December 2, 2014 by Nicole
On this national day of giving, would you please consider donating $20 or more to help The Center for Contemporary Dance reach their $25,000 year-end goal?
Your support helps CCD create an extraordinary future for dance in Central Florida through our professional development programs and outstanding education opportunities for young people of all backgrounds.
Want proof? Here are 5 stories that illustrate how your help changes lives.
According to his aunt, Reverend Sonia Sullivan Clifton, thirteen-year-old Jordan leaves his weekly dance class beaming. Through dance, Jordan’s self-esteem has grown, his motor skills have improved, and his relationships have deepened. By this description, Jordan’s story is much like the stories of many other students at The Center for Contemporary Dance; however, this is where the similarity ends. Born with Global Developmental Delay, Jordan was abandoned by his birth mother on Valentine’s Day in 2003. Though his life didn’t start off easy, later that same year he was fortunate enough to meet his adoptive mother Jeannie Holman, and they have been a family ever since. Holman explains that Jordan faces physical, social, and emotional challenges; but attendance in his weekly dance class, designed to meet the needs of students like Jordan, has made a powerful difference. His aunt says, “For Jordan, dance is a life-changing gift.” Support classes for students with special needs.
By providing emerging contemporary dance artists with rehearsal space, performance opportunities and business mentoring, the Residency Program at The Center for Contemporary Dance is responsible for the evolution of contemporary dance in Central Florida. One alumna of the Program, Jessica Mariko, is the Founder and Creative Director of DRIP. “They believed in our dreams and helped us live them,” says Mariko. Since their time in the Residency Program, Mariko’s DRIP has produced hundreds of performances and events, and is now independently housed in a 5100 square foot live art and music venue on International Drive. Mariko says, “The Center for Contemporary Dance is a great starting point for artistic directors finding their voice. The Residency Program is essential to cultivating creativity and artists in the region. It facilitates the creative process and gives artists the support they need to take their business to the next level.” Support the Residency Program and its emerging artists.
Four-year-old Anaya* came to The Center for Contemporary Dance because her foster mother knew she needed to join her foster siblings for dance class. An introverted, nearly non-verbal child, Anaya came from a broken home and knew of few ways to express herself other than screaming. As with her foster siblings, dance became an important part of her development, giving her new skills in self-expression and providing a gateway to discovering that her voice mattered. Says her foster mother, “The staff had such patience with Anaya. One day, she walked out of dance class. She was hungry and she came to find me–this was the first time she took care of herself without screaming. While this may seem small, it was a huge thing in her world. Dance gave her the platform to express herself and verbalize her feelings and needs.” Today, Anaya fully participates in class and has gained the confidence to participate in a student show. “She constantly dances around the house,” says her foster mother, “all the while, with a smile on her face. I know she feels happy and safe.” Help foster children gain access to dance education.
Just as The Center for Contemporary Dance has cultivated 13 of the area’s modern dance companies, the organization also develops the talents of individual artists, helping them grow from dancers and instructors to new business owners. Jeré James built a 10-year career with The Center for Contemporary Dance, working as a dancer, choreographer and faculty member. Over the course of her years with the organization, Jeré was mentored into leadership roles that included Director of Pre-Professional Studies and Rehearsal Director for Moore Dance Project. Today, Jeré operates a dance school of her own, equipped with the skills, standards and confidence gained at The Center for Contemporary Dance. “A key aspect of our mission,” says Artistic Director Dario J. Moore, “is to develop highly-capable teaching artists who provide our community with outstanding experiences in dance. Jeré’s success is our success, and evidence of mission-fulfillment.” Invest in teacher and leadership development.
Uraiah Khopang isn’t afraid of adversity–in fact, over the course of his 23 years, he’s learned to use it as fuel. For much of his life, he’s been separated from his parents, who work as missionaries in his native Thailand. Uraiah found that dance helped fill the void. After studying dance for just 2 years in his U.S. hometown of Joplin, MO, the area was hit with a devastating tornado that destroyed the town, including the studio where he trained. Still, Uraiah managed to dance. Accepted into the Pre-Professional Program at The Center for Contemporary Dance in 2012, Uraiah relocated to Winter Park to continue his studies. His unique circumstances and talent earned him a full scholarship. Today, Uraiah is a well-trained dancer, sought after by respected companies like Dawn Branch Works, Mary Love Dance Projects and Central Florida Ballet. Says Uraiah,”The Center made me a dancer and a better, stronger person. I hope one day to be able to give back as much as I gained.” Give a pre-professional dancer the chance to soar.
How can you help?
By making a contribution, you will facilitate the achievements of dozens of artists and hundreds of young people in the coming year, including foster care children, at-risk youth and students with special needs. Here are 4 ways to help:
- Call (407) 695-8366 to charge a donation by phone.
- Give $20 or more online now.
- Mail the Contributor’s Form with your donation before the New Year.
- Make a donation in person at The Center for Contemporary Dance.
Thank you for helping us create new possibilities for more artists and young people in 2015. Visit us on Facebook to see the progress of the campaign.