak Ballet Academy, said yes.

Kyudong Kwak is the founder of the Kwak Ballet Academy in Las Vegas. Kwak and his wife Yoomi Lee work together. Kwak and Lee’s goal is to convince their dancers, and their parents, that it’s not all about stage dancing, but mainly helping the Las Vegas community. “It’s a great opportunity for myself… for my dancers too,” mentions Kwak. “How many people can do something for other people? Now especially these days, everyone is like ‘me- me- me’ and I’m also ‘me- me- me- me’. Then I got a little older and now it’s time to do something for other people. That’s amazing; I cannot say how important that is” he said.

Kwak has been training his dancers to perform for the very first time at the Horn Theater on Sunday, October 7 at 2 p.m. Their show will consist of two classical ballet performances: one named “Giselle” and the other is a special choreographed dance by Kwak. The tickets for adults are $15.00 and $10.00 for students or seniors. Visit the website at, or call 651-LIVE for reservations.

For every penny spent at the box office, homeless students are provided help for an education at CSN. It only takes a Sunday afternoon at the ballet to change a life. Thanks to individuals like Nancy Webb, Kyudong Kwak, the High 5 Drive Committee, homeless students at CSN can advance their educations with this scholarship.

“A lot of us (dancers) like to help out our community so we strapped up with extra rehearsals” said Maria Webb, ballet dancer from Las Vegas Ballet Company. “When we do performances we just dance to show what we are doing in class but this time we are dancing to help other people which feels very nice. We get to share our artistic abilities with the (CSN) foundation….get to have joy and pride on helping these people and not just perform because it’s a mandatory thing.”

Just a small donation to the Youthful Enterprise Scholarship can provide a new start for many homeless students at CSN.

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