The Walla Walla Dance Festival has been a showcase of the rich and varied American dance arts culture for the Walla Walla Valley over the past several years. The WWDF introduces incredible professional dance companies from around the country to the community of Walla Walla and an ever-growing number of visitors.
As the festival continues to grow exponentially and draw larger and larger audiences, we would like to further its community outreach by working on an extension of the program, which partners with local public schools in order to continue academic learning and self-discovery through dance. We believe that the unique physical, expressive, and thought provoking qualities of dance can be used as a means of connecting ideas, events, cultures, and people learned about in school in a different and memorable way.
John Passafiume and Lydia Tetzlaff, Directors of the Walla Walla Dance Festival, have both conducted workshops and outreach in various communities in New York City and internationally. The testimonies of past participants provide strong support for the beneficial nature of such experiences on a personal and community level. One such participant described the workshop as “a life-changing experience” and declares, “I’ve learned to celebrate my own creativity and take risks in both my life and in [dance].” Another reflects on the workshop(s) as “an invaluable experience” that “ has given me a beautiful opportunity…not just to connect with others but, to connect with the ‘dancer’ in me who I am meeting for the first time.”
The focus of the WWDF outreach would be to provide students with confidence in themselves and their own creativity and strength by allowing them to explore a wide range of movements and their own expressive potential, while also anchoring their school curriculum through an alternative, creative outlet and learning experience. The WWDF looks to collaborate with other associations and institutions that have the interest and desire to impact young people’s lives in a meaningful and positive way. One that will help support their growth as individuals and aid in giving them the tools to move confidently forward as they grow and learn.