For my Mellon project, I partnered with Dance Quarter, a community dance school located in Central City. Since having moved to the area, I had been attending classes and teaching there, but observed that very few other people from the neighborhood were involved. Through my conversations with neighbors, I learned that there were many skilled dancers and potential students in the immediate area, but most hadn’t heard of or been to Dance Quarter.
My project sought to better integrate Dance Quarter into its surrounding neighborhood by diversifying its course offerings, student body, and faculty to better reflect the interests and identity of the residents of Central City. A primary issue for many residents was the cost of classes, so we created the DANCERSHIP program: a scholarship covering full tuition for one or more classes available to any resident of Central City.
A second issue was that Dance Quarter had never offered classes for kids, so we added a kids Hip Hop and a kids swing class. Currently, we are in the process of bringing on new faculty members who are residents of the area to teach drum majorette and liturgical classes, dance styles with deep roots in the community.