Visionary Dance Center
Team Member: Melinda Graczyk
Meghan Farrell-Hicks wrote -
How many people do you know, that make it their life's mission to offer students a Chance to Dream?
Meghan Farrell-Hicks is just such a person. Her passion is Dance, and she believes that ALL people, who desire to explore Dance education, should be given the opportunity to do so. The small, solidly middle class, Redford Township, MI is where Meghan attended high school and now makes her home. The border suburb, of Detroit, is a tight knit community where sports heroes reign, and dance is often considered an elitist endeavor, or at best, an activity that can be put on the back burner if times get tight. She knows that, for lower income families, exploration of the Fine Arts is often considered an unnecessary luxury and expense.
However, Ms. Meghan (as she's known to her students) holds onto the belief that art education offers students an opportunity to develop vital, lifelong skills: creativity, collaboration and critical thinking; and should be accessible to all, without regard to financial limitation. Many studies offer evidence that students involved in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. In her public school roles of Director, of the Thurston High School Dance Company, and Choreographer of the Thurston Drama program, she came to realize that Redford Township, as well as the surrounding communities were not filling the needs of its young people with regard to the Arts in general, and Dance in particular. Every child grows with exposure to the Arts, and Director Meghan Farrell-Hicks' life long love of Dance has brought her to the realization that many talented youth are missing out on the opportunity to experience this joy, due to a lack of affordable programming.
With that in mind, Ms. Farrell-Hicks has made it her mission to create positive change and enrich the community and lives of individuals, unable to afford other studios, through Dance. She plans on reaching this goal with the creation of the Visionary Dance Center. The Dance Center will be an all-inclusive learning environment, seemingly unattainable to many in our community. No student, with a desire to express themselves through motion will be turned away. There will be no auditions, nor any pressure to compete. This “leveling” of the Dance floor will help more low income and minority people enter the world of Dance. There will be a place for everyone. Courses are available for all ages, developmental levels and challenges. The Visionary Dance Center will be instrumental in giving people the tools they need to develop self-advocacy and advance social change.
Creativity is inherent in us all. Dance, drama and music can be a tool for expression as well as enhancing personal growth. With the exposure; and most importantly, the opportunity; Dance provides individuals with:
- an emotional outlet
- increased confidence and self-esteem
- a sense of achievement
- the freedom of expression
- expanded social awareness and communication
- an opportunity for involvement
She is partnering with established businesses and organizations in the area to gather funding to cover tuition for low income students. But before the first shoe can hit the dance floor, she needs a floor... and mirrors, and barres, and the list goes on. In order to open the doors to the first classes, Visionary Dance Center needs to raise $21,500 to properly equip the space with the tools needed to create a safe, productive environment.
Please help Ms. Meghan use the power of Dance to develop strong and positive communities. Visionary Dance Center will focus on rigorous technique, inclusion, and personal growth. Meghan Farrell-Hicks is poised to go into the community to share her Art.