WHAT WE DO
Established in 2012 the mission of Kids Dance Outreach (KDO) is to positively impact the lives of all children through joyful dance programs that inspire excellence, instill confidence, encourage teamwork, and applaud persistence.
Through community partnerships around Indianapolis KDO shares its high-level dance programs with thousands each year.
The Kids Dance Outreach programs are designed to inspire and introduce young elementary school children to the art of dance, while engaging them in a process that equips them with the discipline, confidence, social consciousness and cognitive skills for success. The project is the vision of Michael J. Johnson, founder and Chief Executive Director, to bring high quality arts education and performance opportunities directly to the children of this community, thereby enhancing their sense of self-worth, academic achievement, social skills and ultimately, their quality of life.
It should be noted that “dance outreach” is our one and only mission. This is what sets up apart and it is also what allows us to really be experts in our field. The words “Outreach” and “Artistic Excellence” are rarely a successful combination. However, KDO is proving that both can co-exist.
KDO has attained the unique distinction of being welcomed into participating schools, often during school hours, by knowledgeable educators who realize the enormous importance of the arts programs they can no longer afford. Our curriculum aligns with PE, Music and Dance standards. Principals and teachers recognize and acclaim the high level of expertise of the Professional Dancers who lead our organization. This has created an unusual willingness in them to restructure their participating students’ curriculum in order to benefit from this highly valuable opportunity, creating a true partnership. In addition to accommodating families who are often financially burdened and without transportation, during-school-time KDO programs reinforce the tremendous importance of the arts as an integral part of a child’s education, rather than a “nonessential add on” available only to the privileged. Our during-school-hours program insures the inclusiveness of the KDO model, which transcends racial, economic, and geographic divides. KDO main programs are offered free of charge to all students.
If you are a parent, or school administrator and would like to have the program at your school, click to learn more and contact us!
This project is the vision of Michael J. Johnson, founder and chief executive director, to bring an arts education opportunity directly to underprivileged children and to improve their quality of life. Mr. Johnson has been involved in dance, music and the arts for most of his life. He graduated with a B.S in Arts Administration with Concentration in Dance from Butler University. He danced professionally with The Boston Ballet for 10 years and has a long history of working with youth throughout his career in dance; most notably his work with the Boston Ballet’s outreach program, City Dance. From 2011-2013, Mr. Johnson was invited to return to Indianapolis as Visiting Professor of Dance at Butler University during which time he saw a strong need to create a dance outreach initiative in this community. He has developed a curriculum geared toward grade school students that addresses several key issues that are facing youth in this country: apathy, bullying, and high drop-out rate. The curriculum also incorporates the developmental needs of youth: mastery and achievement, physical activity, self-definition, creative expression, positive social interactions with peers and adults, meaningful participation and the need for structure and clear limits.
Associate Director Mónica Muñoz was inspired by Kids Dance Outreach’s mission in a unique way. Being from Puerto Rico, she joined the team in 2013 hoping to serve as a strong advocate and liaison between the program and Hispanic children, families and communities. Before joining KDO, she danced professionally with Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, Milwaukee Ballet and the Louisville Ballet. Throughout her dancing career she observed and experienced the work that happens through education and outreach departments in various cities. She holds a B.A. in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University.