NEWSLETTER — December 2022


KDA is pleased to produce another year in review – lucky number seven! We enjoyed looking back on the year and are mindful that our reflections help us to celebrate our wins, capture our lessons, and remember what we accomplished.

In hindsight, 2022 had a bumpy start. Omicron was emerging and the world continued to shutter from the impacts of the pandemic. Reflecting on lessons learnt from the previous two years, the KDA board treaded slowly into our 2022 season. Deliberating on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, KDA was hesitant to plan live programs due to the uncertainty of what the future may hold. 

As March approached and the world began to open again, KDA made a triumphant return to a live format with the launch of DANCING WITH THE ANGELS, an arts collaboration with the Bakersfield Angels benefitting our foster care community.  After two years of hosting digital programs, momentum quickly shifted and KDA ran full steam ahead into more live projects.

From the spring on, KDA launched program after program and positively enjoyed seeing people benefitting from movement and dance. While returning back to normal operations was considered a “win”, we were also overjoyed to see our programs garner support from our community once again.  

A few of the year’s highlights include:

  • Commissioning artists – KDA is intent on supporting artists by providing paying jobs.  2022 marked KDA’s most impactful year to day by commissioning our largest number of artists. We were pleased to contribute to our creative economy by paying 53 artists for projects.

  • Dancing With the Angels – We danced. We made art. We drummed. We experienced the joy of the arts connecting our community in ways that were meaningful and impactful.

  • Open Stage – KDA offered Kern County dance artists access to the Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater for FREE! Artists used their time on stage for a variety of initiatives and we were so proud to watch their creativity flow.

  • Books in Motion – BIM returned to an in person format and featured the most dance artists in the history of the program encouraging thousands of Kern County children to read!

  • National Dance Day – We celebrated our national dance holiday by hosting Kern County’s largest dance party of the year. Local, state, national, and international artists joined us at Mechanics Bank Arena for 36 classes taught in 9 hours for ONLY $5 a class!

  • Children’s Dance Education and Outreach Event – Kern County dance artists came together to support one of our most vulnerable populations, at risk youth, by offering an uplifting day of arts-centric experiences at one of our most beloved theaters, the Fox Theater!

  • NHSDA KDA inducted our largest National Honors Society for Dance Arts class to date. Five Kern County high school students excelling in artistry, leadership, and academic achievement were inducted into the USA’s most prestigious honors society for dancers.

  • KDA Creative Corps – KDA was one of fourteen California arts agencies to be awarded $4,223,447 by the California Arts Council (CAC) to administer the California Creative Corps program throughout the Central Valley and Eastern Sierra region of the state.

We two-stepped into 2022 and we leave this year’s dance feeling more accomplished and more focused on what is to come! KDA cares deeply about supporting the arts in Kern County and we are thankful to our donors, partners, members, and volunteers that continue to provide valuable resources that MOVE our cause. Thank you for supporting KDA, our community is better because of people like YOU!

In the spirit of dance. . . 

Andrea Hansen, M.F.A.

KDA President

Saturday, April 9
Garces Memorial High School
136 Participants

On April 9, KDA had the honor of serving alongside some amazing angels that truly live to give. Dancing with the Angels was a collaborative project with the Bakersfield Angels using the arts to connect our foster care community through movement, music, and visual art. 

The Dancing with the Angels event hosted dance classes taught by Kern County dance educators from the Bakersfield City Ballet, Bakersfield Line Dancers, and DAT Krew. Additionally, the Playful Space provided hands-on visual art experiences, and a music education class that offered a “bucket band” experience rooted in an introduction to drumming taught by Stephen Penner. 

Dancing with the Angels was a FREE event.  Participants received snacks donated by Bolthouse Farms, a free lunch sponsored by Subway, and they took home a commemorative Dancing with the Angels t-shirt. 

Dancing with the Angels was created with the intent to connect parents/guardians with their children. Dancing with the Angels fostered creativity and self-expression, promoted trust and communication, built confidence and teamwork, and offered a day where achievements were celebrated and memories were made through a valued community experience. 

We danced. We made art. We drummed. We experienced the joy of the arts connecting our community in ways that were meaningful and impactful. 

Video courtesy of Adam David Welch. 


