Dancing Grounds is building up their local community through the joys of dancing. They bring high-quality, inclusive, and accessible dance programs to New Orleans residents of all ages and backgrounds. Dance is used as a vehicle for developing youth change agents, inspiring health and wellness, and promoting social justice. In the words of one of their own students: “Dancing Grounds is not just a dance studio- it's also a place for people of all backgrounds to come appreciate local art and culture while experiencing the many benefits of dance.”
In 2012, their co-Founder and Executive Director Laura Stein, started leading hip hop fitness classes in a makeshift dance studio she created in her living room. Within a few months, her home was transformed into Dancing Grounds (DG), a uniquely diverse community space with dance classes, visual art exhibits, and performances. The DG family grew as a grassroots volunteer network, responding to the need for more programming and infrastructure for dancers and dance-lovers in New Orleans. In 2014, DC had grown so successfully that they were able to transfer their operations to a facility on St. Claude Avenue with two professional dance studios. Now they’re a full-fledged nonprofit organization with 4 full-time staff members and 25 dance teaching artists, serving thousands of youth and adults across the city.
Dancing Grounds has become a driving force for arts and education in the city, reaching more than 1,500 youth, 2,500 adults, and countless audience members with in-school programs. Their professional dance facility on Saint Claude Avenue serves as a vibrant community center, arts hub, and bridge between longtime residents in the Upper Ninth Ward and new residents in the Bywater/Marigny areas. Within the next five years, DG is poised to reach over 5,000 New Orleanians at multiple locations across the city.
On Sunday February 21st, 2016, 200 audience members gathered at Akili Academy to watch 50 youth perform original multidisciplinary pieces about their experiences in New Orleans schools as part of Dance for Social Change Summit (DSC). DSC is an annual arts and leadership summit that brings New Orleans youth artists together to advocate for change and catalyze action through artistic performance. The 2016 event centered around the theme, “Raising Student Voices,” inspiring meaningful discussion about school communities in New Orleans.
-If raised, $1,000 would help Dancing Grounds raise scholarship funds for students. Dancing Grounds Summer and Dancing Grounds Youth Company, are tuition-based dance programs that offer scholarships to all students in need so that they never turn a young dancer away for financial reasons. 70% of students enrolled are on a partial or full scholarship.
-$2,000 would cover the costs of staffing their 2017 Dance for Social Change Festival and afford them the capacity to bring in professional artists to lead multidisciplinary skill-building workshops for young artists.
-$5,000 would fully fund scholarships for 2016-17 Dance for Social Change Youth Council participants.
Over the next 5 years, their goal is to be poised to transform the lives of 5,000 youths in over 10 schools and expand the reach of Dance for Social Change Summit. By 2021, they’ll see some of their first students graduate from high school with the passion, self-confidence, and critical thinking skills they need to succeed in college and beyond!
Help Dancing Grounds reach their goals and support their Screens for Good campaign today. Wear it proud.