School & Community Alliances

Luna Dance Institute and our model program—School & Community Alliances (SCA), work in tandem to bring high quality dance learning to all children. Luna’s pedagogy drives all programs through professional education for dance teaching artists, classroom teachers, school and arts leaders, early childhood education faculty and social workers, we help build cultures of dance, particularly for those underserved: children attending schools with low API scores, families residing in residential treatment, DV shelters and incarceration facilities, English language learners, and children with autism or other special needs.

Many understand the intrinsic value of dance. Dance uses the medium of the human body, moving through space and time, with energy, contextualized in history, environment, culture and society, to express and advance thoughts, ideas and feelings. Yet, there remains confusion about who can dance, what dance education can look like and where it should take place.

At Luna, we believe it is every child’s right to dance. We also believe that dance education should be creative, progress sequentially and be taught by highly qualified professionals. We also know that there are multiple paths to bringing dance to all children. We seek to work with schools, districts, agencies and districts to build strong, sustainable dance programs customized for and integral to your community.

Our approach to building programs embraces these tenets:

  • Dance curriculum and instruction are child-centered
  • Dance implementation is driven by artist-teacher (or practitioner) partnerships
  • Dance programs are administratively supported
  • Dance learning is shared with and accessible to all

Luna’s School and Community Alliances (SCA) builds dance programs in early childhood centers, schools, districts, arts and community agencies serving children with the least access. See our case studies for inspiring examples.

Luna Dance Institute helps build strong dance program through a combination of the following services:

  • Consultation: needs assessment, setting goals and structuring the process
  • Program Design: setting a realistic timeline with step-by-step implementation
  • Professional Learning: in-service workshops, intensive development of key dance teaching staff, curriculum development support, coaching
  • Model classes
  • Assessment: student, staff, program
  • Program Evolution: building cultures of dance in the community beyond your front door

If your school or organization would like to build a comprehensive, standards-based dance program (or improve or assess an existing one), we can help. To explore whether our approach feels right for you, consider joining us for one of our topic or grade level-focused Practitioner Exchanges or contact

Schools & Districts
Luna developed a SCA structure that has proven effective at building sustainable programs through: model classes with side-by-side coaching, on-site in-services, professional learning, planning and assessment. We work with our SCA partners to build articulated standards-based dance programs tailored for their specific site with infrastructures to sustain them. Our SCA projects are successful because: 1) we work with the entire community: teachers, administrators, parents, paraprofessionals and children; 2) we acknowledge and advocate for sufficient time to build sustainability—full year contracts, 3-year minimum; 3) the teacher/dance teaching artist partnership is nurtured through collaborative inquiry. Since 2005 we have worked with Oakland Unified School District toward articulating and showcasing a sequential course of dance study for all students, K-12. Our progress to date includes: the publication of Dance Learning in the 21st Century: a Blueprint for Teaching & Learning Dance Grades K-12, a pilot program at New Highland Academy, recognized as the first California elementary school with articulated scope and sequence in dance for all students, and nationally-recognized dance inclusion projects at Tilden Elementary and Westlake Middle School.

Early Childhood
Luna Dance Institute faculty has special expertise in the developmental needs of children ages 2-6. We work with Early Childhood educators and Child Development Centers (CDC) to create environments that nurture the young child’s natural propensity to learn through movement. Our Professional Learning workshops builds capacity as professionals and parents learn to bring create dance curriculum that honors the importance of play, supports early literacy and enhances relationship skills.

We address Dance in Early Childhood through:

Arts & Social Services
Since 1994, Luna has partnered with local arts and social service agencies to bring the transformative power of dance to life for all children! Arts organizations that hire dance teaching artists often lack the resources to train, develop, assess and support these artists to their highest level of expertise. Luna Dance Institute provides professional learning and collegial support to individual artists and provides on-site professional development workshops or program planning consultation customized to the needs of your organization.

Many community agencies are recognizing the role arts play in social justice movements and Luna is thrilled to position ourselves as change agents through the art of dance. Individual social workers have attended our Professional Learning programs to explore how to incorporate dance into their organization’s palette of services. Luna partners with organizations, such as San Francisco’s Asian Women Shelter, to build capacity for dance and to increase cultural competency among dance teaching artists. This year, we are working together to bring more dance to immigrant families in San Francisco’s API communities.

We are currently partnering with the following Oakland Public Schools:

Grass Valley Elementary

Reach Academy

These schools are in various stages of developing comprehensive, sequential dance learning programs. Each is either a new school to us, well on the way to building, or almost ready to launch on their own dance program.

Past school partners have included Tilden Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Cragmont Elementary, Rise Academy, Claremont Middle School, Westlake Middle School, New Highland Academy, La Escuelita, International Community School