The Joffrey’s Anastacia Holden is more than just a dancer; she’s a force in her community. In 2010, she co-founded EMBARC, Inc, a non-profit that offers cultural experiences for high school students in Chicago’s historically underserved neighborhoods. Through partnerships between public schools, local businesses and arts organizations, EMBARC offers teens exposure to the fine arts, takes them to visit local farms, gets them involved in their communities. The results of the program are kind of amazing: 50 percent of the students involved increased their standardized test scores, 89 percent increased their school attendance, and 99 percent are currently on track to graduate.
Next Thursday, The Joffrey is offering a one-night-only show to help fund the organization. “The company has donated their space for us to host a benefit performance, and my wonderful co-workers have donated their time and energy to create original works for the show,” says Holden. “We had a similar event last year and were able to raise a large percentage of EMBARC’s annual operating budget.” Joffrey artistic director Ashley wheater will cohost the event with US Department of Education special projects director Tim Tuten. For tickets, go to www.embarcchicago.org/anewmovement/