Oklahoma City Community Foundation Grant Offers Inner-city Students an Opportunity to Dance

Studemts parcticing dance
Students at Prairie Queen Elementary School in southwest Oklahoma City enjoy free, after-school dance lessons provided by Prairie Dance Theatre. Photo by Brandon Snider

Five, six, seven, eight – and they’re off! It’s time to move. It’s time to twirl. Faces light up because it’s dance day!

At Prairie Queen Elementary School in southwest Oklahoma City, dance day is an opportunity for all students to experience the joy of dance thanks to a free program provided by Prairie Dance Theatre. For 30 minutes each week, the nonprofit organization offers free, introductory-level dance classes at a number Oklahoma City public elementary schools with support of a grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

“It’s heartwarming to see the students’ smiling faces and watch their eyes light up knowing it’s dance day,” said Prairie Dance Theatre artistic director Tonya Kilburn. “We don’t have them for long, but they learn so much. It’s incredible to watch the transformation and see their confidence grow.”

A grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Opportunities for Children iFund program allowed Prairie Dance Theatre to expand its program, providing more students with even more time to dance. In addition to in-school and after-school classes, the group now offers free dance camps for students to participate in during school breaks.

“Thanks to funding from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, our free dance camps allow us to reach children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate in dance lessons,” Kilburn said. “The camps also provide a safe alternative for students and families who do not always have child care during the long school breaks,” Kilburn said.

An initiative of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the iFund grant program utilizes gifts from donors to support services for children and elderly, as well as provide access to health care. Learn more at ifundokc.org.