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ABCDance - Wellspring Cori Terry & Dancers
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Wellspring Company Modern Dancer and K12 Certified Professional Level Dance Educator
Wellspring Cori Terry & Dancers
"Educating and Inspiring Early Childhood Learners for Success in a Literacy through Movement Program Designed for Kindergarten Readiness"
Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers is a non profit (501C3) company and was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1981, under the artistic direction of dancer and choreographer, Cori Terry. The company’s 34-year history is a remarkable artistic achievement and demonstrates Wellspring’s strong commitment to serving its community. As southwest Michigan’s only professional modern dance company, Wellspring offers a unique and diverse artistic voice not found elsewhere in the region. Wellspring presents its critically-acclaimed original choreography plus the work of award-winning guest artists.
Highlights of Wellspring's history include performances with leading names in the dance industry, such as Mathew Janczewski of Arena Dance Company in Minneapolis, New York’s Christopher Williams, the Artichoke Dance Company of New York, Zephyr Dance of Chicago, and several years as guest artists for the Erick Hawkins centennial celebrations at the 92nd Street Y. Musical collaborations include world-premiere choreography set to the music of Philip Glass and John Adams, performed by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances with critically-acclaimed musicians such as the Bill Ryan and The New Music Ensemble from GVSU, Bruce Brubaker, eighth blackbird (sic), Cavani String Quartet, Opus 21, and the Red Sea Pedestrians. Local collaborations include work with Fontana Chamber Arts, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. In addition, Wellspring showcases regional choreographers and presents works of national guest dance artists through the Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival.
Wellspring is also dedicated serving their local community in providing early childhood education outreach programs throughout Kalamazoo County (Michigan). Wellspring's ABCDance (a literacy through movement program) targets Head Start students, ages three to four years of age, where family income is at or below the federal poverty guideline. The program serves these youth with severely limited access due to the barriers and restrictions of poverty and race.
Less affluent children demonstrate academic performance at a level below that of their more affluent peers. School Readiness Skills surveys have reported children below poverty performing at as many as 18 percentage points below that of their peers above poverty in pre-literacy development (Child Trends Databank). According to 2006 statistics, more than 18,000 Kalamazoo County children were eligible for Head Start programs based on income and disability (13,000 below the poverty level), a 23 percent increase from 2003 (Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services). These high levels of poverty place children at future risk of being unprepared for Kindergarten, needing special education, dropping out of school, and being unemployed, uninsured and incarcerated (Save the Children USA/Kalamazoo County Great Start Collaborative).
“Inadequate education contributes to the cycle of poverty by making it more difficult for low-income children to lift themselves and future generations out of poverty.” (Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth - American Psychological Association)
ABCDance is designed to close these wide, income-related achievement gaps through its integrated literacy and movement program. The program explores movement and language through cultural appropriation, building on and "teaching to identity" (Thompson and Barniskis 2005) focusing on 'student-centered' learning with an awareness of each student's social construction. We are committed to applying culturally relevant context while assisting students to learn to language skills through movement/dance.
The ABCDance program partners with the Kalamazoo County Head Start program, Education for the Arts, and the GSC/KRAN Steering Committee, which serves as a connector to early childhood organizations in Kalamazoo County.