KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 12/19/10, 10:30 AM & KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 12/26/10, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Soleste Lupu and Joseph Rodgers, artistic directors, Dancing In The Streets Arizona, non-profit organization that uses the excitement and discipline of ballet to guide children in achieving life skills.

Lupu says they attempt to accommodate everyone and offer “scholarships” at half the 60-dollar fee for each 8-week course.  She says dancers as young as 3 are welcome, as are teenagers up to the age of 18. She says the vision of the program is to be recognized as a world class performing arts organization, primarily for at-risk youth, committed to the region's cultural and artistic development.

Rodgers says it has been demonstrated that at-risk youth are often struggling with complex social issues, such as low community involvement, lack of commitment to school, alienation and rebelliousness and friends who engage in problem behavior.  He says a number of these risk factors may be influenced positively by youth arts programs through activities designed to reduce the influence of risk factors. He says providing opportunities for young people to learn new skills and by recognizing an individual youth’s efforts promotes bonding, and that helps them cope with the negative influence of risks they face and helps instill self confidence and self esteem.

Lupu adds successful programs recognize that dance or cultural arts are a vehicle that can be used to engage youth in activities that will increase their self-esteem. She says programs that include public performances help build participants’ self-esteem through public recognition. She said new classes recently added include Zumba, Jazz, and Tai Chi Kung.