Many children in our community lack positive, creative ways to learn, experiences which inspire and prepare them for success in school and beyond. Young bodies need to move and harness percolating energy, minds need to explore ideas, and budding personalities need joyful, interactive time together with peers and adults. Our classes uniquely weave these elements together.
The Dance Foundation teaches more than 1,300 children in skill-building dance classes through our Community Partnership Program. This is the hallmark of our mission and is only possible with donations and grants from individuals, corporations and foundations.
We teach dance at 30 social service agencies, child development centers, preschools, and elementary schools in Greater Birmingham. All sites are subsidized with community support and some are provided classes for no fee. No child pays to participate. Our Community Partnership Program has four elements:
Dance for Pre-K: Our dance teachers and musicians teach our uniquely developed Movement to Music curriculum which engages young children to gain developmental skills that they will need in elementary school. Working as a group; taking turns; offering ideas; and learning to hop, skip, jump, and gallop – all are skills taught with stories, songs, and colorful props. All children in a class dance together through the school year in weekly classes, and some sites dance with us for the summer months, too.
Dance for Children with Special Needs: Every week, we teach children who have physical and cognitive developmental delays, Downs Syndrome, Autism, and Cerebral Palsy. We teach children at 7 sites which serve children with special needs using our Movement to Music curriculum. These classes have joy and individual growth at their core. Every week we see them participate more, walk and jump on their own, find balance and coordination – all while singing and having fun! These classes are taught with live music, which is key to engaging children with learning differences.
Brain Body Balance is a new curricula designed to promote wellness, integrating mind, body and spirit to develop a healthy sense of self and social – emotional connection with others. Launched in Summer 2020 with Hall Kent Elementary’s summer academic intervention program, this integrated curriculum responds to educator requests for ways to encourage healthy communication skills and social-emotional learning. The recent teacher evaluation stated that the classes had a significant (highest rating) impact on student social skills and ability to work together, and described the experience as “rejuvenating.” Active learning — body and mind together — is a fun and effective approach for students to connect with each other with respect and awareness. Weekly classes for K-8th graders will be taught for 6-10 weeks. Body Brain Balance provides fun and interactive ways to meet these goals: improve student attitudes, behaviors, individual responsibility, confidence, engagement, emotional awareness, and communication skills such as active listening and mindful response.
Dance for English Language Learners and Language Arts Enrichment: Children learning English in the K-2nd grades dance with us using our curriculum designed to build language skills in tandem with dance skills – complete with live music. These students have little or no arts education in their school. Students in several area elementary schools participate in weekly 30-45minute dance classes for a series of 6 weeks at their schools. The curriculum is designed in collaboration with classroom teachers to support language arts goals: As they dance, students physicalize language elements such as prepositions (over/under); reading, comprehension, demonstrating language skills; and movement patterns. These students need positive, creative experiences to enhance language and social skills for their success in school and life — teamwork, listening skills, problem-solving, curiosity. Our dance classes provide just that.
Dance for Children Who Live with Challenging Circumstances: During our school year and for a few weeks during the summer months, we partner with several community agencies to teach children in our who are experiencing homelessness or live in transitional housing, living in poverty, and living away from their families for their health and safety. They often are all in need of a safe place to explore creativity and gain healthy social skills through dance.
RECENT COMMUNITY PARTNERS:
MOVEMENT TO MUSIC
Bell Center for Early Intervention
Brookwood Forest Elementary
Cahaba Heights Elementary
Canterbury Child Development Center
Canterbury Day School
Cherokee Bend Elementary
Crestline Elementary School
Einstein’s Playground – Derby Pkwy
Einstein’s Playground – Bessemer
Elizabeth Perry Rushton Child Development Center
Epic Elementary – Pre-K Program
First Church Early Learning Center
Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Child Care
Holy Trinity Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral Day Care
Hall Kent Elementary – Pre-K Program
Harris Early Learning Center
James Rushton Early Learning Center
Liberty Park Elementary
Montclair Early Learning Center
Mountain Brook Elementary
South Highlands Child Development Center
St. Francis Xavier Early Learning Center
United Ability / Hand in Hand Learning Center
Vestavia Hills Elementary East
YWCA Child Care Center
YWCA Kids Corner / Child Care for Kids in Distress
DANCING WITH WORDS for English Learners and Language Arts Integration
and BRAIN BODY BALANCE: social-emotional learning through movement
Hall Kent Elementary RISE Program
YWCA (Afterschool Enrichment for Homeless Children)
Alabama Dance Council
Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative
People in Motion
UAB Early Start
We welcome you to contact us to learn more about these programs and how to participate!