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Let’s Dance: Inclusive Arts Education Programming Across Demographic and Geographic Boundaries
Conference Presentation: Kaleidoscope Conference, University of Cambridge (June 2017)

In 2016, Let’s Dance was launched with collaborators in four European countries (Scotland, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands). The program enabled young adults to participate in cross-cultural exchanges, as they traveled to each other’s host institutes and developed a contemporary dance piece about migration. Using improvisational and stimulus-based movement exercises, students worked with group leaders to reflect on questions like “what’s special about your hometown?” and “what would you bring with you if you were forced to leave?” and translate their written/verbal responses into choreography. Many of the troupes involved in Let’s Dance were inclusive ensembles, serving both pre-professional and amateur dancers, as well as dancers with physical and/or mental disabilities.

Working across demographic boundaries has long been regarded as “one of the most important tools available for improving the academic, and life chances, of students” (Kahlenberg 2012). Yet, while countries like the United States are increasingly becoming “majority-minority” nations, many schools remain segregated. This study uses Let’s Dance to examine how demographic boundaries (geographic, racial/ethnic, linguistic, socioeconomic, [dis]ability, etc.) can be successfully crossed in extracurricular programming, in accordance with Allport’s four criteria for successful intergroup contact. Based on semi-structured interviews of Let’s Dance participants, as well as program staff, this study provides methods for effective program creation and implementation.

Lift the Stage Lamp Beside the Golden Door: Dismantling Racial and Cultural Barriers Through Theater
Research Project

Inquiry project for the 2016-2017 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program. I'll be spending six months in residence at the University of Glasgow and conducting research at London's national youth theatres. The purpose of the project is to observe how national and local youth theatres in the UK enable diverse companies of young artists to build productive communities, share divergent perspectives, and craft a new national identity for the 21st century. The project will result in an online toolkit that explores how teachers can integrate techniques learned from the UK's national youth theatres into their classrooms.

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