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Million Dollar Gift Brings Expansion of Inner City Arts' Dance Program

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at 05:07PM
The Dance Philanthropist Ed Fuentes

Glorya Kaufman with children of Inner City Arts. "I live, eat and sleep dance," Kaufman said in a release. "Dance is and always will be a part of my life."

Wedged inside Skid Row, surrounded by industry, Inner City Arts' Kindergarten aged children danced and tossed scarves in the air this morning to greet the opening of the Glorya Kaufman Dance Academy.

A $1 million gift by the Glorya Kaufman Dance Foundation will fund the program, which plans to offer free dance instruction to up to 16,000 children annually.

Inner City Arts opened a major expansion of its campus in October. This new endowment will be used for programming, including plans to expand the facility's "Guest Artists" program and bring in performances and residencies forged from partnerships with UCLA Live!, Music Center, LA Opera, and the Lula Washington Dance Theater.

Modern dance, Mexican Folkorico, urban hip-hop, jazz dance, musical theater and experimental dance will be taught by professional instructors on the one-acre creative campus located at Kohler and 7th.

"Dance can heal," Glorya Kaufman told the crowd that included performers from television show "Dancing With the Stars." Kaufman's gift puts the program in lofty company. Her foundation has also benefited the Julliard School and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, both in New York City.

Despite the high-profile attendees, it was the Latino children of Inner City Arts who stole the show with a quick dance. The dedication then moved to the Rosenthal Theater, where a long time Inner City Arts partner, the interdisciplinary theater and dance company Blue Palm, were ready for a performance.

While waiting for Blue Palm, one child leaned in to a classmate and whispered "Now I can learn how to dance in Spanish and English."

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