BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF OAKLAND INC wrote -
Please help us give the gift of DANCE to deserving boys, girls and teens!
Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland needs your help to start up a new dance program, “All the Right Moves.” Your support of this program will help us equip our existing stage space into a safe and beautiful dance studio with sprung dance floors, mirrors and barres. The majority of our kids have never had access to such a dance program.
Who are our student-members?
Some of the obstacles and challenges our student-members often have to hurdle include:
-Poverty: We serve areas in which up to 47.8% of children live BELOW the poverty level. Up to 87% of our student-members qualify for free or reduced lunch;
-Difficulty in achieving academic success: While Alameda County registered an 82.9% graduation rate for students in 2014, Oakland Unified School Districts recorded a significantly lower percentage, 60.5%.
-Crime and Violence: In 2012, Alameda County recorded 62 youth homicides (2nd most from any county in the state) with the majority of those homicides taking place in Oakland.
-Lack of family support: 77% of our student members live in single parent/guardian households. In Oakland, it's been documented that up to 70% of students live with neither birth parent!
Q&A with Artistic Director Yukie Fujimoto
With a national movement shifting STEM to STEAM (to include the arts) why is a dance program important?
STEM believes that these fields are interdisciplinary and deeply intertwined with the real world. Dance is also interdisciplinary and deeply intertwined with the real world. Through collaboration, problem solving, communicating, dancers are trained to think critically, creatively, take risks and negotiate with other minds and bodies. Dancers are always figuring ways to improve themselves and metaphorically speaking, change directions on a drop of a dime, be flexible, create material and improvise. Moreover, dance expresses real experiences – anger, joy, political views, spirit, history or identity. It behooves us to not be ahead of this movement into STEAM. As photographer Charles Négre wrote, “Where science ends, art begins.”
With all the challenges and obstacles these kids face, why dance? What are they missing out on? What do they have to gain?
Dancers learn embodiment, the ability to be present in the moment, connecting the mind and body in order to solve problems, confrontations, disappointments, aggression. Through dance, these kids have agency over their bodies and learn the joy of being physical, embodied and ultimately gain confidence. They will walk into that interview and nail it because everything in their carriage, self-awareness and well-being tells them they are empowered and deserve the best. This is what dance will give them.
Are there any free dance programs in the Bay Area?
There are many studios that offer scholarships for students who have the passion and have the need. The dance program at the Boys and Girls Club will offer free dance classes to its members. Dancers will learn basic skills in ballet, modern and composition (choreography). Similar to Misty Copeland’s journey from a Club member to the Principal Dancer of American Ballet Theater, “All the Right Moves” will be a feeder program to local dance programs. I want to expose them to the idea of dance as a career or even a pathway to college – dance as a means to opportunities beyond the stage.
What can you do to help?
Donate today to help us get this program started! Our start-up costs are estimated at $15,000. This will allow us to install a new dance floor, ballet barres, mirror panels and provide dance wear for our student-members.