Community Engagement

Saturdays in the Studio

Free Dance Classes
Sullivant Hall 390
10:30 am - 12 pm

  • September 23 - Momentum Dance Class
  • September 30 - Jazz Dance Class
  • October 28 - Breakdancing Dance Class
  • November 4 - Improv and Games Dance Class

Free dance classes for Columbus City middle school and high school students will be from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.. All Columbus students are welcome to attend, but the program is geared toward those with limited access to dance education. Arts education has numerous positive outcomes for students, including academic achievement, higher standardized test scores, social and emotional benefits and memory retention (Guhn et al. 2019; Bowen et al. 2019). Arts education remains inequitable and underfunded. Institutional barriers that prevent fair treatment and full participation in the arts are especially prominent when considering who has access to arts education and what cultural traditions and art forms are valued through classroom teaching. Through public programming at the intersection of social justice education, artmaking and activism, we welcome middle school and high school children from the inner city of Columbus to join us for free dance classes. 

Saturdays in the Studio flyer

Columbus Kids' Dance Day

The featured event of the year is Columbus Kids’ Dance Day. Dance teachers from across Columbus are invited to bring their students to Ohio State for a mutual dance exchange. During this event, local K-12 students will be able to take dance class from our Ohio State Dance majors and perform in the Barnett Theatre. Columbus Kids’ Dance Day encourages local K - 12 dance students to be affirmed and inspired by the Ohio State Dance community. If you would like your students to participate in Columbus Kids’ Dance Day, please contact Program Specialist Kylee Smith (

 PPA Partnership

Our research team has collaborated with Patriot Preparatory Academy (PPA) on programming centering youth empowerment and civic engagement through the visual and performing arts since September 2021. The mission of PPA is to encourage lifelong learners while simultaneously preparing students for college careers and engaged citizenship. Located near Whitehall, the K-12 charter school serves nearly 730 students who identify as 74.1% African-American/Black, 10.8% Hispanic, 6.7% Multiracial, 6.3% White, and 2.1% Asian, according to the school’s most recent annual report. The diverse student population is just one of the many reasons PPA is an educational community where youth thrive. Our project brings PPA community members together with Ohio State affiliates to collaborate on a range of arts programming engaging students in artmaking experiences that honor their perspectives, histories, knowledge, assets, skills and cultural practices.

During the 2021-2022 school year, the PPA-Ohio State Dance partnership implemented a student-led mural, art-based community-building workshops, school performances by undergraduate BFA dance majors, a field trip to Ohio State, and a series of Ghanaian storytelling sessions rooted in dance and drumming. Programming engaged 140 high school students, 178 middle school students, 131 elementary school students, 40 PPA teachers and administrators, and over 31 Ohio State affiliates during the partnership pilot year.

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Indianola Water Workshops and Field Trip

Indianola Informal is a K-8 Columbus City School that enrolls nearly 710 students, 45.6% of whom identify as non-White (US News & World Report). Ohio State Dance students and alumni taught a series of movement workshops for Indianola’s Middle School After School Program. Each of the workshops were connected to the existing Global Water Dances school curriculum.

Indianola 7th graders and dance students were able to eat lunch and explore the Ohio State Dance Department. Indianola students took a movement class and were able to watch Ohio State dancers perform Water Study by Dorris Humphrey.  

Summer Intensive

The Department of Dance launched its inaugural High School Summer Dance Intensive in the summer of 2021. Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown, Associate Professor of Dance, leads the ongoing development of this program with support from collaborators and experts working at the intersection of dance technique, dance education and pedagogy, racial equity and community-engagement. Dr. McCarthy-Brown brings decades of university and field-level leadership to bear on this project.

Numerous faculty members from the Department of Dance taught in the summer of 2021 and 2022. Their expertise comprised a wide range of aesthetics and styles including African, contemporary, improvisation and ballet. Our community partners include Thiossane Dance Institute, Flavor’d Flow Dance Studio, BalletMet, Dublin Dance Center, Columbus Dance Center, Transit Arts and many others.