Bakersfield City Ballet
Bakersfield Line Dancers 
Anais Cordebard
DAT Krew
The Playful Space
Stephen Penner
Garces Memorial High School
Bolthouse Farms
Fab 5 Yard Cards 
Sassy’s Balloonz 
Annie Payne
Adam Welch

Sunday, April 24
The Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater
312 participants

On Sunday, April 24 KDA opened the Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater stage to Kern County dance artists for FREE! Artists used their exclusive time for a variety of endeavors and we enjoyed seeing over 300 people come through the theater on that special day.

Dance artists presented private performances, rehearsed for upcoming shows, filmed marketing materials, created dance for film projects, and filmed audition reels. For many, this was their FIRST TIME stepping foot on the famous Fox stage and KDA was delighted to be able experience that first moment with them.

Thank you Kern County dance artists for taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity – we are honored to serve you!

My Dance And Fitness Studio
Victoria Marchetti
Juliet Thorner Elementary School
Aloha Entertainment by Polynesian Spice
McLaughlin Dance Collective 

Thank you Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater for your support of KDA! 

Sunday, March 27
Bakersfield Marathon
Number of Runners: 2
Total Raised: $1614
Total Number of Donors: 27

KDA was proud to participate in the Bakersfield Marathon on Sunday, March 27.  KDA President, Andrea Hansen, and KDA Jr Board Member, Victoria Marchetti, ran a collective 29.1 miles to increase the visibility of KDA’s cause and raise funds for our programs. KDA asked for donations in increments of marathon-inspired amounts that started at JUST $6.21 (representing the mileage of a 10k)! No donation was too small or too big, and, as always, KDA was very grateful for the support. KDA was able to raise $1614 via 27 donor gifts.


Step 1: Professional Dance Photography – March 18-20

Step 2: Resume Writing Workshops – June 24

Step 3: Professional conference featuring faculty from America’s most recognized college and university dance programs – September 17

Step 4: Interview Training Seminars + Mock Interviews – November 28 

Step 5: College Essay Writing + Review – December 20

5 Steps to Success: Moving your College Dance Application to the Next Level was a program designed for dancers to discover and complete a successful path to pursue dance beyond high school. According to the most recent census data, Kern County experiences lower percentages of college educated individuals as compared to other counties in California. Furthermore, Kern County is especially underserved with respect to higher education opportunities for dancers and other creatives to learn about pathways of acquiring a higher education in the arts. There are no local college fairs for dancers and high school fairs rarely focus on the arts. While online fairs are available, they are often very expensive which can exclude dancers from our economically disadvantaged areas.  5 Steps to Success; Moving Your College Dance Application to the Next Level offered students an opportunity to understand the vast landscape of colleges and universities that offer dance as a major.  Additionally, this program taught students that they can be successful at attending one of those schools and how a college dance major will serve them beyond their academic years. 

Conceived by KDA Jr Board Member, Victoria Marchetti, 5 Steps to Success was created because Victoria felt there were not enough resources available to high students to assist them with their college dance application process. 

“As a high school student, I am beginning my college application process. I found that there are not many resources available to assist students with their college dance applications. I created 5 Steps because wanted to support Kern County dancers so they realize they have support from KDA as they create their own successful college application that will hopefully result in acceptance in to a higher education dance program!”

Step 1: Dance Photography Session – Dancers were provided the opportunity to obtain free professional headshots, arabesque shots, and jump photos for their applications. This session was located at Mesh Co-Work on March 18-20. Dance photographer Nancy Lynn Miller provided over 50 proofs for dancers to choose from. 

Step 2: Dance Resume Writing Workshop – The step was offered on June 24 and assisted dancers with crafting a resume tailored to college dance program application requirements. The free workshop was hosted over zoom in collaboration with Kat Clowes from March Consulting. Kat covered topics from how “not all resumes are created equal”, Anne Draucker covered how the professional resume is used, and Andrea Hansen talked on “getting prepared for your resume”. Dancers left the zoom prepared to create their resumes with helpful resources and new professional contacts to ask for assistance if needed. 

Step 3: Professional Conference with College/University Faculty –  KDA’s National Dance Day coincided with step 3 that featured several college and university faculty on Saturday, September 17 at Mechanics Bank Arena. The series featured Christopher Compton – Assistant Professor, University of Arizona School of Dance, Lil Buck – Movement Artist, Memphis Jookin’, and Juilliard Creative Associate, Dr. Suzanne Knosp – Professor Emeritus: Music Director, University of Arizona School of Dance, and Saleemah E. Knight – Choreographer, Performer, and Professor, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. 

