Friday, May 16, 2014

Chester Charter for the Arts Dances for Dollars

Chester students ask, “Why walk when you can dance?”
Dance Majors at Chester Charter School for the Arts organize fundraiser in support of dance education in city schools.

Students at Chester Charter School for the Arts (CCSA), a K-7 non-profit public charter school serving children from Pennsylvania’s poorest school district, announce a new fundraiser, “Why Walk When You can Dance?” benefitting dance education in urban schools. On Friday, May 23, 2014, 6th and 7th grade Dance Majors at CCSA will host the school’s 1st Annual Dance-A-Thon from 4:00 -5:30 pm in CCSA’s parking lot. CCSA’s address is 200 Commerce Drive, Aston, PA 19014.  

In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of an arts education, 6th and 7th grade students at CCSA are transforming their school’s parking lot into an interactive dance extravaganza with music, games, snacks and much more. “The cost to participate is $5.00, but don’t worry if you can’t pay,” says CCSA 7th grader Sierra Le’Bue, “because we are finding sponsors so that every student at CCSA can dance with us!”

The students hope to raise $1,000 notes Kaniah Browne, a 6th grader at the innovative Chester arts school. Proceeds from the event will be split between CCSA and another school to be chosen at a later date. Kaniah adds, “All money raised will be used to support free dance workshops, books, field trips, teacher materials, and dance shoes and costumes.”

Chester Charter School for the Arts is the only school in the Chester Upland School District to offer students full-time dance instruction. At CCSA, students learn the fundamentals of ballroom dancing, ballet, cumbia, salsa, merengue, and modern and African dance. As they enter middle school, students choose an arts major and can dedicate more time to their chosen discipline. In addition to dance, CCSA students study drama, visual arts, and music.

Dance instructor Erica Brown is thrilled that CCSA students are using dance as a tool for social change. “The fundraiser was entirely spearheaded by our 6th and 7th grade students. This year, 6th and 7th grade explored the core elements of dance, space, time, energy, and body, while building their dance vocabulary and creating original choreographed pieces. The more time we spent dancing together, the more invested they became in their dance education. A few months ago, I shared with my students a news story about the decline in funding for arts programming in schools. This really troubled them and became the inspiration for the fundraiser.”

Ms. Brown adds, “My students began to ask questions such as, ‘how do students gain access to dance instruction?’ In response, we conducted further research on the state of arts education in urban schools. The children clearly felt a large stake in sustaining dance education at CCSA and ensuring its place in other schools as well.”

Dance programming at Chester Charter School for the Arts is made possible by the Barra Foundation and supporting sponsor, The Links of Delaware Valley, in addition to private donations to The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, a non-profit organization that founded CCSA in 2012 and now serves as the school’s primary fundraising and advocacy arm.

For more information on Chester Charter School for the Arts and The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, please contact Hillary Sorin at (610) 859-2988.

The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts: The mission of The Chester Fund for is to provide children in Chester with a world-class education:  one that combines academic rigor with artistic creativity; encourages personal responsibility; and addresses the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of each child.

Chester Charter School for the Arts: The Chester Charter School for the Arts prepares children to employ their intellectual and creative powers to enrich their community.

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