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— Sept.
2, 2016

 

Kids Dance Outreach  
 
 

The
art of dance can make positive changes in the lives of young people. That’s the
simple vision that fuels the mission of Kids Dance Outreach (KDO).

 

Since
2012, KDO has been providing high-level dance programs inside IPS schools –
serving 3,500 students to date across Indianapolis. One day each week for 10
weeks, KDO’s team delivers dance to our students.

 

This
year, IPS is proud to partner with KDO to support students at Carl Wilde School 79, Super School 19, Lew Wallace School 107, Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48, IPS/Butler University Lab School 60 and Center For Inquiry School 2.

 

It
may be surprising to many to learn that KDO doesn’t have its own studio.
Instead, most students are shuttled to the Athenaeum for dance class during the day. However,
schools that have enough space host the dance sessions on-site. Under the instruction of a live
musician (pianist or drummer), a teacher and an assistant, third- and fourth-grade
students are taught so much more than rhythm.

 

 “This is a dance program but it’s really not
about dance,” said Mónica
Muñoz, associate director of Kids Dance Outreach. “We’re not looking at skill.
We’re not looking at talent. We’re looking at focus, confidence, discipline —
skills that will transfer into their academics and really motivate children in
their learning in a structured environment.”

 

Thoughtfully,
KDO chooses to provide dance lessons at the schools because it eliminates
possible transportation issues or scheduling conflicts that might arise with
other after-school responsibilities.

 

“Many
students simply don’t have resources. They don’t have access to anything like
this because it can be really expensive. Transportation is a huge issue, so
bringing it to the kids at school when they’re already there ensures equal
access.”

 

At
the close of the 10-week program, students show off their fancy footwork during
a graduation showcase, where families, teachers and staff are invited to watch
what the young performers have learned. Dancers who have shown the most
interest, engagement and motivation are invited to participate in an
after-school extension program, which occurs two to three days each week.

 

We
are looking forward to having KDO’s extension program students perform at our
Board Action Session on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. at the John Morton-Finney Center for
Educational Services, 120 E. Walnut St. You’re invited to come see what they
can do, too!

 

KDO
also offers programming for children as young as pre-K, who are invited to
participate in a weekly one-hour interactive workshop, and adaptive dance
courses that are tailored specifically for the needs of children ages 6 to 15
who have Down syndrome.

 

 

Due
to funding challenges, KDO is currently only serving a small percentage of the
schools that want its services. It has the potential to do so much more! For
more information on donating, visit the KDO website.

 

Schools
that are interested in learning more about KDO should visit
kidsdanceoutreach.org or contact Mónica Muñoz at mmunoz@kdoutreach.org.