  1. COLLEGE DANCE PANEL moderated by March Consulting President, Kat Clowes –Students were invited to learn about dancing their way through college by participating in a professional workshop featuring dance faculty and alumni from American colleges and universities. This special program provided a focused session on how to find college dance programs and apply, life in college as a dancer,  Q/As designed specifically for parents and guardians to ask questions, specific information about grants, scholarships, loans, and more. The faculty members offered students their personal emails to ask questions about their programs and even invited several students to their campus to audition for their programs. 

  2. AUDITION ESSENTIALS PANEL with Celebrity Guest Master Teachers – Students learned from the college faculty members on how to stick out from a crowd at their next audition. They were able to learn about proper etiquette, what to wear, and general tools to ensure they are cast in their next coveted role or receive acceptance into their dream program.

  3. DANCE FOR CAMERA SEMINAR with Dance Camera West Artistic/Executive Director, Kelly Hargraves – This session offered insight for those with an interest in filmmaking and creating choreography for the camera. Kelly Hargraves provided advice on how to make a college dance audition video and how to create a choreography reel.  

  4. MOCK AUDITION CLASS with USC Kaufman School of Dance Faculty, Saleemah Knight – At the end of the day, students were invited to test the knowledge they had learned that day by participating in a mock audition class taught by USC Kaufman School of Dance Faculty, Saleemah Knight. Students were able to gain the experience necessary to take on a challenging audition to see they how they faired.  Best of all,  feedback was provided post-audition to give students the courage to take on their next upcoming audition. 

Step 4: Interview Seminar –  Step 4 prepared dancers for interviews through a Zoom session that was led by KDA 1st Vice President and interview specialist, Marcie Hronis. Marcie offered dancers the skills to nail their interviews by creating an “awesome list” derived from the dancer’s resume.  The session provided dancers with assurance that they can take control of their interviews by leading with their personal assets and skills. 

Step 5: Essay Writing Workshop and Review – Dancers had the opportunity to submit essay drafts for KDA board members to review. 

Overall, this program helped prepare dancers to pursue dance beyond high school by providing them  with the knowledge, tools, and support through the application process.

NHSDA Information Meeting – March 3

KDA offered an information session on Thursday, March 3 via Zoom for students interested in learning more about the National Honors Society for Dance Arts.  Led by KDA’s 2nd Vice President, Whitney Pascual, students were able to learn more about the USA’s most prestigious honors society for dancers who excel in artistry, leadership, and academic achievements. Students learned about the application process and that they must submit their applications by April 1 to be considered for induction.

NHSDA Induction Ceremony
Sunday, May 24
Bakersfield County Club
5 Inductees

KDA celebrated our fourth class of National Honor Society for Dance Arts / Kern Dance Alliance Secondary Chapter inductees – Avery Wood, Victoria Marchetti, Grayson Gallella, Alex Zaletel, and Kaya Leyendecker. Students received honors cord and pin, as well as a NHSDA plaque during the NHSDA luncheon at Bakersfield Country Club on May 24.

Avery is an honors student at Heartland Charter School.  He has trained at J and M Dance Center, Civic Dance Center, and is a company member with the Bakersfield City Ballet.  He has competed in the Youth Grand American Prix and has spent his summers at the Boston Ballet School and Los Angeles Ballet.  He spent his summer attending the Rock School and Pacific Northwest Ballet summer intensives. 

Victoria is an honors student at Liberty High School.  She trains at Civic Dance Center and is a company member with the Bakersfield City Ballet.  Victoria has spent a summer at Ballet West and attended the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Joffrey School summer intensives in New York City this past summer. Victoria is an accomplished dance filmmaker and has served as the KDA Student Intern and currently as a KDA Junior Board Member. 

Grayson is an honors student at Heartland Charter School.  He has trained at J and M Dance Center, Civic Dance Center, Antelope Valley Ballet and is a company member with the Bakersfield City Ballet.  He has participated in the Spotlight, KAR, and Jump conventions and he has competed in the Youth Grand American Prix.  He attended the Ballet Austin summer intensive last summer. 

