HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR                                                  
Winter 2016 Newsletter

Dear Luna friends and supporters,

Recently, I facilitated the first collaborative meeting with classroom teachers at a new partner school. We introduced ourselves in a circle, each person sharing initial impressions and goals for the program. As it came to the final person seated to my left, she introduced herself as Amy, teaching first grade. She then asked, "do you remember me? You were my Luna dance teacher when I was eight years old!" Thus was sparked the theme of this year's newsletter: Friends Old & New.

As Luna turns 24 this year, we have already started planning our milestone quarter-century birthday celebrations slated for March 2017. The anniversary committee is comprised of three of the original advisory board members who were there supporting the vision way back in 1991 before our doors opened. Today, our board of directors consists of ten strong, intelligent, dedicated professionals who are moving Luna into the next phase of our evolution. Our two newest board members also have history with us. Barbara Bernardo danced with Patricia in the early 1980's and Denise Watkins Oldham is a former parent in the program and the sister of founding board member, Therese Watkins McMillan.   What goes around comes around in the most delightful ways!

Patricia Reedy, Director of Teaching & Learning

In This Issue
Upcoming Luna Events

Saturday, February 27th
1-3pm Community dialogue on dance-making & teaching 

Saturday, March 5th

Thursday, April 21st
Free open studio event!

Monday, April 25th 
6:30-8pm all levels welcome. Free

Thursday, April 28th
7-9pm. Free
Thursday, June 2nd

Visit lunadanceinstitute.org for more information.

Choreography Connection

One of Luna's core values is honoring the choreographer in each child, and celebrating the work of adult choreographers along the way. Programming in our original studio, on Park Boulevard in Oakland, included semi-annual showcases of local, emergent choreographers including Luna's co-directors Nancy Ng and Patricia Reedy. We housed a teen performing group and provided ongoing opportunities for child choreographers to share the stage with the likes of local professionals.
In our new form, the commitment to this connection is equally important- it just looks different. We are entering our fifth year of 20 Points of View, a daylong sequence of presentations by 20 choreographers in 30 minute intervals over ten hours. We have hosted five CHOREOFUND events, the grassroots funding event wherein our local community gets to understand more about what makes dance-makers tick. This year, our biennial Dance Education Forum explores the relationship between a teaching artist's identity as an artist and identity as an educator- where there is overlap, where there is mutually beneficial inquiry. Moving into the future, we are seeking funds to launch our first artist residency program. While still in incubation, we see an opportunity for local artists to engage in a longer relationship with Luna, generating soon-to-be-imagined opportunities for children, families, schools and the Berkeley/greater Bay Area communities. 

Next Generation  

This year brought two new babies into the Luna community. Deborah Karp gave birth to Ira Oren Castrenze (below) on September 22, 2015, and Aero Taho ma Pereña Quakenbush was born on December 2nd to Jochelle. As an organization that serves children 0-17 (and their parents and teachers), the inspiring presence of these babies, who drop in while we work, brings new meaning. We also welcome new staff this year. Nia Womack Freeman and Amelia Uzategui Bonilla joined us in August and hit the ground running. We've known Nia for years as a SI participant and international dance education leader. So, we asked Amelia to talk about her first few months with us:
At Luna, I feel the support of seven other colleagues with incredibly developed juggling skills. I admire each of them, appreciating that our common goal, to serve all children, leads us to safe and honest discussions regarding equity, teaching challenges and celebrations, and social media marketing tips. This grounded group takes their words into action every day, in every e-mail, tweet, panel discussion, and dance class. 
Luna is a metaphorical home where I can practice, where each conversation can be a work of art and each class infused with opportunities to "discover" something new about the art of dance. My days are enriched by witnessing the physical risk-taking of an entire class of 4th grade dancers as I see swinging, leaping, and turning in the air followed by swirling back to earth. I hear a 1st grade dancer correct his classroom teacher and advocate for the correct Spanish pronunciation of my name, Amelia, as I giggle and wonder, wow, this child is so daring and confident! 
The community surrounding Luna is just as inspiring. At the September Launch, I was on-the-job, mingling with Professional Learning alumni who currently realize dance programs in various local public schools. These schools no longer need Luna's direct presence, because through the advocacy and expertise of their dance teaching artist, their students receive dance every week.  I listened to these (mostly) women tell me stories of their experiences training with Luna in the 90's and their continuing relationship now as mentees of the Dance Education Leadership program and stood in awe. 

About Luna
As we near our 24th birthday, we reflect with appreciation on how your donations to Luna have helped bring dance to more than 1/4 million children and families who otherwise would not have access to the arts.

To learn more about Luna Dance Institute please visit lunadanceinstitute.org
Please fan us on facebook or follow us on twitter to stay in touch!

Thank you to our generous donors

Luna Dance Institute
605 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94710

Remembering the Old & Welcoming the New: A Recap of MPACT
by Cherie Hill

Founded in 2001, this year marks a pivotal point in MPACT's (Moving Parents and Children Together) history. In October we excitedly announced that after a two-year lapse, Luna regained a considerable grant from First 5 of Alameda County. While we retained the bones of this vital program, the return of this important funding enables us to run the program as it was intended- rising to meet the emerging needs of families in the process of reunification.
The purpose of MPACT became clear when board member Chantal Sampogna posed a question. She wondered if family dance could help her clients who had been separated from their children due to court mandates. Through MPACT, Luna investigated her inquiry, forming a partnership with the Solid Foundation founded by the late Minnie Thomas. This recovery center provided three houses for women who were in the process of rehabilitation and a Women's community center. Luna's partnership with the Solid Foundation grew over many years, and MPACT expanded to incorporate other associations, such as the East Bay Community Recovery Service's Project Pride.
In 2013 MPACT was affected by two critical moments: the closing of the Solid Foundation and the loss of funding from First 5.  For 12 years, Luna teaching artists researched and practiced the best dance curricular approaches for adults to strengthen their bonds, and ease into reunification, with their children. The faculty was saddened by the Solid Foundation's termination, and the loss of such an esteemed relationship. Often Nancy, Luna's Director of Community Engagement, will recall her first meeting with Thomas, and how she made her promise that Luna would not be a "do gooder" organization, abandoning them after a short period of time. Luna accomplished this promise, and thanks to this year's First 5 grant, will embark on a new long-term partnership with the Magnolia Women's Recovery Program.
While driving to meet with Magnolia's clinical director a few weeks ago, I experienced déjà vu. This familiarity was confirmed when I rang the doorbell of the same exact building I had taught MPACT in four years prior. The house that now belongs to Magnolia is the same one previously used by the Solid Foundation. While sitting in the waiting room, I felt in awe of the realization that the dance that happened within the Solid Foundation's walls was going to happen again. I felt grateful to enter the same room that held joy, giggles, and body connections, this time under the wings of a new institution. Like old and new friends, I could sense the merging of our past with the present.
Thanks to the First 5 grant and our generous funders such as Banks Family Foundation and Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation, MPACT will offer Embodied Parent Education and parent-child classes for women and children at Magnolia Women's Recovery Program, Project Pride, the 81st Avenue and Cesar Chavez libraries and two sessions with our new community partner, the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland. Our hope is that these classes will sustain and branch out to more families in duress looking to reconnect with their children. 

