Moving in the Spirit

Moving in the Spirit is a nationally-recognized youth development program that uses the art of dance to positively transform the lives of children and teens in Atlanta, Georgia. Through programs that integrate high-quality dance instruction with performance, leadership, and mentor opportunities, Moving in the Spirit impacts over 200 children and teens annually, encouraging them to overcome the obstacles they face each day and realize their highest potential. Students graduate from Moving in the Spirit with confidence in themselves as artists and leaders, poised to succeed beyond the stage and make a difference in their own communities. Ultimately, Moving in the Spirit educates, inspires, and unites young people through dance, propelling them to become successful and compassionate leaders. The company shares their work through performances and workshops available throughout the Metro Atlanta region.

Contact:

Arts Disciplines: Dance, Creative Youth Development

Core Content Curriculum Areas: Dance, Creative Youth Development

Specialized Content Areas: Anti-bullying, Character Education

Grade Levels: Pre-K, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Special Populations: At-risk Students

Geographic Availability: Metro Atlanta

Program Fees:

  • Performance: $1,000
  • Workshops: $500

Artistic Profile:

Moving in the Spirit is a nationally-recognized youth development program that uses the art of dance to positively transform the lives of children and teens in Atlanta, Georgia. Through programs that integrate high-quality dance instruction with performance, leadership, and mentor opportunities, Moving in the Spirit impacts over 200 children and teens annually, encouraging them to overcome the obstacles they face each day and realize their highest potential. Students graduate from Moving in the Spirit with confidence in themselves as artists and leaders, poised to succeed beyond the stage and make a difference in their own communities. Ultimately, Moving in the Spirit educates, inspires, and unites young people through dance, propelling them to become successful and compassionate leaders.

Teaching Experience:

Moving in the Spirit began in 1986 as the hopeful vision of Dana Lupton and Leah Mann, who believed they could unite their love for dance with their commitment to social justice. What began as a dance class for a small group of girls at Stewart Avenue Shelter has now blossomed into a large and diverse organization that reaches over 200 children every week across Atlanta.

Highlights from our history include:

  • 1996 – Initially founded as an agency of FCS Urban Ministries, Moving in the Spirit became a separate nonprofit in 1996 and moved into its home theater, The Beam.
  • 2005 – Moving in the Spirit received a national Youth Program Award, presented by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Our dancers performed at the White House awards ceremony for First Lady Laura Bush, and were invited to return several months later to perform for President Bush and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
  • 2010 – Community demand for Moving in the Spirit reached a historic peak. Faced with waiting lists, Moving in the Spirit completed construction of a new stage in an unfinished warehouse adjacent to our facility. We named this new, vibrant space “The MAC” after Mac Monroe, an early advocate for racial equality and social justice in Atlanta.
  • 2011 – The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta honored Moving in the Spirit with the prestigious Managing for Excellence Award, citing our fiscal responsibility, community impact, and measurable results.
  • 2013 – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal presented Moving in the Spirit with a 2013 Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities, lauding our impact on Georgia’s cultural and civic vitality.

Today, we are proud to share that many alumni have returned to Moving in the Spirit as teaching artists, donors, mentors, and now parents with their own children in our programs. Realizing they can have even greater impact on the organization working collectively, they formed an official Alumni Committee in 2011. We look forward to collaborating with our alumni as we continue our vital work with Atlanta’s young people and realize our strategic plan for the future, Vision 2020.

Sample Programs: 

  • My voice—a workshop on diversity and inclusion: Diversity and inclusion are values that students hear about all the time, but we often fail to provide the character development training students need to develop empathy. Following the Positive Youth Development model, this workshop will provide educators with a framework for cultivating understanding through creativity. The workshop’s curriculum will use current news headlines to create issue-based choreography. This workshop combines social studies (analysis of current events) with language arts (creative writing) and the performing arts (creative movement) to create a comprehensive framework for uniting different perspectives and modeling positive behaviors. After an initial group check-in, workshop participants will write a creative journal entry about the ways in which a current event/issue affects them personally. Participants will identify five action verbs in their writing related to the emotional struggle and five descriptive adjectives of personal qualities. Participants will then assign a corresponding movement gesture for each verb and adjective, and combine these gestures into a short sequence. After performing their gesture sequences in small groups, the entire group will come together to dialogue about the emotions they understood and connected with as they witnessed each other’s creative movement. During the dialogue, instructors will prompt analysis of the Creative Youth Development modeled behaviors – whether the dancer approached her challenges assertively (the positive behavior), aggressively, passively, or passive aggressively (negative behaviors). The goal of the workshop is for participants to understand how creative processes help them better identify, communicate, and understand their perspective of the world around them.
    • Primary Art Form: Dance
    • Grade Level: High School
    • Student Teacher Ratio: 2 teachers to 18 students
    • Workshop Length: 2 hours
    • Fee Structure: $500 per workshop, open for negotiations

Sample Lesson Plans/Study Guides: