In Schools

IMG_4232Our educational residency programming is three tiered. We offer in-school performances, one-day workshops, and long term artist residency programs.



Using a narrative theme chosen by the school and suggestions from the audience, ODP Ensemble members build a live dance/theater/music performance right in front of the students’ eyes. We use student suggestions to generate choreography, dialogue and music for the show, which can be used to reinforce a particular curricular or social theme that the school is focusing on, while simultaneously teaching dance, theater and music vocabulary and skills. 


Experience the fast moving fun of spark plugs and pistons in this hyper-physical romp through the mechanics of motors and engines and the inventive minds of their creators. Everyday applications of math, science and engineering are highlighted in this live performance featuring original music, theatre and dance.

Length: The shows run 35-minutes with an additional 5-10 minutes for a question and answer session with the students at the end. We generally request that schools schedule 50 minutes for the performance slot to allow for students coming in and leaving the theater. 



  • Open Dance Project’s classroom workshops are ensemble driven, interdisciplinary (dance/music/theater) composition workshops where students work together through improvisation and creative movement and drama exercises to create choreography, music and text based on a subject or theme given to us by the classroom teacher or school. These short workshops are completely process oriented, framing the students as art-makers, empowering them to find their individual creative voice and work collaboratively with an ensemble of their peers. All classroom workshops are co-taught by a two artist team who model the collaborative process they are teaching the students. 


  • Our residency programs extend the classroom workshop into a more fully-developed, progressive format that allows for the students to engage in the generation, development and rehearsal of a more fully realized performance that is shared with the school community in an informal “share-out” event that demonstrates the skills and vocabulary learned in the classroom in addition to the final performance that has been collaboratively developed by the students. These residencies usually involve multiple classrooms and/or grade levels and often kick-off with Open Dance Project’s “STAGING STORY LIVE” performance in a school assembly, which serves to introduce the school to the artists who will be teaching in the classrooms as well as the creative process that the classroom workshops will follow.  

What do Open Dance Project workshops and residencies do?
  • Create Original Performance. The performances created by students in an Open Dance Project residency are entirely original and based on the dance choreographed, text written, and music composed by the students themselves.  By emphasizing original composition, Open Dance Project encourages students to contemplate the structure of different performance elements and define what makes created material stage worthy, leading young artists to a greater and more holistic understanding of storytelling and performance.
  • Create Collaboratively. The performances created in an Open Dance Project residency are composed collaboratively, by the ensemble.  This means that students are not only gaining an understanding of how performance is created from their Open Dance Project instructors, they are also actively collaborating with the instructors and their fellow students.  The process of creating performance collaboratively gives the individual artist an appreciation of the diversity of ideas in the room, and the way in which each individual’s idea is strengthened by the context of their fellow collaborators’ contributions. It also allows the ensemble to experience the joy of shared achievement.
  • Use Dance, Theater, and Music. By teaching the common vocabulary of the performing disciplines of dance, theater, and music, Open Dance Project offers multiple opportunities for students with diverse artistic interests to enter the creative process.  Open Dance Project instructors believe firmly in the concept of multiple intelligences. Some students are kinesthetic learners and will connect to the choreographic exercises; some learn rhythmically or melodically and will excel at the composition of music for the performance; some connect with language and will compose highly creative and stage-worthy monologues or dialogues.  By making all three performing disciplines accessible as tools for storytelling and performance, Open Dance Project makes room for students of many learning styles.
  • Empower the Individual Artist. Though the emphasis in a Open Dance Project residency is on the collaborative creation of material, the instructors also build into every compositional exercise a moment in which each individual can shine.  It may be in asking an individual student to lead an exercise, or to stage a theatrical moment, or to choreograph the movement to accompany a particular part of a song. Allowing room for the individual student artist’s voice to be heard strengthens the individual’s sense of his or her own artistry and understanding of how that artistry contributes to a larger work.