Corrupting Young Minds! Outreach Work
I’ve been working with youth outreach programs since 2000 when I started as an arts educator for California’s Central Valley Artists in Schools Program. I’ve developed a specialized avant-garde arts and community engagement curriculum through work with underserved youth in Berlin, Germany, New Delhi, India, Tucson, AZ, and Springfield, VA. I absolutely love using box cutters to throw open cardboard boundaries and invite students to step outside for the first time.
This is a hybrid course of dance, creative process, and avant-garde seminars and experientials for the primary to high school student. Units include modern technique, improvisation, choreographic tools, Dada, French New Wave Cinema, comix, dance diplomacy, dance criticism, choreographic ethics and responsibilities to an audience, theatre production, and site-specific, immersive, audience participatory art. Students work toward a culminating performance that showcases their niche talents in a collaborative, student-directed production. No prior dance experience necessary! Artists of all kinds are welcome: dancers, actors, visual artists, musicians, vocalists, filmmakers, writers, and photographers. This course can be specialized for various populations and lengths of time including: semester-long electives, weekly classes, weekend workshops, intensive settings, and vacation arts programs. See examples of Dance Lab from around the world below:
- Metro Moves Crestwood Elementary Scholars
I created a pilot Dance Lab for Metropolitan School of the Art’s outreach program: Metro Moves. For two years, I worked with 4th-6th graders from Crestwood Elementary School. Each Spring, the students spent a day in Washington DC improvising and performing choreographed work (student-made and mine). Watch them flank the National Monument and dance with dinosaurs.
- Arizona College Prep Academy – Runaway Rocking Horse & Other Manifestoes
I taught a one-semester Dance Lab elective at a charter high school in Tucson, AZ where I was privileged to witness students surpass their own expectations in the creative arts, in addition to boosting their academic performance in other courses. Curriculum was about empowering disenfranchised voices. You can see raw footage of their culminating performance here.
Dr. Ambedkar Basti Slum, South Delhi, India
I taught Dance and English classes as part of The Asha Society. See the dancers in action here. Missing were the hum of an AC system and the buzz of audio, but the young Dancers were still electric! See them in action here.
Neighborhood Line Dances
For the past year, I’ve been working with Pink Line Project’s Philippa Hughes and the DC Business Improvement Districts to create neighborhood-specific line dances that archive city history, celebrate cultural pride, and connect residents through dance. So far, we’ve made dances for Van Ness (Van Ness Shuffle), Southwest (Southwest Swoon), and Brookland/Edgewood (Dance Place Dip). Check out the promo video below!