LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

All-City Workshops- From Fearful to Flourishing! Celebrating Humanity Through the Arts.

Above all else, Dance and Dialogue actively builds community and a sense of connection between individuals as well as the many unique cultures of the region, while expanding access to high quality programming.By bringing people together of all ages, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds, our programs deconstruct preconceived differences and fears of others. We prioritize process and healing over an end performance and use the arts as an outlet for physical and mental release..


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles


In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

As an organization that works across LA County, Dance and Dialogue recognizes the first people of this unceded land.This truth-combined with the complex and expansive layers of systemic racism- plagues the region. D&D prioritizes gathering individuals from all backgrounds to celebrate differences and learn from each other. Fear is often caused by lack of education. D&D creates culturally-informed programs that demystify the unknown, cultivate understanding, and stimulate collective healing. The overarching goal is to celebrate each culture's traditions as exceptional and essential elements of society. D&D works with all demographics, but specifically focuses on those who do not have access to exceptional arts programming. Rooted in cultural anthropology, social-emotional learning, and mindfulness practices, D&D's programs utilize dialogue and movement to cultivate empathy, and empowers participants to find joy from within themselves.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The All-City Workshops: An embodiment of the organization's name, each workshop starts with dialogue, which fosters curiosity and compassion, while simultaneously removing triggers to ensure participants feel comfortable, open, and included. D&D's facilitators offer prompts about societal challenges, racial equity, life experience. With the intention of creating a judgment- free, safe space, and eventually guide the discussion to movement- " How do you feel when you dance? What are do you need from others so you can feel safe and free to move bravely and authentically? What are you willing to offer others so they can feel that freedom as well?" By situating dialogue at the start of each program, D&D unearths and diffuses preconceived fears and notions. Joy begins to take center stage and suddenly, strangers have become friends. Participants are now ready to travel through master dance classes and a dance party/battle after lunch! Participants end the day with the understanding that they will uplift their local communities by performing in retirement homes, or in any way that will generate some positive impact. During the course of this project D&D assigns teaching artists to each school to offer guidance in preparing their public service offering(s). This is 8 classes of programming. Participants return to share their plans of paying it forward with each other &celebrate. Many students are BIPOC and this is their first opportunity to experience a cultural venue.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

D&D helps individuals and communities to heal and thrive. Some find their way out of poverty for the first time, or realize they can go to college if they want to, or, if not college, they can go to vocational school to learn a trade of their choice. Peer to peer relations become stronger, and families are learning to listen to one another. In order to have maximum impact in a community we meet people right where they are. Our teachers hold degrees in art therapy, drama therapy, sign language, theater, dance, cultural anthropology, and more. They are trained by Ricka, who has developed a teaching method that opens hearts and minds and fosters curiosity. Leading with the core values of empathy, safety, collaboration, and engagement, all teachers provide a space to decompress, heal, and express ones self fully and wholly. D&D prompts people to stop seeing each other as labels, but rather as unique human beings with wisdom to share. To bring all cultures in LA together like a tapestry.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

D&D collects qualitative and quantitative input. From anecdotal feedback to formal surveys, participant registration numbers, Lickert Scales, written reflections, returning schools and financial tracking, D&D gathers a holistic understanding of each programs impact, strengths, and areas for improvement. Ricka receives reports about the social-emotional & academic advancements of participants. Findings demonstrate that there is a significant and positive impact! The former principal at Wisdom Elementary had this to say about our programs: " In my 21 years as an educator, I have to credit Ricka Kelsch and her Dance and Dialogue team as being the most thoughtful and appropriate program for the children of this generation...They have discovered a platform for speaking about problems and solutions in a judgment free zone. Our students have accepted the power to make changes to their world and the world of others."- Connie Brandsetter, who has since taken a higher position within LAUSD.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,450

Indirect Impact: 8,000