Petit Oasis Foundation
The Petit Oasis Foundation is a non-profit corporation created by me, Toshiko Honda, in 2006 to provide scholarships to young men living within 150 miles of Los Angeles between the ages of 8-18 years old who want to be professional ballet dancers.
Who is involved?
Joan Bayley--a ballet instructor at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica, California. Joan Bayley trained with and became the lead dancer of the Carmelita Maracci Concert Group. In the '50s and '60s she coached Judy Garland, Danny Kaye, Marilyn Monroe, and many film and stage stars. Joan is a consultant and co-evaluator of the audition.
Gigi Hooghkirk--a student of ballet for many years. Gigi is the videographer at the auditions, helps with updating the website, and also performs secretarial functions for Petit Oasis Foundation.
Why is this scholarship limited to those living in Los Angeles and within 150 miles of Los Angeles?
The fund is small and very limited. Therefore, at this time, this is the only area I can cover.
How Much Money?
The amount of the initial fund was $300,000.00. A minimum $12,000.00 will be added annually to this project. The annual budget for the scholarship is roughly $20,000.00 - $30,000.00.
I love ballet.
In my retired life, I take ballet class for my enjoyment, keeping me happy and healthy. I enjoy great performances of ballet and I want to do something to contribute to the art. In Los Angeles, we have almost everything other big cities have, except for ballet culture. I named the foundation “Petit Oasis” hoping to nurture ballet culture even a bit in this desert land.
Why Only Boys?
Within this era, male ballet dancers are no longer just supporting partners. They are the stars and highly in demand. Yet not many boys are taking ballet training. Because the profession of dancers is not secure nor lucrative compared with that of other careers, most parents are not supportive of their boys who want to be dancers. In addition, to become a professional dancer, long, incessant training is required, which is quite costly. It is understandable why not many boys venture to be professional dancers. There is a great need to support male-dancers-to-be. It is not overstated if I say that the future prosperity of ballet is dependent on whether we nurture and support talented male dancers.
We hope that the selected recipients will develop their potentials and be eligible to renew the award every year, and finally become full-fledged professional dancers. We want to promote the value, "The meaning of life is to realize what we want to be."
We want all applicants to have a good time at the audition class, "Hey, there are so many boys who are wonderful dancers! We are not a minority!"