50 STORIES 50 YEARS: PRAIRIE DANCE THEATRE
The Prairie Dance Theatre serves the Oklahoma metropolitan area by promoting high standards of dance and movement through the education of children and the public.
The Prairie Dance Theatre has pursued this mission, since the late 1970s, with the support of the Oklahoma Arts Council. And beginning in 2003, Prairie focused its programming on dance education for underserved elementary school students.
These dance-based programs promote high standards of dance and movement while also nurturing essential traits for life achievement. The discipline, creativity, and focus required in dance are important qualities in all areas of life.
When children’s lives and capacities are nurtured in this way,the whole community benefits.
“The history between Prairie Dance Theatre and Oklahoma Arts Council is long and valued,” said Prairie Artistic Director, Tonya Kilburn. The “Oklahoma Arts Council has funded Prairie Dance Theatre since the late 1970s…and our founders were Teaching Artists through Oklahoma Arts Council.”
Oklahoma Arts Council grants help make Prairie’s programming possible, and have expanded Prairie’s scope from serving 45-50 students to serving over 500 students. Prairie indirectly impacts over 2500 students each year.
Over the past few years, as state funding has been cut from the Oklahoma Arts Council’s budget, Prairie’s scope of work in the community has become more limited.
The Prairie Dance Theatre cut their Saturday Youth Company program in 2014 due to a decrease in funding, and this year they cut back teaching hours for Teaching Artists.
Prairie Dance Theatre has had to come up with creative ways to continue offering exceptional programming to those they feel need it most.
This story celebrates 50 years of the Oklahoma Arts Council and how the state’s investments have positive ripple effects on communities across Oklahoma. See other stories or follow this link for more information.