Alex is an honors student at Liberty High School. She trains at Civic Dance Center and is a company member with the Bakersfield City Ballet.  She has competed in the Youth Grand American Prix, has attended the Tiler Peck Summer Intensive, and she attended the American Ballet Theater summer intensive this past summer.

Kaya is an honors student at Bakersfield Christian High School.  She trains at Mallory Academy of Dance and has competed in several dance conventions and competitions.  Kaya is a triple threat – excelling in acting, dancing and singing. She was NYC-bound this past summer to attend the Broadway Artist Alliance summer intensive.

KDA continues to accept nomination applications and looks forward to future inductions.


Tuesday, May 3
Total Raised: $2015
Total Number of Donors: 39

KDA raised $2015 and WON the FARTHEST AWAY DONATION AWARD from the Kern Community Foundation equaling an extra gift of $300 on May 3. Additionally, KDA experienced 100% board participation with all members donations at lead $5. Gifts supported KDA essential programs and services. BRAVO to all that donated, liked, clicked, and shared – we are humbled by your bighearted ways!


Summer 2022

  • Number of Performances: 26
  • Number of Locations: 15
  • Number of Artists: 54
  • Number of Participants: 1880
  • Number of Assessments: 732
  • Number of FREE Books Given Away: 1355


Celebrating 6 years, Books in Motion® (BIM) is an award-nominated FREE summer literacy program that encourages reading through dancing by focusing on Common Core Standards for Reading  Literature for children, K-3rd. After two years of presenting BIM in a digital format due to the pandemic, KDA was proud to work in collaboration with the Kern County Library, Kern Literacy Council, and Kern County dance organizations by bringing this beloved program back to an in-person format. 

Between July 7 – August 12, 2022 families had the opportunity to visit Kern County library branches to watch 26 dance performance based upon a well-known children’s book, engage in kinesis by learning choreography, and participate in creating a craft that coincided with the book’s theme. At the culmination of the session, children were divided into groups based upon age/level and posed questions to evaluate their comprehension.  At the end, children were able to take home a FREE book after participating in the evaluation.

The 6th annual Books in Motion program was made possible through the creative vision of Kern County dance artists.  Eight contracted Kern County dance organizations worked to bring books to life through delightful performances and skilled choreography.  The Bakersfield City Ballet, McLaughlin Dance Collective, Spotlight Dance Academy, Spotlight Academy of the Arts, Aloha Entertainment, DAT Krew, DANCENATION, and Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels performed at 15 library locations.

Books in Motion featured the following beloved children’s books:

  • “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang”
  • “Cha Cha Chimps”
  • “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”
  • “Peter and the Wolf”
  • “Groovicorns”
  • “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”
  • Rainbow Fish”
  • “Goodnight Hawaii”


To officially kick off Books in Motion this summer, New York City Ballet principal dancer and Bakersfield native, Tiler Peck, visited Bakersfield’s Beale Memorial Library on June 22 @ 1:00 pm for a live reading of her second book “Katarina Ballerina and the Victory Dance”.  Accompanied by her co-author, Kyle Harris (Broadway, film and television star), Ms. Peck and Mr. Harris provided a live reading of their book, taught a mini dance lesson, participated in a Q&A session and an autograph signing to an audience of over 300.  Free Katarina Ballerina books were donated by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, and were available on a first-come, first-serve basis for attendees.

Books in Motion was made possible by generous support from the Robert Grimm Family Foundation, Chevron, Alfred and Virginia Harrell Foundation, Kern Family Health Care, Adventist Health, and 23ABC. 


July 7 @ 1:00 pm, Southwest Branch, “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang” –  McLaughlin Dance Collective

July 18 @ 1:00 pm, Southwest Branch,  “Cha Cha Chimps” – DanceNation

July 21 @ 1:00 pm, Wilson Branch, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Bakersfield City Ballet 

July 25 @ 11:30 am, Beale Branch, “Cha Cha Chimps” – DanceNation

July 26 @ 3:00 pm, Rathbun Branch, “Cha Cha Chimps” – DanceNation

July 27 @ 4:30 pm, Wilson Branch, “Groovicorns” – DAT Krew

August 1 @ 3:00 pm, Mojave Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 1 @ 3:30 pm, Baker Branch, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Bakersfield City Ballet 

