Dance Performers Wanted!

Kern County dance organizations are invited to apply to be the official Books in Motion performers. Dance organizations will be responsible for choosing a story from the Books in Motion bibliography, create a performance reflecting the story (maximum 15 minutes), and choreograph a 1 to 1.5 minute dance that relates to the story to teach the participating children. Dance organizations will be given, at minimum, a $850 honorarium for their Books in Motion participation

NEW of 2021!

Due to COVID-19 limitations of face to face experiences, Books in Motion will be available via professionally produced films accessible on the web and social media networks. KDA has teamed up with Kelly Hargraves, Dance Camera West Artistic/Executive Director, to assist dance organizations in producing their Books in Motion film! From the first step of creating choreography for the camera to post production, Kelly and her professional team will assist dance organizations every step of the way!

Kelly is a dance film creator and curator from Canada who currently lives in California. In September 2018 she was named the Executive and Artistic Director of Dance Camera West, after co-founding the Los Angeles festival of dance film in 2001.

Kelly has a Masters in Dance Film from NYU (with a concentration in Dance and Film History), an Honours BFA in Contemporary Dance from Concordia University and an Honours BA in Communication Studies (with a Minor in Theater History) from the University of Windsor.

Dance organizations will be required to:

1) Narrate/perform the book or a segment of the book

2) Create choreography for children to learn that correspondes to the book theme

3) Provide basic costumes and theatrics

4) Create a Books in Motion film with Kelly Hargraves and team

5) Provide proof of insurance

6) Cooperate with Kern Dance Alliance as artistic collaborators

7) Verify KDA Organization Membership- not a KDA Member? JOIN HERE! 

Books in Motion Schedule:

April 9: Books in Motion Performer Applications DUE

April 16: Books in Motion Performers Selected and Notified

April 19-23- Books in Motion Information Meetings

May 1-June 30- Book in Motion pre production, production, post production

July 1- Books in Motion videos launch

Books in Motion® is a FREE literacy program that encourages reading through dancing! Kern Dance Alliance, Kern County Library, and Kern Literacy Council have launched a digital version of their annual summer reading program Books in Motion: DANCE + LITERACY.  As COVID-19 limits opportunities for in-person experiences, the organizations have pivoted to continue to bring dance and literacy to life through digital dance performances. 

Throughout the summer, various Books in Motion performances will be released online to inspire children to read through dance!  Featuring beloved children’s books like 12 Dancing Princesses and Elephants Cannot Dance, Books in Motion videos will feature a narration and performance of the book, as well as choreography children can learn to promote the book’s theme while keeping fit through movement and dance!  Additionally, the videos will feature a craft session utilizing pipe cleaners to create dancers so that children can continue to role play at home.  Finally, children will be able to pick up a FREE book and a craft kit from various Kern County libraries via curbside pickup throughout the county.  Library branches include Arvin, Beale, Delano, Kern River Valley, Ridgecrest, Taft, and Tehachapi. 

Books in Motion is geared for students in the early literacy stages (K-3rd grade) and is designed to tap into their imagination and encourage them to read books. For some, reading is a concept that is too foreign to understand due to age and brain development. Books in Motion will bypass this intangible feeling by allowing children to see the magic of a book laid out on with real characters coming to life. Children do not have to read the words – they can read the dancers’ movements. By tapping into curiosity, children will be motivated to explore literacy, which leads them back to the written words that brought the book to life.

The 4th annual Books in Motion program is a collaboration with four contracted Kern County dance organizations: Bakersfield City Ballet, McLaughlin Dance Collective/Civic Dance Center, Polynesian Spice, and Spotlight Dance Academy.

Books in Motion has been generously funded by Chevron, the Robert Grimm Family Foundation, Virginia and Alfred Harrell Foundation and Kern Family Health Care. 

