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 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 a school dance program embraces these tenets:
Child-centered curriculum & instruction
Artist-teacher led implementation
Access & inclusion
Luna worked with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) from 2006-15 to launch a comprehensive school dance program for every child K-5 at New Highland Academy (NHA). NHA became the first elementary school in California where all children received sequential, standards-based dance every week throughout the full academic year. At project completion, OUSD hired its first full-time elementary dance instructor to continue the program. The work at NHA utilized extensive formative assessment and established a template of how Luna can most effectively build sustainable dance programs in public schools.
This is how Luna works with schools and districts:
- Year One: Planning year, collaborative professional development, pilot model classes with classroom teacher who is willing to champion the dance program at the school.
- Year Two: Add grade levels that make the most sense to the goals of the school, continue collaborative professional development and evaluation.
- Year Three: Continue to add grade levels and evaluate.
- Year Four-Five: All students receive progressive weekly classes; all teachers understand how dance supports school wide goals.
- Year Six: Dance teacher assigned at school, Luna diminishes role to coaching and support.
- Year Seven: School independent of Luna with full functioning dance program. Luna launches program at another site.
Similar projects at Tilden Elementary (2004-2009), Grass Valley Elementary (2011-present), Westlake Middle School (2006-12), and Emerson Elementary (2019-22) allowed Luna to develop expertise in dance and disability, funded in part through a contract with Kennedy Center, VSA. The lessons learned in special education classes and inclusion classes have been presented at conferences such as California Dance Education Association, California Head Start, and Kennedy Center, VSA.
Luna works district-wide as well. In our home city of Berkeley, we serve on Berkeley Arts Education Steering Committee, mentored elementary dance teachers, and implemented a professional development project in special education. We are regularly called upon by San Francisco and Los Angeles Unified School Districts to provide professional development to their itinerant dance teachers, and have been hired by Alameda and Marin County Offices of Education to provide professional development for TK and K-5 classroom teachers. We are partnering with Oakland Unified School District and Marin County Office of Education early childhood departments to develop an initiative supporting dance in early education through professional development and leadership coaching.