Dance to Learn
Dance to Learn is a multifaceted dance education program that promotes arts-based learning through dance in K-12 schools. Each site participates in a strategic planning process to identify their own learning objectives and design an action plan tailored to the unique needs of their students. School sites attend professional dance performances at the Ordway comprising a rich collection of different dance forms, techniques and styles. Dance to Learn empowers all teachers and learners to express themselves through innovative and participatory dance curriculum.
Each Residency site receives…
- Guided professional development training in the field of Art Education, led by a select group of the Twin Cities’ foremost artists and Ordway Education professionals in collaboration with school team
- Classroom curriculum in dance designed and led by experienced teaching artists
- Guided student and teacher reflections utilizing tools in the Artful Handbook
- Enhanced student understanding of dance, through direct participation in the art form and dialogue with dance professionals
- Support and/or introduce dance education in K-12 schools
- Personalize the experience of attending a dance performance at the Ordway
- Encourage and facilitate critical thinking about live performance and arts-based instruction
- Work towards inclusion and equity in arts-based education
Dance to Learn Teaching Artists
Brian J. Evans is a Professional Performing Human & Citizen Artist and is starting his 3rd year as a teaching artist with the Ordway Center for Performing Arts’ Dance to Learn program. Ever striving for social justice, Evans places high value in the process of art and its community access, having had most of his training out in the vibrant arts community of the Twin Cities. As a principal dancer and musical director for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Evans has continued to investigate the idea that connections exist between us all and it’s the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover those connections, highlight them to allow us to feel holistically human. Evans is a recipient of a 2009 Sage Award for Outstanding Performer and a McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Dance in 2015.
Leah Nelson graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She performs and teaches nationally and internationally in venues like Brooklyn Academy of Music, Zellerbach Theater, PS122 and Dance Jubilee in her native Zimbabwe. She has created customized entertainment for clients like The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Science Museum of Minnesota and Target. She was recently commissioned to create an original Acro-Ballet inspired by the history of 3M for their 45th Golden Step award and has choreographed for both Circus Juventas and Xelias Ariel Arts. She has also performed both on stage and in media alongside legendary performers Prince, Lisa Loeb and Lil Wayne. Ms Nelson is a co-founder and collaborator with the Minnesota Spoken Word Association and “B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop” at Intermedia Arts – both the result of her passion for achieving social change through the arts. Her most recent adventure in art and choreography is for “The Bluest Eye” – a Guthrie Theater production.
Karla Nweje is a choreographer, performer, literary artist, and arts educator. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Brooklyn College/CUNY. Karla is a published author and contributing writer to literary journals and anthologies and writes and presents interactive workshops for youth. After obtaining her teaching credentials, Ms. Nweje worked as a high school teacher in New York City by day while performing by night. During this time, she used performing arts techniques to enhance classroom learning. The positive results she witnessed affirmed her conviction that the arts are vital to the healthy, comprehensive development of our youth. Since arriving to the Twin Cities, Karla has served the community through multiple programs and organizations. She has produced several bodies of stage work and continues to choreograph and write material for students and a broadening audience base. Karla is a 2013 recipient of Ordway Education’s Excellence in Educational Service Award and is entering her 10th season as a teaching artist and design team member for its Dance to Learn program. She is on several artist rosters and remains a regular presenter at arts and education conferences and retreats. Within Minnesota and beyond, Ms. Nweje continues to cultivate partnerships across organizations, programs, and school districts to make quality arts experiences accessible to all learners.
Residency Structure: Resident artists, school faculty and Ordway Education staff collaborate to identify both academic and social-emotional learning goals for each classroom. Ordway residencies are individually designed to meet a school’s needs and are supported by Ordway teaching artists and staff.
|Early September||Application due to the Ordway|
|Late September||School notified of application status|
|September – Early October||
Professional Development Workshops with Staff and Artists (4 hours)
School-specific site visit
At-school planning with teaching artists and Ordway staff for in school residency work
|October – April||Residency Work:
(including mid-point and final site reflection)
|October- May||Attend Ordway school performances|
|May||Full day professional development cross-site workshop and final reflection for all participating schools (All Day)|
Interested? If you are interested in becoming an Ordway “Dance to Learn” site please call our Education Hotline at 651-282-3115 for more information.