Luke Mitchelson is a marketing intern at Danceworks for the summer. He will be entering his fourth year at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this coming Fall. He plans to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. In his free time he enjoys volunteering with several organizations including leading a weekly student-led event at a local nursing/retirement home with UW-Whitewater’s long running Nursing Home Program.
I wondered what it was like to be thrown into Danceworks during one of our busiest times of year. With all the assessing we do of our programs, I thought it might be fun to get a “Pre” and “Post” assessment of what it’s like to work at Danceworks… So, here goes the “Pre Assessment”. –Deb Farris
A bright summer morning at the BMO Harris Bradley Center was where I began my exploration of the non-profit that is Danceworks. This May I began my internship at Danceworks, starting with volunteering at the Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap (MHBT) Competition. Although I had heard of Danceworks prior to the event, I hoped to gain a framework of understanding of what Danceworks embodied. At the MHBT event I wasn’t prepared for the masses of youth who were filled to the brim with excitement and happiness to not only represent their schools and families, but most importantly, themselves.
As the day progressed I began interacting with parents, teachers and students, all who were eager for the competition to begin. The competition was the introduction of Danceworks for me. As I began my internship, I was unsure of what to expect. Since then, I have realized how important Danceworks’ mission is to the growth and development of youth.
At the MHBT Competition on May 18, I saw how much this event means for the student participants. It was just as rewarding from a volunteer newbie’s standpoint; their enthusiasm was in the air throughout the event! From just my experience at the Competition, I learned that the kids really see it as a way to not only express themselves but, moreover, to have fun. This annual Competition is a way for them to have a school related event where they can have fun with their friends and perform in an arena where they likely have seen their professional sports or music idols perform.
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
― Martha Graham
My first impressions of Danceworks:
Community: From the Competition alone, I have seen that Danceworks brings people together. People from various parts of the Milwaukee area come to cheer on their children, all the while getting to know other parents with a similar goal—to see their children have fun.
Increased Emphasis on the Arts: From just these past few weeks I have seen firsthand how hard @danceworksmke strives to create classes, events and activities to increase exposure to the arts—in particular, dance. In recent years we have seen a decrease in arts education within schools because of major budgetary cut-backs. After the MHBT Competition I have seen that these students have a source to use their creativity and release stress from their everyday lives with their participation in Danceworks.
Growth: Through events such as the MHBT Competition, many kids participating displayed obvious joy in their dancing. Dance is a key way for an individual to express him/herself. Like other forms of art, dance is a language of the soul. Dance allows an individual to interpret emotion into a physically seen expression. Through their dance classes these kids can discover more about who they are, and more importantly, who they want to become.