Education & Collabs


Dance Initiative collaborates with public schools in the Roaring Fork Valley to provide dance education that is accessible to youth from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and that focuses on educating the whole person as dancer, lifelong learner and creative citizen.

In 2015, Dance Initiative identified that access to dance and movement arts education is extremely inaccessible to youth in the Roaring Fork Valley. In response, Dance Initiative initiated an in school dance and movement program that can be adapted and modified for each public school’s needs and schedules. This program is not based on traditional dance instruction (Ballet, Jazz or Tap), and instead works with students using Brain Compatible Dance Education curriculum and pedagogy developed by Anne Green Gilbert, an internationally recognized leader in dance education. Brain Compatible Dance Education utilizes concepts and strategies that create an environment for all students in which the brain becomes ready, willing and able to learn. This holistic approach develops every student into a whole dancer as skilled technician, critical thinker, collaborator, and creator. The curriculum is concept based, includes both student centered activities and direct instruction, and provides variations that appeal to the multiple intelligence. It is also strongly rooted in the 8 developmental patterns (movement patterning developed in the first 12 months of life) that are responsible for developing neural pathways through movement patterning that are essential to language acquisition, reading readiness, and mathematical ability. Dance Initiative will consider the following benefits of this form of dance education as a means of evaluation. Physical benefits include increased body awareness, control, balance, and coordination. Social benefits include learning to cooperate and problem solve with others through partner and group work. Emotional benefits include increased self esteem and self awareness through expression and reflection. And finally, intellectual benefits include acquisition of movement vocabulary, both verbal and physical, as well as development of neural pathways through developments patterns that ready the brain for learning in the classroom.

Dance Initiative hires, trains, and pays the creative dance teachers to implement these programs in the RE1 School District. This program is funded in part by local and regional grants as well as individual gifts from community members who are passionate about dance education. In the 2016/17 School Year up to 130 students, ages 6-14, received over 300 hours of dance education at the Carbondale Middle School and the Carbondale Community School.



Dance Initiative has and will continue to seek out opportunities to collaborate with organizations that include dance in their programming. In 2017, Dance Initiative co sponsored a choreographer for a short dance in the Thunder River Theatre Company’s production of Dead Man’s Cell Phone. In 2018, the Sol Theatre Company (STC) is presenting West Side Story. In an effort to help STC achieve the same high standards in the dance portions of the show that the company has achieved in all their previous productions, Dance Initiative will commission a choreographer to familiarize the actors with the movements of the dances in a series of workshops and then set the choreography on them.


Carbondale’s favorite community performance, Carbondale Arts Annual Green Is The New Black Fashion Extravaganza, bring artists from all over the valley for a show that combines fashion with dance, digital media, and outstanding lighting and sound. Dance Initiative proudly sponsors CoMotion, a local dance cooperative, as the creative dance force in the show. Learn more at