  1. Create motivation and interest in reading- The Books in Motion bibliography taps into curiosity via dance performances. . . children will be motivated to explore literacy, which leads them back to the written words that brought the book to life.
  2. Create motivation and encouragement for movement through dance – Children learn choreography to reinforce their critical thinking of the story.
  3. Cover Common Core State Standards in Reading Literature for grades K-3rd grade- Books in Motion text covers Common Core Standards for Reading Literature including but not limited to: Ask questions to demonstrate understanding of a text; recount stories from diverse cultures; determine the central message and explain how it is conveyed through key details; describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
  4. Instill a sense of connection and ownership of reading through listening and viewing of stories- Children dance choreography corresponding with the Books in Motion text. Children produce art reflecting the session’s teachings. Children take a free Books in Motion book home.
  5. Foster creative abilities of youth through cultural arts learning- Books in Motion supports literacy development through unified thematic experiences of dance, crafting, and story-telling.
  6. Activate Youth Voices- Books in Motion actives youth voices during the craft session with children speaking about the book and creating a craft that coincides with the session’s teachings.
  7. Critical Thinking- The Books in Motion evaluation promotes critical thinking by asking questions about the book.

Learning how to read begins at birth and continues through 3rd grade.  Once a child enters 4th grade, studies show that those that are not proficient readers will find difficulty in adjusting to complicated English, Grammar, and Literature applications.  Children begin to read by learning the sounds of spoken word.  They begin to understand written language when they are read to, and their comprehension of reading and writing is increased upon entering a formalized education (K-3rd).

Studies also show that not every child learns at the same pace, nor in the same manner; therefore, offering multiple ways to grasp educational applications is necessary for the growth of every child.  Books in Motion will provide a visual, aural, verbal, and physical (kinesis) opportunity to engage in literacy. By utilizing kinesis, movement and action replaces more passive forms of learning, such as listening to a lecture. We have all forgotten facts once memorized in a classroom, but we seem to be able to remember dance moves we once learned. By connecting the different ways in which we learn, Books in Motion enables effective understanding and retention of information in addition to infusing abstract literacy concepts with a physical meaning. Because movement allows a student an alternative approach to the information, students learn when they are receptive.

Locally, only 28% of Kern County 3rd graders meet or exceed grade level standards for English Language Arts (Ca Assessment of Student Performance and Progress 2014-15). 15% of Kern County adults have not attained a 9th grade literacy level (US Census Bureau, 2010). 13.9% of Kern County adults lack the basic literacy skills necessary to perform daily job functions (US Census Bureau, 2010), and 16.2% Kern County adults over 25 years are high school dropouts (CA. Dept. of Education, 2014).   Books in Motion was conceived to assist in combatting these dismal numbers. Providing a free, hands-on, innovative approach to assisting children with their literacy journey is the main objective.  According to the Kern Literacy Council, one of the top factors for predicting school success for students is to increase the number of spoken words for children in early childhood.  Books in Motion celebrates the opportunity to increase accessibility to literacy and the arts, while also focusing on the 34% of Kern County residents that do not have an income sufficient to meet basic needs and whose children growing up in these low-income households hear approximately 30 million fewer words by the time they reach their fourth birthday (Report on the Status of Women + Girls in Kern County 2015).

Books in Motion features story-telling, performance, choreography, and crafting.

Story-telling + Performance – Children will listen to the narration of a children’s book while viewing an accompanying dance performance.

Dance – Children learn/perform choreography in an injury-free, nurturing environment from dancers based upon the Books in Motion text. Kinesthetic learning, attitude, and confidence are emphasized during the class.

Small Group Crafting – Children create crafts corresponding to the Books in Motion text. Children and guardians are encouraged to work together, producing a creative product reflecting the session’s teachings.

Evaluation– Children are prompted to answer questions via critical thinking about the Books in Motion text reflecting the Common Core Standards for Reading Literature. 

We are pleased to offer FREE craft kits and books available for curbside pick up at Kern County library branches.  2021 sites will be announced soon! 

BIM Survey

Have you enjoyed a Books in Motion experience?  Tell us about it by taking 2 minutes to fill out our survey!

Books in Motion is FREE to all participants and is made possible by generous donations from our community. You can help others to participate in Books in Motion by becoming a donor:

  • $100 affords craft supplies for one Books in Motion session
  • $250 affords one Books in Motion Dance Organization Honorarium
  • $1000 affords craft sessions for an entire summer of Books in Motion
  • $3,500 affords free books for one Books in Motion session
  • $12,000 affords an entire summer of Books in Motion

2021 Books in Motion partners will be announced soon!