Everybody Dance Now!

Positively transforming the lives of young people through dance, leadership, and community involvement.

EDN!SB Welcomes Five New Dance Instructors

Along with the influx of EDN! Summer Dance Classes came an opportunity to bring five incredible dance teachers on our team. Not only are the young ladies excellent dancers and instructors, but they are genuine young adults who are looking to make a positive change in their community.

Shenandoah Harris is currently a UCSB student studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance as well as a Minor in Theater with an emphasis in Design and Production. Shenandoah began dancing at the wee age of just 3 years old in Denver, Colorado. Taking both creative dance and theater performance lessons. From there her love of dance was sparked and she continued on to take Ballet, Jazz, Tap and hip hop classes. At age 10 she moved to Northern California where she decided to further her dance education by beginning to take modern classes as well. Shenandoah has studied at many different schools; some of which being Cleo Parker Robinson’s School of Dance, Teen Dance Company of the Bay Area, Ballet San Jose and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. Under her training in the Lines Ballet summer program Shenandoah was selected as a soloist for Alonzo King’s Repertoire Performance. Since attending UCSB Shenandoah has had the wonderful opportunity in auditioning and being cast in every MainStage and other student dance performance. Shenandoah is extremely excited to work with EDN as she has always enjoyed teaching others to dance. She personally has found much comfort and love in the arts, dance especially, and feels it is extremely important to give every child the opportunity to find their confidence and happiness in dance just as she did. Can’t wait to see you in class!!

Jasmine Miller has been dancing for 13 years, and began taking ballet classes at the age of 5 in her hometown of Alameda, CA. Throughout her adolescence she continued taking dance classes, with ballet as her main focus. In high school she attended summer dance intensives including Joffrey New York, ABT Detroit, and Ballet West located in Utah. In addition to dance, Jasmine was very involved in her community with 300 hours of community service accumulated in high school and 4 years of student government. In student government Jasmine was in charge of organizing and finding talent for school assemblies including talent shows, alcohol awareness education assemblies, and pep rallies. She was also in the dance class at her high school, where she performed and helped others learn choreography. Jasmine has worked with children teaching them dance since the age of 12 at her ballet studio, and was also a soccer coach her senior year of high school. She enjoys the happiness and enthusiasm the children she works with show, and finds inspiration in this for her own dancing. Although her favorite dance form is ballet, she loves teaching creative movement and hip-hop inspired movements to her students. She hopes to be able to take a variety of dance classes in the future and incorporate these movements into her classes. Currently, Jasmine is in her second year of college double majoring in communication and dance at the University of CA, Santa Barbara. On top of schoolwork and being a member of the EDN! team, Jasmine hopes to perform and be a part of stage crews for upcoming performances at UCSB. Jasmine loves to dance and inspire others through dance, and is very excited to work with students of all age groups.

Kristina Stodder started dancing from a young age at a studio in San Diego, California, where she trained in jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and ballet. During high school, Kristina danced at San Elijo Dance and Music Academy and joined their senior performance company, “The Moving Company.” Upon graduation, she received the Zona Murray Arts Scholarship and moved north to attend school at UC Santa Barbara. Kristina is currently a junior at UCSB and is actively involved in their dance department. Most recently she has preformed in the junior’s choreography production, “Twelve Ways Home.” Kristina is excited to be a part of the EDN! team and hopes to share her passion for dance with others.

Martha Grimes is new to the Everybody Dance Now! but is thrilled to join the team given her incredible passion for dance. She began dancing when she was two years old in her hometown, Encinitas, California, and hasn’t stopped since! She started training in hip-hop when she was six and competed in numerous national competitions. Her crew won the USA Hip Hop Championships and went on to receive 7th place at the World Hip Hop Championships when she was 13 years old. In high school, Martha used her dance training and became Captain of her high school cheerleading squad, requiring her to choreograph large-scale performances every week. She also choreographed an entire musical for her high school theatre department. She has performed at countless San Diego venues, and also behind artists at the Universal City Walk at Universal Studios as well as Club Eleven in Los Angeles. When she is not dancing, Martha is a full-time student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in Economics and Accounting. After graduation, she hopes use her passion for dance and performance to find a career in the entertainment industry. Martha is excited to be a part of Everybody Dance Now! as it encourages everyone to join in on her favorite activity, dancing!

