THE MAGIC OF MUSIC AND DANCE
KEEP’s In-School programming is conducted on the campuses of each of its 21 partner schools each week. Because in-school classes are held for the entire fourth grade level as part of the school day, children who might not have the resources to participate in extra-curricular arts activities have the opportunity to expand their horizons and experience quality dance and music education. The program strives to impart excellence, enhance the educational experience of children, improve academic performance, serve children in need, and improve quality of life.
Our programming supports academic achievement with cross-curricular activities that translate into increased self-confidence in the classroom and the discipline to achieve difficult goals. KEEP will conduct 50 classes per week in its partner schools with classes ranging in size between 20-45 dancers. A Teaching Artist and Musician who have been extensively trained in the NDI methodology teach each class. Students participating in KEEP’s programming experience a fast-paced, challenging, inclusive and fun approach to learning dance technique and the meaning of excellence. The dance style is based on pedestrian movement and characterized by clapping, stomping, stepping, leaping, and executing all steps with maximum energy, precision, and total physical commitment.
KEEP’s program is performance based, and all activities during the school year are geared toward the school-wide assemblies in December and end-of-year performances in May. The assemblies and performances allow students to demonstrate what they have learned and gain positive reinforcement from peers, teachers, parents, and community members. In addition to the end-of-year performances conducted at each partner school in May and as part of its Theatre Experience Program, KEEP will host the performance event, Queen Bee, at El Paso’s historic Plaza Theatre on May 22-25, 2023. The show will feature approximately 300 students from KEEP’s partner schools. Students will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend time rehearsing and performing on The Plaza Theatre’s majestic stage in front of an estimated 6,000-member audience.
SPECIALIZED LEARNERS PROGRAM
KEEP is a full inclusion program and engages all students it serves regardless of physical, cognitive, or behavioral ability. KEEP maintains its Specialized Learners Program to serve students with learning differences and support its mission of teaching all children in an environment that best fits their learning and skills. Each year, KEEP serves more than 200 children who are challenged with physical and/or cognitive disability. The program engages students in weekly dance classes taught by a trained Teaching Artist and Musician.
In addition, Kids Excel partners with Jennifer Dahlgren, of Let Your Hands Be Heard, to provide annual workshops for our teaching artists and musicians. The sessions consist of training in American Sign Language, non-verbal communication, team building, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). This skill set is then taken into the KEEP classroom to reach students with developmental diagnoses, empower all students with communication access, and provide opportunities for all children regardless of differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.
In the spring of 2021, selected KEEP staff completed a DREAM (Dancers Realize Excellence through Arts and Movement) program training led by NDI Artistic Director, Kay Gainer, and Pediatric Physical Therapist, Agnes McConologue Ferro. This month-long workshop focused on best practices and strategies to ensure equitable inclusion for children of varying abilities, as well as tools to effectively differentiate instruction and highlight and develop every dancer.
El Paso Independent School District
·Charles Q. Murphree
Canutillo Independent School District
Ysleta Independent School District
·La Fe Preparatory School
Such great memories! One amazing show! And hopefully more to come!! I cannot thank you enough!
I like dancing because I like to feel the spotlight on my face and then I dance my heart out. I would like to thank you again for making my dreams come true.
I really hope you were there to watch us – we were on fire! We owe you one because Kids Excel is out of this world awesomeness!
In the beginning of Kids Excel I felt insecure about how I danced, but now if I dance I am confident about myself. The icing on the cake was when we went to the Plaza Theatre. When I stood on stage I felt like my heart was going to fall out.
Each year, amazingly talented and motivated students from our in-school programs are recruited to participate in Kids Excel Scholarship programs. These weekend and afterschool classes offer children from across the city an opportunity to collaborate and work toward excellence, celebrating each other’s successes and bringing the community together through the joy of live performance.
SUPER WONDERFUL ADVANCED TEAM (SWAT)
The Kids Excel SWAT Team is composed of 75 – 125 dancers selected from our In-School Programeach year. SWAT dancers gather at Kids Excel Headquarters every Saturday from January through May. At the same time, these dancers participate in the In-School Program, serving as role models for their peers at school. All SWAT dancers learn advanced choreography and perform in the year-end gala performance at the Plaza Theatre. This is Kids Excel’s only annual fundraiser and is a professional production featuring live music and professionally designed sets, costumes, and lighting.
The Celebration Team consists of KEEP’s more accomplished SWAT dancers who wish to continue their experience with KEEP and develop their proficiency levels. Celebration Team members can perform with the team until they enter high school. The Kids Excel Celebration Team represents the organization at various special events and fundraising initiatives around the city. They also perform at the year-end gala performance at The Plaza Theatre. Celebration Team rehearsals take place after school and are held at the studios at Kids Excel Headquarters.
PLAZA THEATRE TINY TOTS
An early childhood scholarship program for 20-25 children ages 3-9 who wish to participate in a weekly after-school arts program. Classes take place at KEEP Headquarters from January through May of each year. Children participating in this program also participate in the year-end gala performance at the Plaza Theatre.
On-Campus After-School programming in partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of El Paso
In the fall of 2018, KEEP entered into a 5-year partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of El Paso (BGCEP) to provide 15 weeks of after-school programming on selected campuses in El Paso ISD. This program is the result of a grant awarded to BGCEP and provides an opportunity for collaboration between three local non-profit organizations, to include BGCEP, Kids Excel, and Creative Kids.
Over the course of the 2021-2022 school year, KEEP will conduct after-school programming at Clendenin, Sunrise Mountain, and Whitaker Elementary Schools, serving approximately 75 children each week.
SUMMER WORKSHOPS AND INTENSIVES
Cita Sanders Early Childhood Institute
This week-long program is open to children between the ages of 3-8. Dancers participate in an exciting and interactive early childhood curriculum every day for one week. These classes are theme-based and culminate in a performance for parents and friends at the Kids Excel studio, complete with props, costumes, and live music.
Spots are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on workshop dates, fees, and availability, please contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KEEP Summer Workshop
The KEEP Summer Intensive Workshop is a two-week long arts intensive held during the month of July at Kids Excel Headquarters. Children selected from the SWAT and Celebration Teams receive full scholarships to attend. Participants learn more advanced choreography and explore the foundations of dance, music, and theater. Each dancer also participates in a visual arts workshop. The summer workshop culminates in a performance for families, supporters, and community partners.