Luna partners with organizations throughout the region, state and nation to build capacity for enduring dance programs that support the values of each community.
Social Service Partners
A chance to make and deepen family relationships through dance
MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together) was founded in 2001 to bring Luna’s parent-child dance classes to families in the Alameda County Dependency Court and child welfare systems. Since then, Luna has broadened the definition of reunification beyond court-ordered mandates to include temporary separations due to substance abuse, domestic violence, family illness, immigration, prison sentences, homelessness, or other factors.
Luna offers MPACT through partnerships with local social service agencies such as Project Pride and free family dance classes open to the public at parks, libraries, and our home studio. Parent-child dance classes provide families with a safe, comfortable environment to play and dance together and have proven beneficial in helping parents gain confidence in their ability to interact physically with their children and strengthen the family bond.
Family dance, embodied parent education, and professional development comprise MPACT. First Five Alameda County was an early funder of MPACT and later called on Luna to teach workshops to their network of family and social service providers. We offered extensive educator/community worker family dance training at First Five, Kidango, Lotus Bloom, Asian Women’s Shelter, and the Wooden Floor.
Inquiry-based agency partnerships such as those with Asian Women’s Shelter, Tri-Valley Haven, Lotus Bloom, Alameda County Behavioral Health, and California Arts Council’s Arts in Corrections program have helped us understand the role dance plays in nurturing human relationships in difficult circumstances.
To work effectively within a social justice system requires perseverance, cultural humility, relationship-building skills, and self-reflection. Luna’s Family Dance Institute (FDI) was created as a space to investigate these aspects of our teaching practice. Sending an organizational representative to FDI is a cost-effective way to explore the potential for dance in your setting.
Dance in public school
Luna’s approach to working in public schools began as an alternative to the short-term artist residency model that was prevalent at the time. Before California reinstated the dance teaching credential, Luna formed long-term partnerships to build creative, sequential, standards-based dance programs for all children at a school site. We provided extensive training to the artists who taught model classes with side-by-side collaborative professional development with the classroom teacher.
Over several years, school communities came to expect dance to be part of every child’s holistic education, and the program extended beyond weekly stand-alone classes to include dance integration projects in other subject areas, guest performances and demonstration classes, student performances, family dance, and dance at graduation ceremonies. The goal at public schools K-8 was to build the program and then work with the district to hire a dance teacher to maintain the program indefinitely.
Our successes were seen at New Highland Academy and Grass Valley Elementary. With the California dance credential and the passage of Prop 28, Luna has a different role to play in supporting dance teachers in their new roles in public schools.
School districts and arts organizations
Partnering with school districts and arts organizations such as the San Francisco Ballet Dance in Schools and Community allows Luna to participate in bringing equitable, high-quality dance education to students in public schools around the San Francisco Bay Area. In these partnerships, Luna offers professional development to dance teachers, leadership coaching, pedagogical blueprints of what sequential creative learning can be, evaluation, and planning support. Examples of our partnerships include Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles Unified School Districts; AXIS Dance Company; San Francisco Ballet; and statewide partners such as CREATE CA and CCSESA.
Early Childhood Education
Moving is learning
Luna works with early education (ECE) partners to integrate dance and movement into children’s holistic education. Educators of children ages two through eight learn to incorporate dance throughout their day by creating environments conducive to dance, expanding story and circle time with dance and movement, and extending children’s creativity during spontaneous moments of play and dance. Often a few teachers at a site choose to study more with Luna and become in-house dance experts, providing mini dance classes for preschoolers or sharing dance learning with parents.
Our partnership with an ECE center may include professional development workshops, environment surveys and recommendations, a series of model classes with side-by-side professional development, and family dance. Sites may wish to incorporate dance and movement into their DRDP assessments using strength-based observational strategies. Luna faculty are versed in neuro-patterns, culturally responsive teaching, trauma, and inclusive learning practices and share that knowledge extensively at each school site. After years of supporting Transitional Kindergarten (TK) teachers who struggle to teach an “in-between” age with little training, we have developed a deep understanding of how dance can strengthen the school experience for these impressionable children.
Luna’s partnerships have included Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda Head Start and Early Head Start programs; Oakland and Berkeley Unified school districts; model programs at Kaiser and Tilden Early Education Centers; and Marin County Office of Education. We have guest-taught at Chabot, Laney, and Los Positas ECE credential programs and presented at Head Start conferences.
Luna has been championing dance in Early Childhood since 1992. We served on California’s Preschool Learning Foundations writing committee, and with Governor Newsom’s 2020 Master Plan for Early Learning and Care: California for ALL Kids, we have been vocal and strategic to ensure that dance and movement are considered essential to learning. Recently, Luna joined with CREATE CA to train our board and staff in arts education advocacy and to develop a logic model for our latest practice-to-policy initiative focusing on early education this spring 2024.