Karen Banks - Still making a difference

The Banks Family Foundation (TBFF) has provided support to Luna since 2004; specifically, grants to MPACT have allowed us to serve whole families by funding siblings five years old and above. It is fitting that TBFF funds our family dance program because the foundation is collaboratively run by the entire Banks family, spearheaded by Karen Banks.
The relationship between Karen and Luna is a natural affinity. She had danced as a child and was a tap dancer when she first came to Luna's Park Blvd, Oakland studio to take Patricia's stretch class in 1996. Twice each week, Karen took stretch classes learning to fold, execute a downward-facing dog pose, align her bones by hanging forward, do the Brain Dance, and explore Laban Movement Analysis. She loved the sagittal plane, both the word "sagittal" and the position in space. Karen was one of a small group of dedicated Oakland mothers (the Stretch Ladies) who sustained each other, Patricia, and Luna for decades through life's ebbs and flows.
Karen spent formative years in Lubbock, Texas in a time where children could head out the door in the morning, ride bikes all around, and play with neighborhood friends. She took ballet and jazz dance classes in middle and high school and found recitals to be exciting times. In the 1950's and 60's girls did not have many career options and role models beyond being a secretary, teacher, nurse or working in the five and dime store. She secretly wanted to be a beautiful female dancer on the television variety shows. Inspired by her seventh grade Spanish teacher she went on to graduate from Colorado College in 1969 with a degree in Spanish. At her father's suggestion she applied to the Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management where she was one of ten women in the program. 
The Thunderbird catalogue stated that upon graduation a certain percentage of the female students were placed in jobs and others married male students. Karen did both, landing a job in international banking in San Francisco and marrying fellow classmate Jeff, who with her children, Abbey and Peter, manage TBFF.
Volunteerism has always been an integral part of family life since she was a child-helping her grandmother sort clothes at the Visiting Nurses Thrift Store, watching her mother lead the Girl Scout troop, and as a member of the church youth group led by her father.  When her children started school, Karen volunteered in many community organizations, including Children's Hospital Oakland (CHO) for 21 years. One of the most impactful memories Patricia has of meeting Karen was how dedicated she was to her regular schedule at CHO. She was loyal to her time slot holding babies in the ICU and nothing would interfere.
In 1998, Karen and her husband established TBFF to fund after school programs for youth in Oakland. Having raised a family there, they wanted to support programming for Oakland's youth who might not have opportunities to participate in after school programs. In 2000, the Banks Family Foundation backed early childhood programs, including Luna's MPACT program.
Karen's current volunteer activities are centered on overseeing TBFF and activities related to her four young granddaughters. She continues to maintain body awareness, strength, flexibility and balance through yoga practice, tai chi, walking, and gardening.  Karen's wish: "I hope that my children and grandchildren will learn the importance and experience the joy that volunteering and helping others can bring them. And I hope that all children in Oakland have the opportunity to participate in art, music, dance, athletic or educational programs that provide them with inspiration to stay in school and to become good citizens."
Where are they now? Catching up with Summer Institute participants of 15 years 

One of the challenges of our field, dance education, is momentum building. Without a teaching credential in dance and teaching a subject that few understand, dance teaching artists do their work under trying circumstances. Inadequate space, lack of collegiality, feeling undervalued, and job insecurity are just a few of the problems that dance educators face on a regular basis. One of the goals of Luna's Professional Learning department is to provide collegiality, improve teaching practice, increase teacher confidence, and support teachers to stay in, and improve the field. Our Summer Institute (SI) is the place where have the best opportunity to do so. Funded over the years by the National Endowment for the Arts, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Clif Bar Family Foundation, Clarence E. Heller Foundation, and Louis Borick Foundation, SI has been able to grow to its current iteration of seven full days of learning in July of each year with follow-up activities and support spanning the academic year. Over 180 dance artist educators, classroom teachers and other practitioners have participated 2001-2015. This year, they were surveyed to assess the extent of influence SI has had on their careers.
We succeeded in obtaining 155 correct email addresses and sent a link to an anonymous survey to each of them. Eighty-nine people responded, spread across the 15 years. This was enough to test for statistical significance on a number of variables. We learned that 83% are still teaching dance and of those not, 11% have taken leadership positions in Arts Education, plan to return after taking time out to raise children, or have retired. All report that they continue to use what they learned at SI and confidence and job satisfaction remain high. In addition to collecting data on 27 items, participants offered qualitative responses as well, such as "SI helped me view dance from a different perspective, and grow more in the educational field." Over the next 12 months, we will continue to analyze this data and share our results in several ways--conferences, articles, and with the participants themselves. We also are excited about reconnecting with the SI alumnae and finding ways to serve their needs at this more advanced stage of their careers.