Inside the 2014 Dance to Learn Kick-Off

Arts / Article

By Lori-Anne Williams, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

On January 16 & 17th more than 300 students and educators attended the 2014 Dance to Learn Kick-Off performances. Dance to Learn is a multifaceted dance education program of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Partnership with the Arts Education Partnership and Multicultural Voices programs of the Perpich Center for Arts Education.  As part of the Dance to learn program each k-12 school site attends three live dance performances presented by the Ordway, experiences in-depth classroom residency work in dance, guided students reflection structured through the Artful tools, and imbedded professional development for educators.

This year the Kick-off performance was held at the Weyerhaeuser Auditorium and featured two new dance works commissioned through the Dance to Learn program from professional choreographers, dancers and teaching artists Karla Nweje and Leah Nelson.  The Kick-Off offers the students in the Dance to Learn program the unique opportunity to initially see the artists who will be in their classrooms as professional dancers and choreographers on stage.

This year Karla Nweje’s new piece was titled Indigotic Muses and was performed by Karla and her company of Twin Cities based dancers including Ashley Akpaka, LaTia S. Childers, Lindsey Hunter, and Valcia McGann.

Leah Nelson’s new piece was titled Espayo/Mudzim and was performance by Leah and Brian Evans.  Espayo is space in Portuguese and Mudzimu is Ancestral Spirits in Shona.

Leah Nelson