August 2 @ 3:00 pm, Rosamond Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 2 @ 4:30 pm, Tehachapi Branch, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Bakersfield City Ballet 

August 3 @ 12:00 pm, Wilson Branch, “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”- Spotlight Dance Academy 

August 3 @ 4:30 pm, Northeast Branch, “Groovicorns” – DAT Krew

August 3, @ 3:00 pm, California City Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 4 @ 1:00 pm, Beale Branch, “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang” –  McLaughlin Dance Collective

August 4 @ 12:00 pm, Southwest Branch, “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”- Spotlight Dance Academy 

August 4 @ 4:00 pm, Holloway-Gonzales Branch, “Goodnight Hawaii” – Aloha Entertainment 

August 4 @ 3:00 pm, Ridgecrest Branch, “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 5 @ 11:30 am, Shafter, “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang” –  McLaughlin Dance Collective

August 5 @ 12:00 pm, Beale Branch, “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”- Spotlight Dance Academy 

August 5 @ 3:00 pm, Boron Branch,  “Peter and the Wolf” – Heather Benes and the East Kern Ragtag Revels

August 8 @ 12:00 pm, Beale Branch, “Rainbow Fish” – Spotlight Academy for the Arts

August 9 @ 12:00 pm, Southwest Branch, “Rainbow Fish” – Spotlight Academy for the Arts

August 10 @ 12:00 pm, WIlson Branch, “Rainbow Fish” – Spotlight Academy for the Arts (En Espanõl)

August 10 @ 4:00 pm, Northeast Branch, “Goodnight Hawaii” – Aloha Entertainment 

August 10 @ @ 4:30, Beale Branch, “Groovicorns” – DAT Krew

August 12 @ 3:30 pm, Delano Branch, “Goodnight Hawaii” – Aloha Entertainment


Books in Motion En Español

2022 featured Books in Motion performances in Spanish.  Spotlight Dance Academy toured Rainbow Fish to the WIlson Library and provided the participants with a Spanish-speaking experience. 

Repeat Attendance 

BIM was thrilled to see many community members attend a variety of performances.  Children and their families were delighted to not only attend multiple performances of the same book, they also attended various performances of the other books on tour. It became clear many children wanted to collect as many of the BIM books as possible and we were happy to see their faces many times throughout the summer. 


BIM partnered with 23ABC to produce a series of coverage including a public service announcement and several “artist spotlights” highlighting the BIM artists featured in the summer of 2022.  

BIM was also pleased to receive media coverage for the summer 2022 tour via a variety of other news media outlets:

July 7, 2022 BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN: Reading is fun-damental for KDA’s Books in Motion

June 22, 2022, ABC/KBAK Channel 23: Kern Dance Alliance’s Books in Motion program promotes literacy

June 21, 2022 NBC/KGET Channel 17 : Tiler Peck to read her second book at Kern Dance Alliance’s 6th Annual Books in Motion program

July 10, 2021 ABC/KBAK Channel 23:  : Books in Motion Inspires Children’s Literacy

July 8, 2021 BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN: Love of reading, dance in sync for Books in Motion

July 3, 2021 ABC/KBAK Channel 23: Dance organizations come together to inspire children literacy 


The goals of Books in Motion include the following:

    • Create motivation and interest in reading
    • Create motivation and encouragement for movement through dance
    • Cover Common Core State Standards in Reading Literature for grades K-3rd grade
    • Instill a sense of connection and ownership of reading through listening and viewing of stories
    • Support literacy development through unified thematic experience of art, dance, and story-telling

To achieve the Books in Motion goals, assessments were created based upon the following Common Core Standards for Reading Literature, K-3rd grade for “Splat the Cat with A Bang and Clang”, “Cha  Cha Chimps”, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”, “Peter and the Wolf”, “Groovicorns”, “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie”, “Rainbow Fish”, “Goodnight Hawaii”:

Kindergarten RL.K.1-RL.K.7 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text; retell familiar stories; identify characters, settings, and major events in a story; describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear.

1st Grade RL.1.1-1.7 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text; retell stories and demonstrate understanding of their central message; describe characters, settings, and major events in a story; identify words and phrases in stories or poems that appeal to the senses; use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

2nd Grade RL.2.1-2.7 Ask questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text; recount stories and determine their central message, lesson, or moral; describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges; describe how words supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song; use information gained from the illustrations and words to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.  