Nicolette Doolittle has been dancing since age 9. She began dancing in a  jazz class at the art center in Ojai, California. When she attended high school she dance in the Nordhoff Dance Program for all her four years. While being in the program she was able to participate at the yearly Pasadena Dance Festival. Being at the festival inspired Nicolette to choreograph dance pieces for her spring dance concert. She was able to have the honor of her pieces stage since her sophomore year. She also had the privilege of being a peer tutor her senior year, for the into to dance class at her high school. She loved every second of teaching her pieces to her classmates and realize that she wanted to continue inspiring and teaching others. She looking forward to working with all the dancers in EDN.  

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EDN! Santa Barbara Exciting Updates

This summer, EDN! Santa Barbara scorched their past record number of 16 classes per week and is currently offering 25 classes per week. The United Way of Santa Barbara has invited EDN!SB’s dedicated teaching staff to offer Hip Hop dance as part of their Fun in the Sun Summer Program. Teaching four classes per day, Monday-Thursday, for a 6-week period, the Santa Barbara Chapter’s staff will dramatically expand their impact while continuing to focus on quality teacher training, curriculum implementation, impact measurement, and leadership recruitment.

At the end of May, EDN! Santa Barbara held their first Performance Troupe audition at Santa Barbara Dance Arts. Jed Forman, a talented Hip Hop choreographer who taught at Broadway Dance Center, led the audition. After a brief introduction by Tinelle Matlock, our Performance Troupe Director, and Kelli Forman, our National Program Director, current members of the Performance Troupe shared their positive experiences with the troupe so far with the students auditioning.

The dancers then worked smoothly through learning difficult choreography and experiencing a true audition process for the remaining hour and a half. Excited bv the talent in the room, Tinelle welcomed five new dancers to the Performance Troupe, bringing the total to 9 members.

Melissa, 14

Gloria, 14

Ruby, 17

Alexis, 17

Lupita, 16

Noeline, 14

Natalia, 14

David, 15

Vivian, 16

The troupe had an amazing first rehearsal together, where they discussed possible community service projects, performance opportunities, and new visions for the performance troupe as a whole.  As always, there was also plenty of training and dancing led by Tinelle Matlock.

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EDN! Chicago’s Recital and Beats for Relief Concert

Everybody Dance Now! Chicago started the month of May with a benefit concert called “Beats for Relief”, where four popular local artists came out and played to benefit the organization. The evening was held at Fairways bar and brought together a crowd of over 200 people. The night had music, food, and a silent auction. The event was covered by popular Chicago press like Metromix.com and Redeye.

Later that week, the EDN! Chicago team held a performance at DePaul University that brought together EDN! students from from eight different locations, as well as the professional dance companies Hip Hop Connxion, Ballet 5:8, and Extensions. The evening was organized for friends and family of the students, and it was truly amazing to see the students share their hard work and passion for dance with the audience.

Finally, the month was wrapped up as Chicago Director, Sophia Horwich, was invited to tape an interview with Radio Disney! The interview will be said to air in mid July, and should reach over 24,000 motivated youth across the country! 

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New EDN! Hip Hop Curriculum

EDN! Santa Barbara will be the first chapter to implement the new Everybody Dance Now! Curriculum. Kelli Forman, our EDN! National Program Director and Santa Barbara Director, will be leading the training at the end of August in order to begin the Curriculum implementation at EDN!SB class sites in September. The EDN! Portland staff will be trained in the new curriculum later this year, and they will begin teaching it at the top of 2015.

The Everybody Dance Now Hip Hop Curriculum is based on the California VAPA Standards and encompasses all aspects of dance training within a 12-week period: solos, partner work, spacing, crew dynamics, community performances and much more. The roots of the EDN! Curriculum are the Hip-Hop Party Moves themselves as they progress from Old-School movement (such as the Wop and the Cabbage Patch), to New School movement (such as the Running Man and the Harlem Shake).

The students in EDN! Curriculum Classes will be offered Hip Hop history, tools for choreography and collaboration, opportunities to share their opinions on weekly topics, experience with two separate performances for (a community service performance as well as a culminating performance for the students’ friends and family), a cultural dance class, and most importantly, the space to grow beyond the movement. We envision each of our EDN! students realizing their purpose as a young artist and as a human. We would like to offer a huge thanks to Mack Oliver, Kelli Forman, and our amazing Curriculum Advisor, Tiffany Bong, for all of the hard work they channeled into crafting the curriculum lesson plans and vision.

Click the link below to read more about Tiffany Bong’s background:

http://everybodydancenow.org/tiffany-bong/

Founder Jackie Rotman and Berkeley Chapter Leaders Featured at TEDx Stanford!

