Kids “Keep It Moving” in YA Dance Residency

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Kim1Young Audiences‘ Keep it Moving program is a 35 session after school residency that emphasizes health and physical fitness through dance. Made possible through support from the General Mills Foundation, Keep It Moving is now in its second year of implementation and includes participants at Community Action Organization’s JFK and Edward Saunders after school sites.

Throughout the 2010-2011 school year, students have had the opportunity to learn different forms of dance while journaling about the healthy choices that they make each week. Teaching artist, and Licensed Practical Nurse, Cindy Hanna instructs students in dance workshops and leads discussion on healthy eating choices and the food pyramid. The process is documented in student journals, reinforcing each session and building literacy skills.

journal“I was shocked at how students were so into using the journals,” said teaching artist Sarah Haykel. “They are a great tool for self expression and recording what they’ve learned.”

At the CAO JFK site, kids have already learned Salsa with Sarah Haykel, African Dance with Le Ballet Touba, and are currently participating in Ballet workshops with Configuration Dance. At the CAO Edward Saunders site, Kip Ralabate taught social dance and  students are currently participating in modern dance workshops with LehrerDance.

Click here for more information about the Keep It Moving residency, or contact Young Audiences by phone at 716.881.0917 or by email at


Young Audiences Expands Residency with Heritage Centers

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Tom HoltWith support from The Children’s Guild Foundation, Young Audiences of Western New York has expanded its partnership with Heritage Centers After School Program to engage young people in creative arts programs again in 2011-2012.

The residency, titled A Rhythm Runs Through It, is a long-term arts integration program incorporating dance, music, and visual arts for young people with special needs that attend the Heritage Centers After School Program. Youth who participate in the program have moderate to severe development disabilities, many of which also face physical, mental, cognitive, or behavioral challenges.

Through the arts, the young people – mostly teens – develop confidence in art making, agility, and literacy skills.

View our most recent blog post and video on this program, at this link.  

“If Young Audiences did not provide these classes for us, our young people would never have such exposure to the arts and creative self-expression in their lifetime,” said Barbara Huebsch, Supervisor of Family and County Services for Heritage Centers After School Program. “Many children with learning disabilities are not ordinarily able to express themselves, yet, [when they come to our program] whether it is through dancing, drumming, or painting, they find that they are well capable of doing so.”

A Rhythm Runs Through It brings together some of the most inspiring and effective artists working with special needs populations in Buffalo. 

Created by Young Audiences WNY, A Rhythm Runs Through It is funded by The Children’s Guild Foundation. Individuals interested in learning more about this residency can contact Young Audiences WNY directly at 716.881.0917 or by email at

*Pictured Above: Tom Holt with student participants of A Rhythm Runs Through It

Rhythm Runs Through It Residency Celebrated

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A Rhythm Runs Through It at Heritage Centers from Young Audiences on Vimeo.

On April 29th, the accomplishments of the students who participated in the Rhythm Runs Through It residency will be showcased in an end of the year celebration for parents and the community. 

A Rhythm Runs Through It is a long-term arts integration program incorporating dance, music, and visual arts for young people throughout the year, in a 33-visit residency at the Heritage Centers After School Program.  A Rhythm Runs Through It includes multi-session residencies with Young Audiences of WNY Teaching Artists — Sarah Hooper, Miriam Minkoff and Jen Russo.  The program builds sequential skills that develop physical coordination, visual communication abilities, and confidence, using rhythm as the unifying element.  As multiple artists introduce participants to their art forms, the program progresses through a variety of skills.

A Rhythm Runs Through It is a unique program because it leverages kinesthetic activities, literacy skills and creative expression to help participants develop comprehensive coordination and communication abilities.  The program uses the arts to apply the findings of current research on how kinesthetic activities enhance brain development, physical and mental coordination, and language processing.

A Rhythm Runs Through It
is also unique because of the unusual partnership between an arts organization like Young Audiences of Western New York and a human service agency such as Heritage Centers.  The program provides a learning opportunity for all stakeholders that builds capacity for long-term partnerships between Young Audiences of WNY and special needs educators. The collaborative work that made this residency for special needs students possible will be highlighted in a workshop at our Breaking Down Barriers: 4th Annual Patrica Cotsen Arts Abilities conference on May 11th, 2010.

