In Parkside, a program called danceLogic is blurring the lines between the arts and tech by training young girls of color in both choreography and software programming.
Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the program, led by a nonprofit called the West Park Cultural Center, offers young women of color age 13 to 18 with an hour of dance training followed by an hour of coding classes, a combo that brings to life the STEAM acronym (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).
“It’s providing them with new ways of thinking, just by the fact that they have to think about what they’re learning and doing coding and how that inspires what they do, as far as creating their own original choreography,” the nonprofit’s founder, Betty Lindley, told Inquirer reporter Heather Khalifa. “It does open up career possibilities, because coding can be very lucrative, and they’re in industries that are looking to have more females.”
Philly’s tech market added more than 8,000 jobs last year, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seven out of every 10 full-time employees in the local tech industry are male.
Here’s what Lauryn Dorsett, 14, had to say about the program:
“I really do feel like it’s empowered me,” Dorsett said. “I was sort of like a shy girl. I didn’t really dance much. So, when I started dancing more … it helped me a lot more to, like, break out of my shell and start going places with it. Basically, it helped me build who I am.”
“In contemporary ballet, there are very specific technical requirements in posture, placement and movement execution,” she wrote. “However, when combining these things to create choreography, the rules are much less strict. How a piece comes together is up to you. Programming is very similar.”
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