Arts Activities Support
ACHF Arts Access
25-30 underserved Burnsville Junior High school students, will register for and participate in an 8 week MODERN DANCE PROJECT. Of those registered, there will be 90% attendance at each class with the same participation rate in the Community Concert presented at the end of the project. The Community Concert attendance will reflect an audience of parents, family member, educators/support staff and community members. Evaluations will consist of documented registrations of 25-30 underserved Burnsville Junior High students with consistent attendance (attendance will be taken at each class). Two parent volunteers will count seats filled at the pay as you are able Community Concert. A short survey will be included in the Community Concert program asking How did you hear about our Community Concert?
Most outstanding was the artistic growth of the participants where 100% of those surveyed indicated a positive and creative environment when modern dance was experienced and performed for the first time. Additional information from the survey indicated that 93% of the dancers from the Modern Dance Project would like to participate in this project again. Through the course of the project, the following Artistic Goals were achieved: The Teaching Artists started each class with modern based warm-ups. Not only were the participants exposed to modern technique, but basic ballet terminology and technique were also introduced. Trust and support of individual movement, were addressed during the early weeks of the project. Once boundaries were established, students were exposed to and actively participated in improvised movement. The transition of the dancers was exemplary and profound! As choreography progressed, a variety of music was introduced to the dancers. The selected music for one of the dances was chosen in collaboration with the participants. Through this process, participants learned the relationship between movement and music. Participants also had an opportunity to vocalize in one of the dances. The performance level of the participants at the Modern Dance Project Concert exceeded all expectation of comprehension. The performers were professional and encompassing. The most outstanding event that took place during the project was the transformation of the participants and the success they experienced. Most of the students all faced a variety of learning barriers. They learned that whatever they brought to the dance studio on any given day, they could leave it at the door and focus just on dance. The best feedback came from Aunestie who commented, "this is the first time my family is going to see me do something right." The biggest challenge that we faced was that of losing one of our teaching artists who relocated to New York after this grant was submitted. A large amount of effort was dedicated to finding a replacement who possessed the same skills, willingness, and talent to make this project successful. We found all of these qualities in Alejandra Iannone who was an asset to the Modern Dance Project. We experienced two more challenges that were not foreseen. One was that of performance space for the Modern Dance Project Concert. We had originally booked the Mraz Performing Arts Center at Burnsville High School. It is a wonderful performance space that seats 505 people. At the end of January, after the project had already started, we were "bumped" from the facility to high school programming. This situation created a huge challenge for us as there was no other performance venue, close to the same size, with the needed technical capability for the performance. Accessibility was also a challenge. We are grateful that Burnsville Community Education was able to financially assist us with the cost and the performance was held at the Ames Performing Arts Center. In spite of the theater seating over a thousand people, and we had just over 300 in attendance, the theater was a delight for all involved. In spite of all our recruitment efforts, we did not meet the number of participants we had hoped to reach. Recruitment at both Nicollet and Metcalf Junior High Schools yielded over seventy five interested students. Follow up emails were then sent to those students to remind them to register. Of that number, twenty two were males. During the week prior to start of the Modern Project, only twenty four females had signed up to participate, even with concerted efforts to include young men in the project. On the first day of the Project (January 11, 2016) twenty dancers attended. We did try to recruit additional students but the feedback we received was that their after school activities were already in place. In the end, 16 dancers participated in the Modern Dance Project Concert. This was a disappointing number in that Community Education was confident that they could recruit at least 25-30 participants. Discussions have taken place to research how we might better reach out to those interested in the Project. The Community Education leadership is very supportive of the project is pleased with the outcome. They are not concerned about the lower than expected turnout of participants. Christian Kibler (Community Education liaison for the district) commented, "No matter what, Youth Dance Ensemble has set up this program as an assurance for at risk students to have success" The Project's population was diverse in terms of ethnicity. Brian Evans (Teaching Artist) is bi-racial, Alejandra Iannone is Venezuelan. The ethnic breakdown of the participants was 83% black, 8% Latino, 7% bi-racial and 2% Caucasian. There was also diversity in age with a range of 11 (our youngest participant) to 57 (our oldest Artistic Support). We exceeded our intended audiences for the Modern Dance Project Concert as projected in the grant. Although Burnsville Mayor did not attend the concert, we were very pleased with the number of community members and school staff who came to the concert. This included administrators, teachers and support staff. Because the Ames Center is located in the heart of the city, those attending the concert were easily able to access the facility by public transportation, school buses, and walking. Presenting a concert in March always brings the concern of snow which could cause a barrier for access. On the night of the Modern Dance Project, it was 48 degrees with a clear sky.
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