Long-Running Arts Education Initiative Succeeds Despite Massive Cutbacks in Schools

The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival

The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival

The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival

The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival

LOS ANGELES (April 23, 2013) – As part of its commitment to increase access for youth to the performing arts and arts education, The Blue Ribbon of The Music Center presents its longest-running educational program, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival.  This event provides the experience of live performing arts for free to more than 18,000 fifth grade students on April 23, 24 and 25, 2013.  These students join more than 715,000 young people who have had this opportunity thanks to The Blue Ribbon, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary.

This year, the festival welcomes students from schools all over Los Angeles County to a special presentationof Tracesby the Montreal-based Les 7 Doigts de la Main (Seven Fingers) at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  Traces mixes contemporary dance, music and theatre with street elements such as skateboarding and basketball, creating a new form of circus artistry with high-energy urban acrobatics.  The company performs twice for the students each day of the festival.  After each engagement, more than 3,000 students join together on The Music Center Plaza to perform a special choreographed dance they have rehearsed in their classrooms in advance of their Music Center visit, incorporating music and movements from the live performance.  Students will dance to “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” which is featured in Traces.

 “Given how important the arts are to the development of every child, The Blue Ribbon is honored and proud to be able to introduce so many students to an interactive event that unleashes their creativity, enriches their lives, and has a lasting impact,” said Carla Sands, president, The Blue Ribbon.  “It’s truly inspiring, both for the students and our volunteers, to see the wide-eyed, smiling faces of these students, many of whom are experiencing a performing arts event for the first time,” she explained.

 Each year, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival invites fifth grade students from all public, private and charter schools throughout Los Angeles County to attend a free performance by a renowned performing arts company at one of the Music Center’s four venues.  Reservations are accepted on a first come basis.  Participating schools receive curriculum materials, background on the performing company and classroom activities to help prepare students for the performance.  Educators teach their students about audience etiquette, what to watch for during the performance, history and terminology, as well as the choreography for their dance performance.

Following the festival, each participating student receives a copy of A Journey Through The Music Center, a book that introduces the reader to all four theatres of The Music Center and various aspects of the performing arts.  Blue Ribbon member Maxine Dunitz made a $1 million gift to The Music Center to ensure that every student who attends the festival receives this book, which is updated and reprinted annually.  This year, A Journey Through The Music Centerwill be available in limited quantity, while supplies last, to children who are not able to attend the festival.  Parents/guardians can visit http://www.musiccenter.org/festivalbookto request a copy

Started in 1970 as part of The Blue Ribbon’s commitment to engage young people in the arts, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival is one of California’s longest, ongoing free arts educational programs.   Over the years, students have seen performances by the LA Phil, LA Opera, American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and Diavolo Dance Theater, among others.

About The Blue Ribbon
A champion of the performing arts, The Blue Ribbon is an independent support group comprised of outstanding women leaders in the Los Angeles community.  Created in 1968 by Dorothy Buffum Chandler to raise funds for The Music Center, its education programs and its resident companies, The Blue Ribbon has contributed more than $70 million as part of its commitment to uphold artistic excellence in programming on The Music Center’s stages and arts education for youth.

About The Music Center

            A leader at the cultural heart of Los Angeles County, The Music Center brings to life one of the world’s premier arts destinations by creating opportunities for arts participation, enabling compelling programming and providing first-class venues and services. The Music Center is one of the largest and most highly regarded performing arts centers in the country, creating a cultural hub that is central to L.A.’s status as “the creative capital” of the world. Celebrated for its illustrious dance programming, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, and home to four world class resident companies– Center Theatre Group, LA Opera, LA Phil and Los Angeles Master Chorale – The Music Center is the place to experience the most innovative and critically-acclaimed performing arts in the nation.  For more information, visit http://www.musiccenter.org and follow The Music Center on Facebook and Twitter (@MusicCenterLA).

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