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Our Story

Dancing in the Streets AZ was started in 2008 as a way to reach out to the non-traditional ballet students. Co-founders Joseph Rodgers and his wife Soleste Lupu met in ballet school as children in Tucson AZ. Joseph Rodgers was the very first African American Ballet dancer to come out of Tucson, AZ. when their performance careers were over they started a ballet school for at-risk-youth and underserved families.

Vision: To be recognized as a world class diverse performing arts organization, primarily for at-risk youth, committed to the region’s cultural and artistic development.

Mission: To use the power of dance to break down cultural barriers and enrich the community’s artistic experience through the creation of a diverse dance school and company.

Goals: Dancing in the Streets Arizona will provide dance education to primarily high-risk children and youth. Dancing in the Streets Arizona will provide quality evening and summer dance activities to instill life skills and discipline after school. The program’s immediate success lies in the childrens’ improved social interaction, family involvement, and responsiveness.

A note about ballet education: Every child benefits from quality dance training, even though he or she may ultimately choose another career path. In dance, children learn the cooperative teamwork necessary to produce a high quality work of art. They develop creative thinking skills and the ability to push themselves to higher achievements. They learn an immense amount about music and rhythm, and are introduced to the French language. They encounter spatial relationships and must think with both sides of their brain while learning to dance. All these skills will enhance a child’s academic performance, as well as their physical well-being. Self-confidence and self-esteem continue to develop as a young person conquers new movements and grows more certain of their ability to apply themselves, work hard, and master any task put before them. Growing through this artistic process helps a child find the pathway to personal integrity and self-assured adulthood. He or she enters society with the ability to do well at whatever life places before them, and with the ability to maintain the uncompromising high standards absorbed during their dance training.

The majority of our students are non-traditional ballet students. As more and more arts programs are being eliminated in the public schools, organizations like Dancing in the Streets AZ are desperately needed to elp young students grow into future leaders and advocates for the arts.

Some recent accomplishments about our students:

  • This year 3 students were accepted into a Summer Intensive ballet camp.
  • 3 of our students are attending college at Universtiy of Arizona or, Pima Community College.
  • Dancing in the Streets AZ just hosted Alonzo King LINES ballet Discovery Outreach workshop.

In the five years since our studio was opened, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization known as Dancing in the Streets Arizona has provided opportunities for the children of South Tucson, and Tucson that were once beyond their wildest dreams. In the process of applying themselves to the study of dance, kids who might otherwise be hanging out on street corners are beginning to realize that through hard work and personal discipline anything is possible. One of the rewards of diligence and focus has been the thrill of performing a classic ballet in costume and dancing to the music of a live orchestra in this annual performance of the Nutcracker ballet.

To recap our brief history, Dancing in the Streets AZ is both a well-appointed ballet studio and a laboratory for success. Founded by husband and wife team Soleste Lupu and Joey Rodgers with a modest sum of money received in celebration of their wedding, our South Tucson program is dedicated to helping underachievers and underserved families assume personal responsibility for their future through the discipline of dance and the teamwork of performance.

We have been blessed with dedicated teachers—many of them volunteers from other parts of the country–who join us as their schedules permit to provide master classes and summer intensive training in modern, jazz, classical middle eastern dance, and Pilates movement. More than 100 students ages 3 to adult, boys and girls, are enrolled in each of our sessions. We hope you will want to see this program for yourself on our web site: www.ditsaz.org.

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Dancing in the Streets is a 501c3 nonprofit ballet organization. We rely on donations to be able to bring the arts to at-risk children. Won't you pitch in?