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Danceworks, Inc.
Last night, Danceworks Performing Artist Cyenthia Vijayakumar and her students from Aarambh Kathak Dance School performed at the United Performing Arts Fund - UPAF campaign finale celebration at Next Act Theatre! We are excited to share UPAF’s 2022 Campaign total of $10,782,496 for the #arts! We extend our deepest gratitude to our generous community for the role you played in providing critical funds to a record 47 performing arts organizations, including Danceworks! 💙 #thankyou ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Danceworks, Inc.
K-Pop with Alex Vanissaveth (@_xandervan) is BACK every Saturday at 1:30-2:30pm this Fall! Drop in anytime for $16/class OR check out our class card packages. Register today at dwmke.org/fall22 📣Did you know that NEW students at Danceworks receive their first class #free!? Register online, select “new student”, and your first class is on us! See you in the studio 🤗Teaching Artist: @_xandervan Song: TWICE - Talk That Talk ... See MoreSee Less
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Danceworks Blog

“It was the best day of my life!” –MHBT Student

Posted on by Deborah Wenzler Farris

There are two beautiful bouquets sitting on our conference table. Energy snacks and drinks are in the refrigerator. Family and friends know this is a crazy week at Danceworks as we’re days away from the 7th annual Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap Competition at BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Entering the BMO Harris Bradley Center Bowl Photo credit: Mark Frohna

Entering the BMO Harris Bradley Center Bowl
Photo credit: Mark Frohna

They have sent these gifts to keep us smiling—and we are.

We have a lot of great memories… How about Debbie Payden volunteering to project manage the program our first year?! I honestly don’t know how we would have done it without her. Her church even sent along hams to feed the kids! Her daughter Rachel Payden is now our full-time Outreach Director.

We’re always looking for the perfect formula to give as many students as possible the opportunity to dance at BMO Harris Bradley Center every year. There was the time we let all those not chosen to compete dance in between the rounds of the competitors. These students were having so much fun that they would exit the bowl and run to find anyone they could grab to go out and dance with them again. It didn’t matter what school they were from—all that mattered was that they knew the dance.  When Liz Tesch, our project manager for many years, realized what was happening, she didn’t have the heart to stop them. “That’s what the program is all about,” she exclaimed.  Sheer chaos?  Possibly.  Sheer joy?  Absolutely!  Thank goodness for staff, faculty, volunteers and  community who understand this program is more about breaking down the barriers that divide people than learning perfect dance steps.  That was our longest competition in history.

Watching their team on the Jumbotron

Watching their team on the Jumbotron
Photo credit: Mark Frohna

We’ve made mistakes and learned from them, while many teachers, principals, families and friends who come to watch have supported us and cheered on the students. They understand that Mad Hot offers much more than dance instruction. It’s a beacon of hope for many students and for our community.

The health of urban youth is reaching a critical point. While we don’t claim to solve these challenges, we do offer young people a chance to find joy in movement. When the program ends, many are transformed and seek outlets to continue creative expression and physical activity.  Through our MPS Partnership funding, we are able to provide scholarships to our dance classes, creative arts camps and school day off workshops for students wanting to continue on. Danceworks Youth Performance Company provides an opportunity for serious students to perform.

If you need a little hope yourself, come experience this on May 18th. Let me know if you come. I’d love to say hi. Oops, gotta go—Debbie Payden just dropped off brownies!    —Deb Farris

trophy shot smaller (2)

Winning the trophy but really they are all winners!
Photo credit: Mark Frohna

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About Our Blog

Welcome to the Danceworks blog, where we're hoping to share a little bit more about the heart and soul behind Danceworks… what made us join the dance and keeps us dancing, what keeps us inspired, and where we can share some of the stories worth telling.