The North Shore Civic Ballet (NSCB), a nonprofit dance company based at the Marblehead School of Ballet (MSB) in Marblehead, Massachusetts, has launched the 2016-2017 annual campaign for the Ruth N. Shiff Memorial Fund. The Fund’s namesake, Ruth Shiff, was the backbone, inspiration and the embodiment of the MSB and NSCB.
Upon her death in 1998, the Fund was established in memory of the work she did with the school and the ballet company. “The school was built on the foundation of Ruth Shiff’s strength and personality. She was here every day and said she had the best job ever. She was the greeter, the mentor, the advisor, and a second mother to many of our students,” said Paula K. Shiff, Director of the MSB and Artistic Director of the NSCB.
The NSCB seeks the public’s help to continue Ruth Shiff’s work and make aspiring dancers dreams come true. Donations received will support summer dance intensives, educational materials, and merit-based scholarships for up-and-coming ballet dancers to receive correct training from leading professionals in the field. Students, who have benefited from The Fund’ support, have pursued dance with the NSBC, Eliot Feld, Alvin Ailey, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and other companies. They have undertaken careers in a range of fields from dance to medicine with ballet and modern dance companies, musical theatre, corporations, hospitals, schools, and post-secondary institutions.
“When I think about young people who are happy to dedicate themselves to artistic expression–stealing time from their busy schedules at school and work and from so many electronic distractions–I am amazed. I am impressed by their decision to enter a world of creativity, art, and human connection. This really fills me with hope,” said Peter A. Smith, a new member of the NSCB’s board of trustees.
The Ruth N. Shiff Memorial Fund allows youngsters to explore dance and overcome financial obstacles that may prevent them from following this dream. “When we contribute to the arts by helping to lift up a young person, that support has a double impact. It can help to fulfill the dreams of a young dancer, and also makes our community a better place…one that we can take pride in,” said Smith.
He experienced first-hand Ruth Shiff’s generosity. “When I was a struggling young photographer back in the 1970’s, I was fortunate to discover and learn about ballet and modern dance at the Marblehead School of Ballet. I photographed projects there for over a decade and created a solid foundation for my creative vision and career. The benefactor who paid the expenses for those projects? Ruth Shiff. I will always be grateful for her kindness and generosity,” he said.
Tax-deductible contributions may be made to support dance, or in honor of, or in memory of, a relative, friend or an event. Checks may be made payable to the Ruth N. Shiff Memorial Fund and mailed care of the Marblehead School of Ballet, 115 Pleasant St., Marblehead, Massachusetts 01945. For further information, call 781-631-6262 or visit http://www.havetodance.com/marblehead/nscb.html.