Magazine article Dance Teacher

Where Studio and Classroom Teachers Learn from Each Other

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Where Studio and Classroom Teachers Learn from Each Other

Article excerpt



It's the simple questions that have long driven Patricia Reedy, founder of the 20-year old dance education resource hub Luna Dance Institute.

For instance, she wondered what it would be like if every kid knew how to choreograph a dance the same way that they know how to write five-paragraph essays when they graduate from high school. When she first opened the doors to LDI, she wondered if a community dance organization had to follow the same nonprofit models as everyone else. Most importantly, it seems, the growth of LDI into an organization that serves hundreds of kids with dance classes and summer camps, that partners with local schools and districts to help frame dance curricula, and that offers extensive professional training and support, has been driven by the question, How can we all keep learning together?

"My whole life I've only wanted to be two things: a dancer and a teacher," says Reedy. "I grew up in a family that was very conscious of social justice, and I've always been an activist. I knew that that would also be a part of whatever I did."

As Reedy describes it, it was almost a whim that led her to start Luna Dance Institute. As a young college graduate, she had been teaching dance in Oakland, California, at Citicenter Dance Theatre, which closed soon after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. After a couple of years of working toward her graduate degree at Mills College and teaching elsewhere. Reedy, who was restlessly looking for new ways to intermesh dancemaking and dance education, spotted a large space for lease in Oakland. (In 2010, LDI moved to an industrial red brick building with light-filled studios in neighboring community Emeryville.)

"I wanted a new paradigm for nonprofit arts," she says. "Very quickly, what became clear to me was that people were hungering for the sense of community and belonging. …

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