A project of Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective Inc
Through the art of dance, we assist and nurture children affected by natural and/or socio-economic disasters.
Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective shows a commitment to inspiring and educating young minds through artistic expression by providing free arts camps. The student-centered outreach has helped hundreds of children improve life skills such as: creative thinking, conflict resolution, problem solving, teamwork, communication skills, discipline and self -confidence.
IPDC works specifically with children, age 6 to 18, in areas affected by natural or socio-economic disaster. Over 50% of IPDC participants are African-American. Approximately 20% is multi-racial and another 20% is Hispanic. Approximately 10% are Caucasian. About 55% of children at camp are female. Children come from various religious and family backgrounds. A common denominator in all locations is that over 50% of children at camp live at or below the poverty level. “New Orleans, where 40% of children live in poverty, is the 3 rd poorest city in the nation for children.” according to The Catholic Campaign for Human Development. “Philadelphia has one of the highest child poverty rates in the US, with 1 child out of 3 living at or below the federal poverty line.” according to the Philadelphia GROW Project. The CIA World FactBook reports “Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty.” Those figures were before the earthquake, and those percentages are expected to increase in the economic aftermath.
The greatest success of Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective has been providing hope and consistency to children who have been deeply damaged. IPDC programs use art as therapy, giving under-served children an opportunity to express thoughts and feelings that may otherwise go unexplored. At the first camp in New Orleans in 2007, Tiffany, age 8, said, “Sometimes I just need to play to get some stuff off my mind.” IPDC arts camps provide a safe place for her and others to play, create, and share their personal stories. While working with IPDC, students learn that their artistic voices deserve to be heard. Through this unique creative exchange they gain self-confidence, a major accomplishment given their adverse living situations.
Another accomplishment is the developing of children into respectful, cooperative, imaginative learners eager to contribute to their communities. Campers are encouraged to work together as a team to resolve artistic or relational problems that might hinder the experience of performing. The shared purpose of giving back to their damaged community through an original live performance inevitably brings out the best in the participants. The overwhelming response from family members in attendance is extreme gratitude. One teary-eyed mother said, “Thank you so much for coming to teach my daughter. All of our neighbors are gone and she doesn’t have anywhere safe to play.” Even anonymous cyberspace friends laud the “selfless giving of time and energy”. IPDC arts camps unite the community in support of their children.
Building on the success of their camp presentations, the young performers return to school determined to embrace all aspects of learning. Teachers report improved enthusiasm, focus, participation, and academic progress. The streets of North Philadelphia and New Orleans have taught children to look out for themselves and their immediate family. At IPDC camps, the importance of community, kindness, and respect is emphasized. These attributes prepare them for meaningful relationships at school and in the workplace.