"You’re young, you’re growing, you’re moving through this world, and dance is a way that you can figure your body out, figure yourself out, figure out this world and who you are,” Kenna-Camara Cottman, a guest artist with Young Dance in 2014, reflected on her experience as a member of the original Young Dance company 25 years earlier.
Young Dance has maintained a strong tradition of offering youth in the Twin Cities community a place to build body and spirit through the creative expression of modern dance for over 25 years. The strong tradition is balanced by a commitment to integrate relevant issues and artistic trends of the times to serve present-day youth. The mission of Young Dance is to transform lives through movement. The dance company and school collaborate with professional artists, establish meaningful community relationships, and push the boundaries of the art and practice of dance.
Through programming initiatives Young Dance promotes the values of life long learning, artistic excellence, inclusion and sustainability. Today, these initiatives include:
• A physically integrated modern dance company that consists of 34 boys and girls, ages 7-18, with and without disabilities, from Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas.
• A dance school, serving 160 students, offering classes in creative movement and modern dance for youth ages 1 – 18, in five different locations in the Kingfield, Seward, Bancroft, Powderhorn and Downtown neighborhoods of Minneapolis.
• An outreach program that works with schools and community organizations in the Twin Cities to offer dance programming at little or no cost to bridge barriers of geography, socio-economic status and disabilities.
• A model program that integrates dancers with and without disabilities as equal contributors in the learning, choreography and performance of dance.
What new functionality we are looking for
Young Dance is in need of an updated website to better communicate with our constituents and the larger community who we are and the work we do to transform lives through movement. An effective website could serve as a communication hub which conveys the breadth of our programming and draws in new constituents and supporters.
We want a redesign to the architecture that makes it easy to find important information at a glance, optimized for both desktop and mobile devices.
Our ideal website would include the following features:
• Information organized in clear categories, that provide quick answers to questions people may have.
• Improve the registration system, so it is easy to find the information one needs about class and simple to register.
• A way for people to e-mail us through the website.
• People can join the mailing list through our website.
• A clear, readable calendar that provides an easy ways for students and families to stay updated on the schedules of classes, company rehearsals, and special events.
• Video streaming directly from our site, not filtered through another site (vimeo).
• Visual and auditory design choices in line with web accessibility guidelines that improve readability and make it easier to incorporate text to voice technology.
• A page devoted to funding development where we recognize donors, make a compelling case to give to Young Dance, and provide a quick and easy way to make a donation.
• A resource page that provides links to like-minded organizations, serving to connect our constituents to the community and draw in potential students, audience and donors.
• Young Dance staff will be able to easily update the website so the look and information stays current.
How the new functionality will help
This comprehensive website redesign will have a long term and profound impact on Young Dance. These improvements will allow us to better serve our students and families with clear communication. It will help us target messages to draw in new students, build audience and cultivate donors. The visual update of Young Dance will convey longevity as an organization and our desire to grow with technology and the community.
How our organization will use the technology
Current and prospective families and students will easily find pertinent information on the website. Staff will use the website as a tool for communication. We will attract new students, audience and supporters to our organization through our website. Registration for classes will be easy to understand and simplified, mitigating a current barrier for some prospective students.
Moreover, we currently have a holding pattern whenever we need a website update such as listing a new session of classes, adding an event, etc., as we contact a specialist who can update the website for us. We will be able to get information on our website in a timely manner so it is an up-to-date resource for Young Dance information. We will be able to control the ways that information is portrayed on our website, so it effectively and accurately represents our organization.
Who will use the technology
Our website is currently managed by our Communication and School Director, Jennifer Glaws. Ideally all the staff will be using the new functionality, because we each will have the capability of updating information; we will be able to answer questions from constituents by pointing them to the website; we will be able to use the website ourselves as a resource to keep track of the many branches of our programming. The website will be a tool that the staff can utilize, rather than a burden.
Ms. Pick and the Board of Directors, will be able to use the website to portray a picture of our programming when communicating with foundations, corporations and prospective donors.
Our families and students will be excited to see updated video and photos. The website will help us to better communicate to prospective students and audience about our classes and performances.
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