Our mission is twofold:
1) we create, perform and present the highest quality original, professional, contemporary Dance that celebrates the music and movement of the world’s cultures;
2) we provide an exemplary dance education for Hartford’s children who could not otherwise experience this enriching learning experience.
Equally important is the vision of the work that celebrates our cultural diversity and tells life stories using music and dance to transcend the artificial barriers that divide us: age, race, language, gender, economics, and the very notion of “neighborhood” that often separates us one from another. We strive to use the arts to build community in all that we do.
The participants are drawn from the population we serve in Hartford where 74% of the children we serve come from single-parent or guardian households. Most of our children are living at or below the poverty level. The children we serve are: African American 65.2%; Latino 7.66%; Mixed Race 27.2%; 74.2% Female; and 25.8% Male. Our program also provides services to parents and guardians.
We work not only with the children, but we work diligently to engage our families in the work their children are doing.
We point with pride to a self-formed group called “Parents in Motion:” Although collectively they have sparse financial resources they work together to provide helping hands in many capacities: working on our fundraising events, carpooling, helping to prepare meals for our children, making costumes. In so doing they find themselves part of a new community and support network that they created.
We offer a multi-cultural dance education program known as Stretching for Life, serving nearly 400 young people ages 4 to 21 each year with dance classes suitable for each age group, by following sound principles of sequential learning for dance. We offer twenty-two class hours per week during the school year and forty hours per week during the summer.
During the summer, we offer a full day six – week intensive dance education program known as Instruments of Culture, providing cultural enrichment and vocabulary building to enhance literacy skills and prevent summer learning loss. We typically hire 6 – 10 teens to serve as interns during the summer. The summer program offers a seventh week of programming exclusively for teens.