The Yocum Institute for Arts Education will be hosting Dancing with the Reading Stars on April 21, 2017. Although many do not realize it, the “Institute,” as it is still affectionately known, is much more than the bricks and mortar of the building located at 1100 Belmont Avenue in Wyomissing. The “Institute” develops and runs programs throughout Berks County.
The purpose of Dancing with the Reading Stars is to raise the money necessary to support on-going operations, scholarships, productions, and our many outreach programs – 50% of which are provided at little or no cost. Institute programs impact over 25,000 people each year – 80% under the age of 18- 50% at risk.
Our programs are delivered through our partnerships with the Reading School District, PAL/Olivet, Alvernia University’s South Reading Youth Initiative, Berks County Libraries, Wilson Area School District, and John Paul II Center for Special Learning. In 2008 we extended our partnerships beyond Berks County and Pennsylvania when we partnered with Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis and became the 13th national site for Neighborhood Bridges, a critical literacy program that has been effectively used in over 70 classrooms in the Reading School District. Our network continues to grow and in December 2015, we completed a pilot program with Young Male Residents at the Caron Foundation.
The Institute has been in the business of arts education for both arts and non-arts outcomes for over 80 years. Our vision is to ensure that the long-term benefits and impact of the arts on education are available to children regardless of where they live or their family income.
How Does Dancing with the Reading Stars “work?”
Dancing with the Reading Stars will involve 12 “dance” partners from throughout the community. The partners will be announced in a full page ad in the Reading Eagle in March. Funding will be raised by placing $5 votes for the partners of your choice. Voting starts in March and is finalized on the night of April 21 when all partners do a live performance. Voting will also be available through a secure online site and by mail. Locate the secure online site HERE.
Dancers can select a partner of their choice or the Institute Dance Department will match them with a partner. Dancers may work up their own routine or the dance department will assist them in developing a routine. Rehearsals and interviews are to be videoed and presented the night of the event before each dance couple performs. The videos may be used in advance on Facebook/website to encourage voting.
Each dance couple is asked to solicit votes – people can vote as often as they like. A Facebook page can be created by the dancers or the Institute for each couple. All are featured in the newspaper. This is not just about dancing! It’s about fun and fundraising.
In 2011, our first year for Dancing with the Reading Stars, the event was sold out at 450 people and we netted over $30,000 for programs. By 2016, the audience grew to over 500 and raised $160,000.
Are you interested in participating who know someone you wish to nominate? Contact Susan Rohn at SRohn@institute-of-arts.org