My affiliation with Dance Innovations Performance Foundation (DIPF) began as a foundation dancer and now includes my participation on the DIPF Board. A major mission of the Foundation is dance (and the arts) community outreach. “Dancing thru the Ages” is an educational, interactive assembly which teaches students the evolution of dance in America and relates it to historical events and timelines that are being taught in school. Children are very receptive to the performances and enjoy the interactive nature of the presentations. In addition DIPF awards performing and visual arts scholarships to students who, because of special needs or special circumstances, would not be able to attend the program(s) of their choice. These scholarships have included instruction in dance, instrumental music, voice, acting, and visual arts, as well as provide supplemental funding such as dancewear/shoes, books, and/or college tuition. Perhaps the most rewarding event of the year is the scholarship awards banquet during which a number of the scholarship recipients perform and receive their awards. It is gratifying to see the sense of pride and accomplishment these students exhibit, feelings they most likely do not have the opportunity to experience frequently in their daily lives. DIPF outreach has evolved to include sponsorship tickets to handicapped students and a family member to attend DIPF sponsored performances such as “The Nutcracker.” Although these students cannot show their joy and appreciation in a traditional sense, it is easy to witness the excitement which spreads throughout their bodies. It is evident how profoundly dance can reach the human soul. It is a privilege to be a member of the DIPF Board and a foundation dancer. My experience has far exceeded my expectations.
Dance Innovations Performance Foundation supports the community in a way that no other non-profit organization in the area does. It encourages special needs students to participate in the classroom, raises money and awareness for children with special needs and circumstances in the arts and gives their passion and gift of dance to community organizations such as Matheny Medical and Educational Center, area nursing homes and Dancers Responding to AIDS. I am a proud board member and teacher of special needs dancers. They are a gift to me in the classroom.