Visiting an Arts Connection Dance Class in Harlem
Posted by May 26, 2010 1 comment
Thanks to the kindness of Arts Education Council member Steve Tennen, I had the opportunity to visit a dance class at New York P.S. 241 in Harlem last week during a sojourn to the New York office of Americans for the Arts for other meetings.
Over the past 30 years, Steve's organization, Arts Connection, has provided the students of New York City schools access to art, music, media, visual arts, and dance, and the countless accolades they have received throughout that time demonstrate their undying devotion to the cause that is so near and dear to our hearts.
Following the hour-long session, dance teacher Yvette Martinez did an amazing job of explaining everything that she is able to do with the children thanks in part to a grant from MetLife. Not only is she providing them with quality dance lessons, but she is also working well beyond the topic of dance. She includes lessons in how the muscles of the body work, how the food the children eat impacts their current and future health (many of them are already diagnosed with diabetes and their families have histories of heart complications and cancer), and how to read food labels on the sides of their food.
As a colleague of mine recently said to me, those of us at the 30,000 foot level in arts education policy do not have enough time spent in the field, witnessing what we work for on a day-to-day basis.
Watching 30 children working on their dance moves for an upcoming festival, it will be difficult for me not to think of them every time I write a blog or respond to an email.
I also made a promise to myself that I will schedule similar visits in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area at least once a month just to make sure I don't lose sight of my goal of providing access to all the arts to all of the children of this country.
What local arts or arts education organizations have made an impact in your community and how?
Retumba's resounding positive energy, along with their genuine love of music and culture makes it a pleasure for anyone to participate and delightful for everyone to experience.