Boys in Motion

The Elm City Dance Collective brings creative movement and dance to youth, one of several programs in support of its mission to build community and connection through art.

Middle school boys learn Capoeira through the Elm City Dance Collective program, Boys in Motion. Photo provided by Elm City Dance Collective.

Last fall, middle school boys at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School learned the high kicks, spins, and quick dance moves of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira. The after-school workshop, offered by the Elm City Dance Collective and Connecticut Capoeira Center, was a hit with the students and welcomed by school faculty as an innovative way to engage boys.

"It was a pleasure to see the boys support and help each other gain confidence and learn about group interactions," says Sylvia Petriccione, artistic coordinator at the school. "They needed to trust each other and work together as one unit. Their ability to focus and complete tasks improved with each workshop."

The program, supported by a grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, is part of the Elm City Dance Collective's Girls in Motion/Boys in Motion, which brings dance and movement to middle schools.

Lindsey Bauer, program director for Elm City Dance Collective, says the kids who participate in the workshops become "off-the-wall excited" on their performance day.

"Quality after-school programming is essential," says Bauer, who is also a high school teacher.

Youth education is just one facet of the dance organization's mission to build community and connection through art. The collective began in 2008 when four dance artists began discussing ideas for a dance organization that would offer classes and performances in a variety of movement forms.

Since its inception, the Elm City Dance Collective's performing company has staged site-specific performances around New Haven. In the last several years, its dancers have performed at Pride New Haven; International Festival of Arts and Ideas pop-up performances, and the Department of Traffic and Transportation's pedestrian awareness initiative.

The dance company's "TINY SHORTS: brief dances in small spaces," challenges choreographers to produce entertaining dances of five minutes or less in unconventional spaces such as bars and restaurants.

ECDC also offers dance instruction for youth and adults. The nonprofit organization is run with the help of grants and private donations.

To learn more about The Elm City Dance Collective and support its mission, visit its profile on®.

Did you know?

Students from low-income families who attend high schools that are rich in the arts have significant advantages in college-going, college grades and types of employment as compared to low-income students attending high schools considered "arts poor," according to a National Endowment for the Arts study.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.