3rd RL.3.1 Ask questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers; recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text; describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events; explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story.


KDA received 732 assessments resulting in 38.94% of attendees responding to the BIM survey that was available both online and in person. While the data below does not reflect all 100% of attendees, it does show that the program served a diverse population specific to geographic location, age, and gender. The surveys found that 33% of children reported that their favorite part of the program was the performance and taking a dance class. Results also found that many of the books presented were brand new to the children, and that the children reported feeling inspired to read books and take a future dance class. Books in Motion served 1880 participants and gave away 1355 free books.



Books in Motion served people from 37 zip codes, with a 60/40 ratio of girls attending vs. boys.  The  surveys also found that the majority of attendees were the target population (K-3rd grade) with 4-7 year olds making up the majority of participants.


Books in Motion 2022 proved to be impactful. 

  • We saw record attendance numbers.
  • We gave away more FREE books than we ever have before.
  • We worked with the most amazing dance artists who truly care about making a difference in our community.
  • And, most importantly, we witnessed children eager to read after attending a Books in Motion event!

Books in Motion will return in 2023 and has already received a grant from the California Arts Council and the Wonderful Company to assist with funding the program’s reach. KDA is continually seeking funds to ensure the program’s viability is continued.  BIM performer applications will open in February 2023 and the program will tour to the library beginning in July 2023. 

Saturday, September 17
Tickets Issued: 813
Number of Classes: 34
Number of Teaching Artists: 32
Cost per Class: $5

KDA hosted a National Dance Day celebration on Saturday, September 17 from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. The 9-hour dance convention offered $5 classes, workshops, and seminars taught by local, national, and internationally renowned artists at Mechanics Bank Arena, Theater & Convention Center. National Dance Day 2022 was focused on celebrating movers of all ages, levels, and experiences by commemorating a day meant to inspire all walks of life to keep moving. The event also featured a vendor marketplace that was open to the public focused on health, wellness, the arts, and promoting an improved quality of life. 

The KDA National Dance Day offered 34 beginning to advanced classes for children through adults ranging from hula to line dance, hip hop to swing dance, and ballet to tap dance. Taught by 26 Kern County dance instructors, as well as 6 celebrity dance artists representing many of America’s finest dance institutions including American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer – Calvin Royal III, award-winning performing artist – Lil Buck, and USC Kaufman School of Dance Faculty – Saleemah Knight, the event offered the Kern County community an opportunity to try a dance class for the first time or advance a dancer’s technique by training with today’s most revered instructors. 

KDA saw many tears of joy from our community during the event.  The stories ranged from people stating that they had not felt this much happiness in nearly two years to feeling that they finally “belonged” to a community that they had been seeking so desperately since the pandemic. Most were simply grateful that they could dance and move their bodies without pressure with celebrities like Lil Buck and Calvin Royal III and others could not believe that they could dance all day for only $5 a class. As the day went on, it became very clear that our event was not only celebrating dance across America, but that it was also therapy for the attendees. 

One of the greatest sentiments came from Mr. Nigel Lythgoe (the creator of National Dance Day, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, etc.).  Mr. Lythgoe provided a live interview on our local Fox network on Friday morning and also sent over a personalized video that we shared during our event. We sent him an email thanking him for his support and he sent back an email acknowledging that he was wonderfully impressed with the Bakersfield event/line up and that he hoped other American cities would emulate the KDA National Dance Day model in the future.

A very special thank you to the 2022 National Dance Day Instructors:

Nesi Sheldon
Callie Jenkins 
Myka Steele
ABT Principal Dancer – Calvin Royal III 
Sydnee Johanesen
Arache’ Colter
Sharida Rejon
Andrew Rosales
Lil Buck
Crista McClain
Marnie Forzetting
Wendy Wisheropp-Brice
Victoria Marchetti
Naomi Rivera
Kristen McLaughlin
Suze DeArmond
Desmond Ramey
Brushay Taylor
Luther Gray
David Moreno 
Brenlea Smith
University of Arizona School of Dance Assistant Professor – Christopher Compton 
Breanne Oaks
Joel Hoffman 
University of Arizona School of Dance Professor Emeritus – Dr. Suzanne Knosp
Megan Furse
Anais Cordebard 
Dance Camera West Executive Director – Kelly Hargraves
USC Kaufman School of Dance Faculty – Saleemah E. Knight

National Dance Day 2022 was generously sponsored by KGET – Channel 17, Stockdale Podiatry Group, Stria, Hansen’s Moving and Storage, Poise Pilates and Barre, March Consulting, Unsomnia Massage, McCaan Family Chiropractic, LVL Fitness, Discount Dance, and Bodywrappers. 



