Fundraising Campaign for Kids Dance Outreach Successfully Wraps Up

 

Click to see original Press Release

Fundraising Campaign for Kids Dance Outreach Successfully Wraps Up

June 10, 2019

Committed to making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities, PrintingCenterUSA leveraged the power of its national customer base to fundraise for Indianapolis-based Kids Dance Outreach’s (KDO) Adaptive Dance program. During the month of May, PrintingCenterUSA donated a portion of the proceeds from select products to the nonprofit — raising a total of $5,025 for child dancers with disabilities.

The proceeds from the fundraising campaign will go towards summer programs KDO is hosting, including a course specifically for dancers with Down Syndrome under its Adaptive Dance program.

“With school out, kids often become isolated in the summer months — more so for children with disabilities who are too often left out,” said KDO Founding Director Michael Johnson. “As an inclusive organization, when we bring kids of all abilities together our communities are stronger because of it. We are extremely grateful to PrintingCenterUSA for helping to provide further opportunities to dancers with disabilities.”

KDO_General

Last December, PrintingCenterUSA broke a record in rallying its customer base to make the largest donation ever by a company to the Special Olympics of Montana. The success of that campaign inspired us to continue to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities across the nation.

We are humbled to be able to help KDO carry out its mission of empowering children with disabilities through the power of performance art, thanks to the charitable giving of our customers.

on the aisle with Tom Alvarez

Click to see original Article by Tom Alvarez 

HEARTWARMING KDO CONCERT IS A ROUSING SPECTACLE

May 1, 2019

What was most enjoyable about the “Kids Dance Outreach 2019 Event of the Year” Tuesday night was the astounding vitality and exuberance of the 75 children who were featured in the dance performance with the theme of “Hold Fast to Dreams.” Staged at Howard Schrott Center for the Arts on the campus of Butler University, the sold-out event showcased the young dancers, ages 8-11, in a ultra lively program that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance.

The mission of Kids Dance Outreach (KDO), founded in 2012 by former Boston Ballet dancer Michael J. Johnson, is “to positively impact the lives of all children through joyful dance programs that inspire excellence, install confidence, encourage teamwork and applaud persistence.” It serves 2,000 students attending Indianapolis public and charter schools. Different from a dance studio, KDO’s most important feature is its accessibility. Classes, taught by master teachers and musicians, are free for all children, regardless of ability, economic status or religion.

Dancing to live music performed by an eight-piece band of seasoned musicians, the super-talented KDO performers were dazzling as they executed, in some cases, very complex choreography, much of it created by Johnson, KDO associate director Monica M. Muñoz and lead teaching assistant Courtney Coirin.

Additional choreography featured in the concert was created by Ellen Weinstein, artistic director of the National Dance Institute in New York City. Weinstein and NDI founder Jacques d’ Amboise, a former ballet dancer and legend in the dance world, were both present for the event. Prior to the concert, they participated in a panel discussion with Johnson for a VIP audience. KDO became an Indiana Associate of the National Dance Institute in 2018, one of a dozen in the country. KDO’s association with NDI is quite a feather in the cap for Johnson and his colleagues, considering the organization’s high profile, as was D’Amboise’s and Weinstein’s attendance at the event.

There is so much to praise about the concert, but for purposes of brevity I will highlight those moments that most caught my attention and there were many.

First of all, I wish to single out Leilani Hendrix, who served as the program’s narrator. Showing remarkable poise and confidence, she reflected a maturity way beyond her years, as did young Darrel Watson who recited, respectively, “I, Too,” and “The Dream Keeper,” two Langston Hughes poems near the open and close of the concert. Adding to the show’s high entertainment value was soloist Troy Thomas, Jr. who sang “Minnie the Moocher.”

I do wish to emphasize that, at times, I could not believe my eyes, as the kids, showing impressive discipline and control, danced in total sync and executing the kinds of combinations and formations that are common in musical theatre choreography. Also amazing was their musicality, with many of the young dancers conveying buoyant personalities.

Featuring choreography that mirrored large musical theatre production numbers, the dancers shined in “The Big City” set to music by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington and the “The Cotton Club & The Nicholas Brothers,” featuring Thomas Campbell and Jeremiah Bolden, who turned in phenomenal performances as the legendary, tap-dancing siblings. Featuring KDO standout Jasemine Bolden as “Tenant” and Keegan Loye as “Cop,” the kids delighted an enthusiastic audience in “Rent Party.”

In lieu of an intermission, KDO held a “Find a Need Auction,” which was overseen by auctioneer Jay Cash. Donors held up numbered cards as poignant photos of KDO dancers by Jenny Danek were projected on a large screen above the stage. A whopping $29,000 in pledges was collected in less than 20 minutes.

Highlights of the concert’s second half were “Black Bottom,” which featured KDO’s X-Team, which also wowed the crowd in “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Absolutely moving was “What a Wonderful World,” featuring Karlee Rund & Phoebe Reese, accompanied by projected images that portrayed KDO’s racial diversity, a key component of its mission.

Since attending the concert, I have reflected deeply about the event’s possible impact on the kids who performed and my experience as an audience member. To successfully perform and receive the love and adulation of an adoring audience, with many parents and families in attendance, must truly have been a life-changing experience the KDO kids will never forget. As far as its impact on me, seeing those innocent, fresh-faced, totally guileless young kids expressing themselves left me feeling optimistic that through their passion, commitment and creativity, they’ll help make the world a better place than the one they have inherited.Adding to the elevated quality of the concert, which was KDO’s first professionally produced presentation, were its top-notch production values, as evidenced by the lighting design created by Laura Glover, who works her magic regularly for Dance Kaleidoscope, Kathleen Egan’s costume design and tech-video contributions from Jeff Gooch, and production managers Abraham Sheckels and Kelly Schmidt.

Group teaching students to dance

 

Click to see original Segment aired by WISHTV

Group teaching students to dance

By Emily Kinzer

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 09:50 AM EST

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A group that teaches children to dance, sometimes introducing them to dance for the first time, has expanded.

Kids Dance Outreach (KDO) started in 2012 and partnered with about 12 Indianapolis Public Schools.

This semester it expanded full-time to IPS Super School 19 on the southeast side of Indianapolis.

Once a week for about 45 minutes to an hour, students in the school get to dance and move. It is something the school’s principal believes is important.

“We believe exercise builds brain cells. We want to incorporate movement as much as we can all throughout the building so we thought it would be a great opportunity to turn our music program into a performing arts program,” IPS Super School 19 principal John McClure.

Part of the reason KDO started was to introduce children to dance who otherwise may miss out on the opportunity.

“The goal is to inspire excellence and infuse their lives with art in a way that they may have never been exposed to or may never be exposed to otherwise,” said KDO instructor Monica Munoz.

For Jordynn, who is in second grade, the dance moves are a lot of fun.

“My favorite thing to do is dance. You need to get real much focused to do things as perfect as you want them to be,” she said.

KDO staff said the biggest thing they struggle with is continued funding. They hope to further expand into more schools.

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