Now in its 26th year, The Wooden Floor (formerly Saint Joseph Ballet) is an arts-for-youth organization effectively combining dance education with academic and family programs for underserved youth and teens in Santa Ana, Calif. The organization challenges the assumptions about who can create art – assumptions sometimes based on race, sex, gender and class stereotypes.
The core program develops artistic skills through dance training and performance opportunities, focusing on the values that accompany dance-making – curiosity, research, inventiveness, the value of subjectivity and multiple perspectives, and the ability to work with abstractions. Academic and family services support scholastic achievement, facilitate college access, and address financial, family and emotional stresses – factors that may inhibit full participation in the artistic experience. Saint Joseph Ballet commissions internationally established choreographers and designers to create new work for and with its students. The organization recently received an invitation to perform in January 2010 at REDCAT/Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre in Los Angeles.