Saturdays, October 1 – November 5
Final Performance – November 16
Participants Enrolled in the Program: 35 
Dance Student Interns: 9 


Kern Dance Alliance (KDA) and the League of Dreams (LoD) were proud to host the 6th year of ADAPTIdance: DANCE + DISABILITY this fall. ADAPTIdance is Kern County’s ONLY adaptive dance program that serves people with disabilities, ages 5-22, and is produced in collaboration with the LoD, a nonprofit adaptive sports league. ADAPTIdance participants learn inclusive and creative dances that are accessible and adaptable for movers with and without disabilities As COVID-19 limited opportunities for in-person experiences the past two years, KDA and LoD were very excited to bring the program back to a live, in-person experience at the dance studio at Garces Memorial High School.

ADAPTIdance ran for 6-weeks and it began on Saturday, October 1 with three different classes offered based upon age, ability, and experience. ADAPTIdance was led by Myka Steele, who has been trained by AXIS Dance Company, one of the nation’s most acclaimed performance ensembles of disabled and non-disabled dancers. In addition to Miss Steele, 9 student dance interns from different Kern County dance studios were trained to assist teaching the adaptive dance classes. As an added benefit, the student interns also acquired community service hours and learnt the importance of service over self.

Registration for ADAPTIdance opened on August 1. All registrants were required to provide a diagnosis confirmation or first page of an IEP and be between the ages of 5 and 22.

The program culminated with a performance at the Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater. 35 ADAPTidancers illuminated the theater with their wonderful performances that were warmly received by all audience members.

ADAPTIdance 2022 was made possible by sponsorships from Garces Memorial High School, Kern Family Healthcare, and the Cynthia Lake Charitable Trust. Funding supported volunteer training, program supplies, marketing, website and technology integrations, insurance costs, and the Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater rental.

KDA was pleased to work with Adam David Welch to produce the ADAPTIdance Season Highlight video. 


The goals of ADAPTIdance are 1.) to provide access to creative movement and dance training for all students regardless of disability, income level, or prior dance experience 2). to provide a forum for physical activity that is a model for kids of all abilities to collaborate as equals while developing skills in cooperation and a respect for self and others; 3.) to educate about disability, collaboration, and inclusion through the medium of dance and the presentation of positive role models and images of people with disabilities. 

ADAPTIdance also features the following outcomes and impacts for the participants: 


• Brightened affect
• Increased quality of life/joyfulness
• Increased Self-Expression
• Educate about disability, collaboration, and inclusion through the medium of dance and the presentation of positive role models and images of people with disabilities Impacts: 

• Participants have a positive association with dance and are eager to move when in an environment that has dance. 

• Caretakers assist participants in participating in other dance experiences outside the program, and see dance as a positive addition to the participants’ routine. 

Final Reporting: 

At the conclusion of each ADAPTidance dance class, KDA collected data from the ADAPTIdance student interns measuring specific categories including the participants’ brightened affect, eagerness to move, increased quality of life, and joyfulness. These key indicators allowed KDA to gauge the impact of the program over a six-week series of classes. Once data was collected and measured, KDA found there was an average increase in metrics as the classes progressed week from week. The categories were rated on a scale of 1-5 with approximately 98 measurements for each category. 

KDA is happy to report the following data: 

• Brightened Affect: 0.74 points = 15%
• Eagerness to Move: 0.13 = 3%
• Increased quality of life: 0.77 points = 18% • Joyfulness: 0.17 = 3.5%
• Self-Expression: .09 points = 2% 

Key indicators responsible for the increase in metrics include: 

  • As the ADAPTIdance program progressed from week to week, the ADAPTIdancers developed a level of comfort with the ADAPTIdance program director and interns. As a result, the barriers of discomfort were removed and the dancers felt more comfortable dancing – ultimately increasing the participants’ brightened affect, eagerness to move, increased quality of life, and joyfulness.

