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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

California Dance Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Dance

Mission: The california dance institute is an arts education program that teaches life and learning skills through dance and music. Cdi's mission is to motivate children to develop a personal standard of excellence by instilling confidence, discipline and focus through a joyful, structured dance workout.

Target demographics: teach life and learning skills to at-risk youth in public schools

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1200 chilren in Los Angeles-area public schools

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles County

Programs: CDI's in -school and after-school programs give children a basic understanding of the fundamentals of movement, rhythm and music in structured, energetic dance classes with live musical accompaniment for 20-25 weeks in each school. CDI’s mission is to motivate children to develop a personal standard of excellence by instilling confidence, discipline and focus through the rigor and joy of dance. The schools that CDI serves are in ethnically diverse, low-income neighborhoods where children are at risk.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CDI (California Dance Institute) is a program for children that provides them with physical fitness and health as well as confidence and pride. The program is well run and it shows that all who are involved from teachers to administrators are very passionate about their mission to bring movement and a thorough dance experience to underserved children. Their culmination show at the end of the year brings tears to your eyes, there is so much joy in the room and the children shine!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The student here at Carson-Gore Academy Love this wonderful program! It helps them build self-esteem, self-awareness, and build more meaningful friendship by working together and practicing to meet one goal. They love it so much that our students recycle and fund raise to raise enough money to pay for this program. Not only do the students participate but they take ownership in bringing and keeping the program going . Ms. Reed, RSP Teacher

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the unique experience of working with CDI as an school administrator and, now as a CDI board member. I am so proud to be associated with this outstanding organization. The instructional program develops self-confidence, focus, motivation, and self-discipline to all children. It is incredibly popular with both boys and girl and students of all backgrounds, sizes, shapes and dance ability. Any child can thrive in this program. It develops all the above skills through the medium of dance in a supportive, nurturing yet challenging environment. These skills are all crucial for success academically and in life and what a joy to see them absorbed by the CDI participants in every class and with such joy!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have lost track of the first time I experienced California Dance Institute and I am pretty sure it was near the beginning of its exposure to the Southern California education community. I was blown away and so pleased to see large numbers of elementary age students from different areas of Los Angeles coming together and sharing their excitement and joy of sharing pure movement they learned from the CDI staff. Each year I've experienced this organization at work, it seems all of the players involved.... students, teachers, CDI facilitators, parents,.... become more engaged and fulfilled. Everybody wins. I hope the CDI's participation in the educational dynamic is one of the arts components that will always have a home. It is supportive, necessary and welcomed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Self-esteem; teamwork; exercise; fun; self-confidence: That's what results when Los Angeles kids participate in the California Dance Institute program at their schools. For the past 7 years I've had the pleasure of supporting the work of the dedicated team of teachers and board members who give from their hearts to support an arts dance experience these children would never have if not for CDI's commitment and passion for dance and it's immeasurable benefit to children. It deserves a place on the list of Great Nonprofits!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Terrific inspiring program that truly benefits kids in so many ways - especially self-esteem - through dance.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have seen the work done with the children for the past 7 years and I am always impressed and delighted by the joy on the faces of the children as they perform. Mind and body are in gear when CDI works with kids and I wish all of the children in LA could have the benefit of these classes. Many people do not realize that kids benefit when they learn kid-friendly dance moves, work in a group, find that they can do something that they never thought they could do, and finally become more confident as a result of the amazing strategies used by the teaching staff. Kudos to CDI!

Client Served

Rating: 5

CDI was a wonderful experience for my children. Not only did they learn how to dance, but also about music and composers from around the world. CDI has given my children self-confidence and the joy of a challenge met. They both enjoyed it immensely!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Both of my sons - two very different personalities - took dance classes with CDI - starting in 4th grade at their school, Eagle Rock Elementary, and continuing with after school instruction with the advanced CEL and SWAT troupes through 5th and 7th grades respectively. As a volunteer chaperone at the culminating public performance at the end of the school year, I saw have a broad range of students delighted in having mastered difficult group dance routines. Students who tended toward the more sedentary academic end of the spectrum (my younger son) or the socially outgoing athletic side (my older son) joined in mastering the discipline required to successfully participate in a professional level dance performance. They reveled in the accomplishment. They revised their personal conception of what they thought they were capable of achieving. And all of this success was not accidental, It was patiently brought about by the high expectations and the consistently high level professional dance instruction of all the CDI staffers - respectful and never condescending.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Dance teachers are awesome and professionals, with class and style. My child enjoyed her years with CDI, gained friends and had fun experiences. Looking forward for my second child to join this year.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I support CDI every year. The organization brings amazing dance opportunities to a diverse population of children throughout the Los Angeles area. CDI teaching emphasizes creative choreography, collaborative movement and a high level of fun.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a student and I was in CDI for 4 years and I loved working with the teachers, who were always very kind and considerate.

Donor

Rating: 5

CDI, propelled by volunteer Board and parents, is doing a fantastic job in the LA area schools. Students are ALL involved - entire classes - and all come to love the movement and discipline involved in cooperation and in the conquering of routines. It promotes self-confidence and levels all kinds of playing - and dancing - fields. Their end of the year performances bring hundreds of children together in a roaring high of personal accomplishment and delight.
Pat Oliansky

Board Member

Rating: 5

California Dance institute (CDI) should be available to ALL kids in elementary schools. Period. The kids learn so much. They learn about exercise and good health. They learn about nutrition. They learn about discipline. And they gain self-esteem. I love to watch the kids dance and perform and to see the joy on their faces. This program has benefits long after the class ends. I have been on the board since 2010. I love being a part of this amazing organization.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am the board president of CDI so you know my experience is going to be positive. I have many, many interactions with CDI but I will only talk about one. At the end of the school year in Monrovia CDI did its end of the year show. The show was outstanding. Take a look at the video clip of the Spanish Dance from that show. It's hard to believe these are primary school students. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv4mvNvdq64&feature=youtu.be. And while these children are dancing their hearts out science says they are also developing their minds.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a 4th grade teacher at a public school in Northeast Los Angeles. The California Dance Institute has been a key part of our school's arts curriculum for about 15 years. I've had the good fortune to work with CDI directly for the last 6 years.

First and foremost, CDI is an incredible performing arts program! It is also so much more. It builds character and self-esteem, develops creativity and imagination, and gives students exposure to multiple genres of music and dance. It is, also, a weekly, rigorous physical workout.

Throughout the instructional year, culminating in the spring with an immense stage production , all of the students who participate have the experience of putting together a professional quality theatrical production. It is a truly unique program.

Because the entire 4th grade has this experience every year, it has become a tradition that students (and their families) look forward to, and one they will all remember for the rest of their lives.