The fifth annual Performing Ourselves Showcase, "Bridges," will take place Saturday, May 6 and feature performances by approximately 100 youth from seven community centers across Madison.
The students, through their choreography, will explore questions about the theme of connection -- building bridges to connect to themselves, the people in their lives and the community.
The annual spring Showcase will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall. Admission to the event is free. There will be a complimentary reception immediately following the performance in the Virginia Harrison Parlor, Lathrop Hall.
In preparation for the performances, participants were asked to explore the theme of connection and then bring those ideas into movement and choreography.
The program, which is co-directed by UW-Madison’s Kate Corby and Mariah LeFeber, provides a series of experiential movement and performance classes to the local youth.
Performing Ourselves started as a pilot program five years ago, launched fully in September 2011 with three student interns and three local community centers, and has now more than doubled in size. Six student teachers now serve seven Madison locations: the Allied Learning Center, East Madison Community Center, Elver Park Neighborhood Center, Goodman Community Center, Kennedy Heights Community Center, Lussier Community Education Center, and Vera Court Neighborhood Center.
In addition, this past year Performing Ourselves launched programming at preschool sites and in partnership with MMSD Community Schools.
Corby, an associate professor with the School of Education’s Dance Department, directs the program and has expanded her staff as well, hiring a student research assistant, an assistant program manager, and a program manager. After exhausting the three-year grant through the Ira & Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, Corby and LeFeber actively sought additional funding. This year's programming is supported by the Dance Department, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of The Capital Times, the School of Education’s Virginia Horne Henry Fund for Women’s Physical Education and Movement, Dane Arts, Door Creek Church, Movemeant Foundation and many generous individuals.
“Thus far, we have been able to provide this high quality programming at no cost to the partners and the families we serve,” said Corby. “As we look to the future,” she said, “we will continue to fine‐tune these programmatic and community partnership elements, continue to seek funding to support and expand the program, as well as pursue research aspects of the program.”
This showcase is a collaboration between the UW-Madison Dance Department and the local community centers. It is the culmination of 30 weeks of instruction by undergraduate dance majors who work collaboratively with elementary, middle and high school youth to create new choreography.
One student said of her experience with the program, “Dance has made me not as scared to do things in front of people. I can be myself all the time and I don't worry about other people in my class making fun of me because I know I'm just right how I am.”
Another dancer reflected, “I love to dance because when I dance I get to show my feelings and express myself. I don’t always like to verbally express myself so I like that I can express myself through my body.”
Performing Ourselves’ goal is to boost the self-confidence of a generation of Madison’s youth through dance and performance. Corby says it facilitates an active learning experience for youth in Madison by engaging them in the process of creation and performance as a means of empowerment and identity.
For more information on Performing Ourselves go to http://performingourselves.com or visit www.facebook.com/performingourselves.