Connecting Cultures through the Arts
Connecting Cultures through the Arts
Posted on 04/06/2018
Special guest Otto “Aquaboogy” Vazquez shared his moves with the group.By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department

If giving local students more opportunities to learn about world cultures through the arts doesn’t make you want to dance, you probably just don’t like dancing. But throw into the mix an internationally-acclaimed Broadway choreographer with credits like Run DMC, MTV, Kanye West, Dr. Pepper, The Knicks, and Cirque Du Soleil, and you just might two-step out of your comfort zone.

“Cutting the rug” was the first item on the agenda when administrators and staff from BCS and LEAF met Friday, March 30, to announce a new partnership between the two organizations and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Special guest Otto “Aquaboogy” Vazquez shared his moves with the group, taught about the history and culture of hip-hop dance, and reinforced the value of bringing professional artists into educational settings. Some of the dancers were bolder than others, but there were plenty of smiles to go around.

“LEAF is proud to partner with Buncombe County Schools in order to support the professional development of teachers and Teaching Artists, while also striving toward equitable access to the arts, and co-designing local programs,” said LEAF Community Relations Director Cortina J. Caldwell.

BCS staff learn dance moves from  Otto “Aquaboogy” Vazquez.Up to now, some schools have independently worked with LEAF, a local non-profit organization that aims to connect cultures and enrich lives through the arts. The new, official partnership is intended benefit all Buncombe County students, create global connections in classrooms, and support teachers with the professional development needed to integrate arts with the curriculum. The effort supports Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin’s Global Education priority, as well as the school system’s core values of embracing diversity, encouraging growth, and empowering educators. The gathering of BCS and LEAF leaders kicked off a full schedule of 2018 collaborations.

“What an honor to be selected for this unique partnership,” said Dr. Baldwin. “We believe arts education is a crucial part of our students’ experience here in Buncombe County Schools. This partnership will give us access to world-class art experts which will enhance the learning experience for our teachers and students.”

Learn more about LEAF Community Arts' Schools & Streets program.
Learn more about the Kennedy Center for the Arts' Partners in Education.
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