After an exciting performance at TEDx Stanford, Founder Jackie Rotman and the EDN! Berkeley Crew express that they would not have changed anything about their experience on stage. What was most rewarding for the Everybody Dance Now! family on that special day was the opportunity that they were able to offer Jelani for his dancing career. Jelani is an incredibly talented 13 year-old whom EDN! selected because he had shown so much talent and creativity in his EDN! Berkeley class. The teachers and leaders choreographed the TEDx dance specifically around him.

Jelani performed at his first performance ever, with a sold out audience and thousands of people watching via live-stream. Although he said he was nervous, he brought incredible energy and talent to the stage and gained confidence by going outside of his comfort zone and overcoming his fears. EDN! Leaders took Jelani on a tour of  Stanford, and he was motivated by considering the possibilities for his future and education. The UC Berkeley students working with him are fantastic role models, which speaks volumes to the power of young people teaching other young people through EDN!.

Jackie received a message afterward from Jelani’s EDN! teacher saying that when the teacher dropped him off at home, Jelani expressed that he was so touched and grateful for the experience at TEDx Stanford that day. To continue cultivating Jelani’s passion for dance, the EDN! Berkeley team is finding ways to include him in summer classes at Berkeley, and they will potentially bring him on as a teaching assistant in the near future.

Click here to watch to the TEDx Stanford Performance

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Chapter of the Month, EDN! Berkeley

In less than a year since its establishment in August 2013, EDN! Berkeley (EDN!B) has integrated itself as a far-reaching and meaningful organization in its local community. While this includes a variety of schools and children’s programs, one feature unique to the Berkeley chapter is its close relationship with the thriving dance community at the nearby University of California, Berkeley. By seeking quality teachers from this resource, EDN!B has been able to deliver programs that meet high standards, but also provide relatable role-models for children. Student teachers, in turn, have the opportunity to grow from this experience by working closely with the children. In this way, EDN!B has additionally evolved into a bridge between the local community and university community.

EDN! Berkeley, led by its spirited director Elissa Lee, set a solid foundation for itself in its early months by partnering with the Bay Area Hispano Institute for Advancement (BAHIA), Inc., where Berkeley held its first classes for preschool kids. Since then, EDN!B has added three more sites, including King Middle School and Washington Elementary School from the Berkeley United School District, as well as at the Albany Children’s Center. Altogether, EDN!B now serves over 80 kids through its five classes at four sites.

The core group managing the Berkeley chapter has also grown tremendously since its founding, beginning at just three members, and now consisting of fourteen fantastic coordinators and teachers, as well as support from invaluable mentors such as UC Berkeley associate professor Lisa Wymore, UC Berkeley TDPS Marketing Associate Marni Davis, and the Luna Dance Institute. Currently, EDN!B’s projects include developing a comprehensive dance curriculum for lower grades to encourage them to explore movement, and partnering with the many renowned dance teams on the UC Berkeley campus, such as AFX.

imageTo learn more about the team, or follow EDN! Berkeley’s progress, check them out at: http://ednberkeley.org! From exciting upcoming performances to new site partnerships, the EDN! Berkeley team has a lot planned for the upcoming months. It’s been an exhilarating period of growth, and EDN!B plans to only capitalize further on its momentum in order to reach out and serve more students.

Thank you all for your continued support!

 

Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall Weekly Dance Class

"There are guys from different gangs in this room today. It is a miracle they are even moving, let alone dancing," a juvenile hall officer mentioned to me last Friday as I had the dance class take a break from practicing our routine. The Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall was a site recommended to Everybody Dance Now! Santa Barbara by Heather Carney, a good friend and dance teacher of our National Executive Director, Jackie Rotman. I honestly never imagined the class would become my favorite to teach each week.

As a dance instructor with ten years of experience in working with dance students across the United States and internationally, I have taught thousands of kids how to perform the art of dance. Throughout the process of being a professional dancer, choreographer, and instructor, not once was I offered the opportunity to teach outside of the dance studio or company atmosphere; that is, until I became an EDN! instructor and the EDN! SB Program Director. 

What is different about these juvenile hall teens is that they often don’t have much support, whether it be financial or positiveemotional encouragement, throughout their day. I have noticed the way they soak up my compliments: keeping their ”cool” they cannot help but smile subtly at their own progress with the hip hop movements. The encouragement really reaches them on a deep level, and their eyes light up when they feel like they got the step, groove, or routine.  

