The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons has been awarded a grant from the California Arts Council to bring the Lula Washington Dance Theatre’s (LWDT) Educational Residencies program back to Santa Clarita Valley school districts as part of the PAC’s ongoing K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program.
This year, LWDT’s long-term residencies will be taking place at one school site in both the Newhall and Sulphur Springs school districts. During the residency students will learn about various modern dance moves, terms and historical dance artists as a way to help students connect to the elements of dance, both physically and academically.
“These types of opportunities can be life-changing for young students,” said PAC managing director Adam Philipson, who also oversees the K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program. “This residency will offer a chance for local students to receive dance instruction from an internationally-known choreographer right in their own backyard. We are very appreciative of the support from the California Arts Council.”
The LWDT stresses the participatory nature of dance which is emphasized through team-building exercises and student-generated choreography. The emphasis on generalizing the residency work into other subject areas is an integral part of the learning process instilled with the students.
By highlighting dance as a creative process requiring rigorous focus, discipline, technique and teamwork, students in turn learn that these values have benefit beyond the scope of their dance residency, and are applicable to other areas including school work, body familiarity (posture, fitness, etc.) and self-confidence.
“The Newhall School District is thrilled to participate in the California Arts Council grant for Lula Washington in the 2011-12 school year,” said Nancy Copley, NSD Assistant Superintendent Instructional Services. “Teachers, students and administrators are excited to take advantage of this great program. We have heard so many positive comments from other districts within the valley, and we believe that this program will be a wonderful opportunity for our students. Once again the commitment to the arts in our schools is what makes this valley unique!”
The 12-week LWDT residencies have been a part of the PAC’s K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program for the last three years, providing unique dance-related curriculum to more than 1,000 students during that time.
The PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program has been providing top-tier arts education programming to SCV schools since 2007. In past years program events have included special student assemblies, bus-in performances and master classes with visiting artists.
In 2010, the PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program was recognized by the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program for its efforts in building community partnerships to achieve its goal of providing quality arts education programming to every student in the Santa Clarita Valley.
About Lula Washington Dance Theatre
The Lula Washington Contemporary Dance Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit organization founded in 1980 by Lula and Erwin Washington to provide a creative outlet for minority dance artists in South Los Angeles. The founding mission is to build a world-class contemporary modern dance company that travels worldwide with contemporary modern dance works that reflect African-American history and culture. Its education mission is to create a school in the inner city where young people can learn the art of dance, launch careers in dance, and where dance is used to motivate, educate, inspire, challenge and enrich the lives of young people so they can become successful, productive and competitive citizens. For more info please visit www.lulawashington.org.
About the California Arts Council
The California Arts Council (CAC) is the state agency with the mission to advance Californians through the arts and creativity, with a key focus on arts education and arts in local communities. The agency is governed by an 11-member policy-setting Council, which is appointed by the Governor and state legislature. The CAC’s Artists in Schools program integrates community arts resources — professional artists and arts organizations — into a comprehensive, standards-based program, underscoring the critical role the arts play in shaping a student’s overall well-being and academic achievement. For more info please visit www.cac.ca.gov/.
For more information about the PAC’s ongoing K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program or the California Arts Council grant supporting the Lula Washington Dance Theatre’s (LWDT) Educational Residencies please call (661) 362-5305.