Amazing Grace is a four to twelve lesson performance curriculum designed to harness life force, tapping the language of music and movement to bring to life the pain, the pride, the power of the Civil Rights Movement for children too young to remember this sweeping era of cultural change and American history.
Amazing Grace comprises formal dance instruction as well as classroom instruction in history, music and sociology. Over the course of the program, students will be exposed to a variety of dance and music genres, including ballet, jazz, liturgical praise dance and swing, with an emphasis placed on creating an original performance that effectively express the feeling of the era. Our classroom study will focus on the history of the Civil Rights Movement, particularly in the South between the years of 1954 and 1966, when the struggle to abolish racial discrimination was at its peak. A key component of our instruction will be regular screenings of documentaries about dance and the Civil Rights Movement. Participants will also be assigned reading material to supplement their learning in the classroom.
Amazing Grace is designed specifically to inspire our children to learn about themselves, their history, and the events that have led us to where we are as a people and, then, to use that knowledge to reexamine our current cultural climate.
The programs founders took their first step toward achieving this goal throughout Texas, working with the director of the St. Anthony School and Community Center to create the pilot program that serves as the proving ground and foundation for our comprehensive curriculum. From humble beginnings in the St. Anthony Community Center gymnasium, 50 South Dallas children were introduced to the artistry of dance, the pain and sacrifice of the struggle, and the eventual triumph that came as a result of the Civil Rights Movement.
Children who participate in this program grow to become empowered with the knowledge that they are proud standard-bearers of the people who have gone before them and that their gifts are numerous, and they are innately endowed. Our hope as parents, as teachers, and as partners in your childs education is to instill the pride for the past and in the present.
The lasting impact of Amazing Grace isnt limited to education and artistry. The curriculum also affords students a unique opportunity to develop body strength, agility, coordination and stamina. Through regular practice and an emphasis on working with other members of the program and resulting production, it also gives participating children an opportunity to strengthen self-discipline skills and improve team work. Other specific benefits to the program are listed below.
- Fostering respect for their own and other cultures
- Increased awareness about health, nutrition and exercise
- A powerful tool to help in our nations ongoing struggle with childhood obesity
- A supplement for limited, in-school physical education programs
- A regular form of strenuous exercise
Amazing Grace is a performance-based, K-12 educational curriculum developed by Vann Gilbert, Founder and Artistic Director of Dallas-based Mahogany Dance Theatre of Texas. The program is the latest - and most powerful - example of the companys commitment to using the arts to educate young audiences about African-American history and culture.
"For more than 30 years, the nonprofit Mahogany Dance Theatre of Texas and its dancers have served our local communities as cultural storytellers, making the African-American experience accessible to all," Dr. Gilbert explains. "With Amazing Grace, we use the language of movement and music - dance and soul-stirring spirituals - to help our children explore the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement."
Amazing Grace uses the fundamentals of ballet and modern and rhythmic dance, teaching elementary and secondary students about the Civil Rights Movement by placing them within the backdrop of the soul-stirring spirituals and gospel music that fueled and energized the people of that day and struggle.
Moving beyond the world of dance, the program is supplemented by the screening of professionally prepared documentaries about the Movement. This visual history is designed to give children a firsthand look at the racial injustice that drove the determination, the unity, and the triumph that led to the freedom of a people. In early 2008, more than 50 children from St. Anthony Community Center in South Dallas completed the semester-long curriculum, which culminated with the debut of the original work dance work Amazing Grace. Generously supported and funded by local philanthropists, the work was performed in April 2008 in front of an appreciative, 400-strong audience at Dallas' Life in Deep Ellum performance and cultural arts center.
Comfort Brown, executive director of St. Anthony Community Center, strongly believes that being a part of Amazing Grace has helped the center's children take ownership of their history. "Watching them dance, you feel in your soul that you're watching them connect with previous generations, creating a respectful dialogue about the past."
How to bring Amazing Grace to your campus
After being featured on CW33 and Good Morning Texas with coverage of the pilot progam launch, Mahogany Dance Theatre of Texas has been inundated with the question, "How can I bring Amazing Grace to my school?"
To bring Amazing Grace to your campus, It's as simple as a quick call to us at (214) 214-484-7067 or sending an email to email@example.com to make an appointment.
At your appointment, we will discuss your needs. We'll also help you develop a plan to recruit students for the training and provide more information on the logistics of holding a camp.
Mahogany Dance Theatre is a non profit 501 c 3 organization and qualifies for title 1 funding as well as Arts in Education funding. We are committed to providing our program and will work with you to make it happen.
Other people have asked "Who will be teaching ballroom dancing to our kids?" Our program features company members who are talented and qualified dance instructors. All are taught the program syllabus and are comfortable and familiar with working with children of all ages.
Our educational dance programs are uniquely designed to meet the needs of each school or district. Together we can work to bring Amazing Grace to your campus soon!
- Select the number of sessions. (4-12 weeks)
- Select a start date.
- Schedule session days and time.
- Sign and complete a contract.
- Begin publicity and recruitment campaign.
- Hold auditions/information sessions.
- Begin sessions.
- Publicize & host performance.
Never underestimate the power of the arts – especially dance! Mahogany Dance Theatre of Texas, through its 2010 Amazing Gracesm Summer Showcase, uses this art form to not only teach discipline through the art of dance, but also illustrate pivotal moments in American History, with emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement.
Launched in 2008, as part of the Amazing Grace Urban-Arts-Initiative in partnership with St. Anthony Community Center in South Dallas, Amazing Gracesm, is designed to keep young people active, engaged and inspired throughout the year. This summer alone, we're pleased to announce that we will reach more than 1,000 youths through a series of summer-camp/dance programs that will take place at sites throughout the Dallas area.
This year's Amazing Gracesm Summer Showcase culminates with a historic performance on Friday, Aug. 6, 2010 at the Music Hall at Fair Park, featuring youth dancers representing our various summer camp sites.
The performance not only will feature students from multiple camp locations, but will reach an audience of youths – many of whom may be attending an event at the Music Hall at Fair Park for the first time. And you can help make that happen!
YOU CAN SEND A KID TO THE THEATRE!
- You may purchase a ticket for one young person or a small group of youths to attend the Aug. 6, 2010, Amazing Grace performance at the Music Hall at Fair Park. NOTE: Even being a part of an audience can help transform a young person's perspective on the arts.
Your support helps ensure that many deserving young people from underserved communities have the opportunity to enjoy the performing arts.TO PURCHASE AN AMAZING GRACE TICKET FOR ONE OR MORE YOUTHS, PLEASE CLICK THE BUY BUTTON BELOW!