Many of the teens in this juvenile hall program seamlessly welcome the hip hop dance style; they are familiar with the music and often identify with cultural aspects of hip hop overall. Hip hop dance is thus a way to communicate with them based on the styles of music and movement they already enjoy, without the need to make them feel out of their comfort zone with techniques requiring special attire and technical requirements such as jazz or ballet. When I turn on a beat by a hip hop artist the students love listening to, we have an instant connection, which allows the class to run smoothly. I must admit, it took a couple of weeks for me to earn “credit” as a hip hop dance teacher from them, but now when I enter the trailer space at the juvenile hall, I feel welcomed by the students and staff.

The students’ growth as young individuals and artists is really quite something to witness. Some students even practice the routines from the week before during the entire week to then show me as soon as I enter the space. One of the boys actually shouts out his choreography ideas during the class, and because they are truly excellent ideas, we incorporate them instantly into the routine. Although some students feel embarrassed during the first (or beginning of the) class because they have nevertaken dance class before, I witness everyone feeling artistically and physically fulfilled after the class finishes. I really can’t wait to work with them again this coming Friday.

Best Regards,

Kelli Forman

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New Santa Barbara EDN! Performance Troupe

February 2nd, 2014 dancers gathered for their first Performance Troupe rehearsal at the 1235 Teen Center in Santa Barbara, under the direction of the new performance Troupe Director, Tinelle Matlock. After a very successful orientation meeting the week prior, dancers came to the first rehearsal filled with excitement and eagerness to learn and dance.

Tinelle welcomed past Performance Troupe members along with new Performance Troupe members in their first rehearsal together. As a group, they sat and discussed their intentions for this year’s dance season and how they would like to inspire the community as a dance troupe.

When asked how she felt about participating in the EDN! Performance Troupe, Daniela Sanchez, the Performance Troupe crew leader, said, “I feel like it will be another great experience, because being apart of EDN! is fun and it has taught me a lot of things. I’m looking forward to meeting new people.”

When asked what goals she has for the Performance Troupe, a new Performance Troupe member, Aliana Sherrill, replied, “I hope to get better at hip hop and be able have more performances.”

This year’s EDN! Performance Troupe of Santa Barbara has an eclectic and eager group of dancers: new inexperienced stage dancers, competition dancers, and dancers who just want to connect with others through dance.

They are currently working on their debut dance for the Santa Barbara Fair on April 25th at 5:00PM on the Abra Cadabra Stage at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. The troupe will be dancing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Tinelle is sure happy to be working with such an amazing group! She looks forward to what’s to come with this new EDN!SB Performance Troupe.

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Q & A with Pablo, first recipient of college scholarship for EDN! students

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Pablo Gatica walked up to our Founder and Executive Director at Harding School in Santa Barbara in 2006 when he was ten years old and said, “I can dance to that song! Tell me when you’re teaching, ‘cuz I’m so there.”  Pablo was one of the first students we recruited to our performance dance troupe in 2009 for 20 especially dedicated and talented EDN! youth.  Over the years, he’s participated in EDN!’s master classes with Tommy and the Hip-Hop Clowns (2008) and America’s Best Dance Crew’s Season 5 Champions, Poreotix (2010).  Now a high school junior, Pablo has grown into a beautiful dancer but also extraordinary person - and he’s become a chapter leader for EDN! Santa Barbara, giving back so that other students like Pablo have opportunities to dance.

We were absolutely thrilled when one of our donors from the Kirby-Jones Foundation was moved this summer to create a scholarship in Pablo’s name, to be used for college visits and application fees.  Pablo will be the first recipient of the scholarship this year, before other juniors and seniors in EDN! are eligible in the future.  We caught up with Pablo for an interview to learn more about what this means to him, and about his EDN! experiences more generally.

Jackie: What does this scholarship mean to you?

Pablo: To me, it really means that someone out there actually believes in me and knows that if I put my mind to something, I will be able to accomplish it.

J: What has been your favorite Everybody Dance Now! memory so far?

P: My favorite memory would probably have to be becoming an EDN! chapter leader [after being a student] and feeling so involved, knowing all the people who are leaders. It’s great to have such a special bond with them and know that we’re all such good friends.  I’ve been one of the kids who EDN! has helped, and it’s such an honor to know that I’m giving back. 

J: What about your favorite memory as a student?

P: I think my favorite memory as a student would probably be the second Breakdance Project that we did at Peabody School when we all got to perform together.  Getting a solo in the dance was such an honor, and working all together and having those Sunday classes where EDN! leaders would come over and we’d have the teacher and the performance troupe there was so much fun!

J: How has dance affected your life?

