Building Cultures of Dance in Marin City

Posted on 11/02/11

Outcomes & Process:  Beginning January 2011, Luna has partnered with ASI alumnae Erica Rose Jeffrey and the Marin City-Sausalito Parent Center to develop a family dance program for the community.  With support from the Marin Community Foundation, this project has three main objectives:  1) to identify the dance teaching artists living and working in Marin and find ways to support their collegial and professional development; 2) to create a strong foundation for family dance as an integral part of this new parent center; and 3) to take our ASI graduates to a new level of leadership, in this case coaching Erica through the process of developing multiple relationships within a social service/educational community, creating systems for implementation and outreach, assisting in professional development, and mentoring teachers in family dance methodology.  Presently, 3/4 of the way into the program Saturday morning classes are in full swing and three teachers are committed to furthering the program.

Challenges: The Marin City-Sausalito Parent Center is brand new and the director wears many hats within the school district as administrator and social worker.  Her commitment to building family support programs is strong and she is excited about making dance happen.  Nonetheless, district support is inconsistent and we are all learning to navigate new relationships.   Additionally, Marin is a big county with huge socio-economic disparities.  Director Tenisha Tate is excited that the dance program, specifically the professional development workshops, is bringing Marin-ites to her part of town.

Impact:  This program will allow Marin County to build capacity for dance teaching for ALL children.  Torri Campbell, a dancer and therapist, is learning to teach parent-child classes and will take over the program in 2012.  Other professionals have already expressed interest in the training, expanding the dance resources available in the region.

Update: Marin Community Foundation has agreed to provide funding again in 2012 so that we can held the southern Marin community solidify the program that began in 2011.  Torri Campbell is ready to take the lead in continuing this work and collaboration has already begun between the Parent Center and other local social service agencies.  We are so pleased to be continuing this project, particularly in light of the recent report, “A Portrait of Marin” that revealed stark income inequality between residents living in the wealthiest and those in the poorest parts of Marin county.