Education is a serious business these days: Assessments and rankings, benchmarks and standards have become the buzzwords of working with kids. Where, one sometimes wonders, has the joy gone? This Sunday, May 15, 300 students from Santa Barbara’s public schools will take the stage at the Marjorie Luke Theatre (721 E. Cota St.) to prove that accountability and achievement can go hand-in-hand with serious fun. Their show is called The World Café, and it’s the culmination of a yearlong program of dance classes taught in schools by the S.B. Dance Institute (SBDI). Below are three reasons to check out the show. Call 963-0761 or visit lobero.com for tickets.
1. You’re Supporting the Community: For a child, there’s no gift greater than your time and attention, especially when the kids in question have worked all year to produce their show. The cast of The World Café is made up of 3rd-6th graders from Solvang Elementary and Adelante Charter schools, and junior high and high school students from across the county. Many of the kids involved had never danced before SBDI and might never have had the chance otherwise. That’s something worth supporting.
2. It’s a Model of What’s Possible: In an era of creeping budget cuts and dwindling arts programs, SBDI defies the trend. Founded in 2005, the organization has already served 1,500 schoolkids and reached out to more than 8,000 audience members. Most of the classes take place during school hours and are free to participating students. Even more unusual is the structure of SBDI’s programs, which run for the entire academic year. Director Rosalina Macisco admits to having high expectations of her students. “Her mantra seems to be, ‘Whatever you do, do it with excellence,’” one teacher noted, while a 5th-grade student explained that dancing “makes me feel happy about life.”
3. You’ll Leave Inspired: This year, the show is based on a radio program that samples pop music from around the world—the kids will be dancing to hits from Columbia, Germany, Mexico, India, and Denmark, as well as a few from here in the States. Unlike an end-of-year recital for a dance studio, these aren’t just the most talented kids with the resources for after-school arts programs. Expect to see nearly 300 kids give it their all. They’ve worked hard for this day, and the way they throw themselves into the dancing makes an impact you won’t soon forget.