P: Dance is my savior. It really is. I feel that if I weren’t dancing, I would have done something stupid already or gotten in trouble – but dance means that if I’m happy or not happy, it’s such a great way to express myself and who I am. I can get everything out that I have bottled up. I really feel that if I wasn’t dancing, I don’t know what I would be doing with my life. It’s such an amazing form of communication. You can get your feelings across in a different way. It’s an art – you tell a story with your body and facial expressions, and it’s just so passionate when you do it.

J: What does it mean for your family that you have free dance opportunities, or what tradeoffs would they otherwise be making to support you in dance?

P: The tradeoffs for my family are really hard. What otherwise happens is that I go into a studio and work several hours a week in order to get classes. They’re usually half off, but it’s still pretty pricey - $40 instead of $90. But for someone like my family, $40 is still really expensive. If I don’t pay that $40, it’s the difference of me dancing or not dancing.

Having an experience like Everybody Dance Now! in which you don’t have to pay for classes and everything is free is just such a blessing, because you’re getting the exact same training that you would get at a studio, and you’re getting in an environment in which it’s either a small group of 5, or a group of 5-15. Everyone gets the individual training that they need, and the same atmosphere that you would at a studio… It’s helped me lose my fear – whenever I take class, I feel like I fit in with everyone else there, and that I’m there for the exact same reason that they are.

J: What are your goals for the future?

P: My goals for the future are to go to a four-year college right after high school. I want to major in Dance and Psychology, and after my four years in a university, I want to go into grad school and further my education more.  After that, I want to travel the world and do the same thing that EDN! is doing by helping underprivileged kids with dance or in any form of arts they can get, and just really impact the world with the same kind of mission that Everybody Dance Now! has.  Then, hopefully, after that, I can just give back as much as I can with whoever I am with.

J: Is there anything else you want to share with EDN! supporters or people who are learning about your story?

P: Just to believe in yourself and really reach high, because I’ve made it so far with the help of amazing people. I don’t have any words to say thank you. I don’t know how to pay them back for so much help that they’ve given me. I feel like if you really look, there is always going to be someone there who is trying to give you help, or who believes in your dreams and who will be there every step of the way to help you accomplish your goals. Just never stop believing, and always dream big.

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Spotlight on EDN! Chicago

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EDN! Chicago was created in May of 2012 and is an exploding chapter that has caught the eyes of many. With its first pilot classes launched just over a year ago in October 2012 at two Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, the chapter has since then quadrupled in number of classes and grown to be the 2nd largest chapter behind our inaugural chapter in Santa Barbara. Having recently just added an additional site partner earlier this month, Chicago now offers 8 classes a week at 9 different locations around the large urban city.  But the excitement does not end there; the momentum is still steadily growing!  (And you can watch this chapter in action here.)

EDN! Chicago’s fabulous successes are led by the chapter’s passionate and dedicated director, Sophia Horwich. As a DePaul University student with deep ties and native understanding of the local landscape, Sophia has set a firm foundation for EDN! in Chicago’s unique urban Midwestern environment. Tapping into the already dynamic and longstanding Chicago hip hop dance community, she has developed partnerships with many of the well known hip hop dance companies in the area such as Hip Hop ConnXion and BOOM CRACK!.  These connections have given the chapter access to a number of incredible dance instructors, reaching more than 260 children and counting.

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Furthermore, EDN! Chicago has been a pioneer in generating an innovative nutritional curriculum that supplements its classes. In response to a specific need demonstrated by the communities EDN! Chicago serves, an interactive curriculum was developed and successfully implemented to address realistic daily nutritional issues that commonly result in the food desert communities the EDN! Chicago students reside in. By being sensitive to the local cultures and committed to listening and addressing the community needs, EDN! Chicago has been able to make impressive strides forward in achieving EDN!’s vision.

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However, all these great accomplishments would have never been possible without the support and expertise of communities, donors, and supporters like you. With the fast, exciting, and dynamic growth over the past year that has lead to a projected chapter budget triple of its initial one back in May 2012 to enable programming such as a pre-professional performance dance troupe in the works, EDN! Chicago would love to welcome your support moving forward. Sophia has many more visions for EDN! Chicago in the upcoming year, from an upcoming recital in May, to improved funding models moving ahead.

Way to go, EDN! Chicago! We are excited to see what new updates we’ll be hearing from you in the next year.

“Being director of EDN! Chicago has definitely been the most rewarding thing and life-changing thing that I’ve ever done. I’ve learned so many skills that I didn’t know that I had and that many people don’t learn until they’re much, much older.  I really appreciate the youth led model because it’s also changing the lives of people like me.” - Sophia, EDN! Director

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