This program was made possible by the generous support of the Children’s Guild Foundation, Inc.  Committed to Children with Special Needs through Research and Rehabilitation, celebrating 100 years of service.

If you would like to join us in recognizing these acheivements, please e-mail us at or call 881-0917 for more details. 

Underground Railroad in Western New York Residency

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AnnetteYoung Audiences of Western New York had the unique opportunity in 2010, to create a new residency.  With support from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, we worked with an advisory committee to create a program around the history of the Underground Railroad in Western New York. 

The goals of this project are to create a program that gives students an opportunity to learn about our region’s past, while increasing literacy and understanding of racial disparities, and access to African-American artists.  Our hope is to provide this residency in schools throughout the eight counties of Western New York for years to come.

Formed through a collaborative process, incorporating community knowledge and history through a multi-talented advisory committee, this residency provides students access to the knowledge, talent, and history passed down through generations.  It is also a new direction for Young Audiences to address serious human inequities, and to try to provide students with tools to understand a major social issue such as racism through our programs. 

Assistance from Ujima Theater Company on the development of this program has been outstanding.  Lorna C. Hill and Rahwa Ghirmatzion helped Young Audiences to identify new African-American artists for Young Audiences’ roster and to refine artist’s skills in presenting for children.


Underground Railroad in Western New York has been designed to serve children ages 5-18 and their families.  The program ties to curriculum for grades 4 through 12.  Contact our office if you are interested in bringing this residency or a selection of performances or workshops to your school.  716-881-0917 or

Images on this page: Annette Daniels-Taylor and Rodney Appleby.

New Underground Railroad Residency and its Partners

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New Residency in Development

Young Audiences is developing an Underground Railroad in Western New York Residency, with generous support from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. This multidisciplinary series of workshops will explore the history of the Underground Railroad, while also addressing contemporary racial and ethnic disparities in Western New York.

The project’s lead teaching artist, Annette Daniels-Taylor, has explored many of the racial and ethnic issues surrounding the subject with her award winning play, “A Little Bit of Paradise,” premiered by Road Less Traveled Productions in 2008.

Call to Artists

In relation to this project, Young Audiences is issuing a call to area African American artists who may have an interest in becoming teaching artists. Such individuals or groups are invited to contact the organization at 881-0917 or email us. They should provide a one-page proposal and brief work sample (DVD, CD, images, or written work), of an arts-based, 45-minute workshop or performance about the Underground Railroad’s role in WNY history.  The deadline for these submissions is November 30.

Partner Spotlight

Thanks go to the Ujima Theatre Company for dedicating its Loft Theatre in the early spring of 2010 for community workshops to develop this reisdency. We are also grateful to its Ujima’s Artistic Director, Lorna C. Hill, for devoting her energies and wisdom to the project.

We’re looking forward to attending Ujima’s Pro Love Tour on November 20th at 8pm. This gathering of artists, poets, dancers, and musicians will celebrate the many ways unconditional love can transform our relationships with each other and our community. You can visit their website for more details.

The Pro Love Tour will take place at the Historic Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster Street North Tonawanda. Box office: 692-2413. Tickets Available at or by calling Amilcar Hill at 480-8542.

Mindfulness Writing

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To be mindful is to be conscious or aware of something.  To write a poem is to make, to create into being. In this residency we will use mindfulness techniques to write poems and creative non-fiction to become more aware and more awake to the world and our ideas of the world. We will incorporate… Read more »

Our Water, Our World, Our Word

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This residency is designed to correspond to classroom curriculum on the local watershed from a science, social studies, and/or public health perspective, though this component is not required.  Students will write poems engaging with the water cycle, and the local watershed, exploring and embodying the interconnected nature of water, world, and word.  Poetry experiments may… Read more »

Multilingual Poetry

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Western New York is a multilingual region. In this residency, students will celebrate and explore their relationship to the layering of language(s) and place. Sessions will include experimentation with translation techniques, etymology, sound, and monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual writing. Each session will involve reading and responding to poems, writing original poems, and sharing work aloud…. Read more »