  • The ADAPTIdancers knowledge of dance technique and choreography heighten over six weeks, ultimately building the dancer’s confidence. This positive experience encouraged dancers to attend weekly classes where learnt information was continually executed/improved and new information was made available in a nurturing and safe environment.

  • ADAPTIdance began to focus on the final performance at the Fox Theater during week four and thus began to set new benchmarks for goal-setting. The ADAPTIdance team provided encouraging conversations about dancing on the Fox stage and the importance of executing an exciting performance. As the excitement of the final performance approached, the ADAPTIdancers attention to details, focus, and memorization of choreography increased, ultimately impacting the increase of the ADAPTIdance metrics.

STORY of TRIUMPH – Myka Steele, ADAPTIdance program director + KDA Board Member

After a summer of incurable symptoms from enlarged lymph nodes to unforgiving itchy skin, Myka Steele, ADAPTIdance program director and KDA board member, was directed to undergo a series of tests to define her diagnosis. Unfortunately, as she began the second week of ADAPTIdance 2022, she learned of her cancer diagnosis, Hodgkins Lymphoma.

At the young age of 20, Myka has been handed more health challenges than most will ever see in a lifetime. She began four months of chemotherapy treatments beginning November 8 and is hopeful to be in remission in the spring of 2023.

Despite her health challenges, Myka was determined to finish ADAPTIdance as the program director and to lead by example by showing the ADAPTIdancers that health challenges do not define will.  Evident by her final performance with ADAPTIdance on November 16, it was clear Myka’s strength carried her beyond the finish line with this special program. Above all else, she is most determined to beat cancer

As a young adult, Myka is wise beyond her years. KDA is overjoyed to serve alongside her and to witness her strength as she proves what most would believe to be impossible. That’s the thing about dancers. . . the show always goes on and Myka believes ADAPTIdance gave her the courage to keep fighting. KDA has pledged to support Myka through these challenging times and we look forward to celebrating her as she overcomes this pivotal moment in her life. 

Wednesday, November 16
The Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater
Number of Participants – 130 children (265 adults)
Number of Dancers – 97

KDA embarked upon our final event of the year, the Children’s Dance Education and Outreach Event, and this event was all about GIVING BACK to Kern County the best way we know how. . . through movement and dance! 

KDA hosted the Children’s Dance Education and Outreach Event on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at 4:30 pm. This private event benefitted local children from organizations that serve underserved children like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County, Bakersfield Angels, CASA of Kern County, and the Open Door Network by closing the arts gap and making the arts more accessible via an afternoon of arts-centric programming at one of Kern County’s most treasured theaters, the Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater! 130 children participated in the event. 

Kern County dance studios and artists presented a rich performance for the children.  The artists included American Dancers Workshop, Bakersfield City Ballet, Bakersfield Dance Company, Dancer’s Turnout Academy, Dance Fitness and Healing Arts Studio, DANCENATION, DAT Krew, Noor Elkereamy, Emylee Wright, and Presly Dillon. The performance showcased a number of different dance styles including tap, hip hop, ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance. Additionally, the performance featured participants with and without disabilities from the KDA ADAPTidance: DANCE + DISABILITY program. Kern County dancers also assisted in teaching the children choreography and partaking in a Q&A session. 

The event also featured Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater President, NaTesha Johnson, providing a “kid-friendly” history of the Fox Theater.  Assemblyman Vince Fong and Senator Shannon Grove offered inspiring words encouraging the children to follow their dreams.

Sponsored by the Fox Theater Foundation, Grimmway Farms, and the Wright Law Office, the Children’s Dance Education and Outreach Event provided children with a live dance performance, dance class + choreography, and the opportunity to perform on the Fox stage. Additionally, children were provided afternoon snacks and a commemorative t-shirt. One of greatest benefits offered children interested in continuing formal dance training the chance to apply for scholarships to attend any dance studio of their choice. 

Video courtesy of Adam David Welch. 


Kern Dance Alliance (KDA) was awarded $4,223,447 by the California Arts Council (CAC) to administer the California Creative Corps program throughout the Central Valley and Eastern Sierra region of the state.

The California Creative Corps is a pilot program designed to promote community and civic engagement, spread awareness about water and energy conservation, climate change, emergency preparedness, relief and recovery through the arts. Thirteen organizations, including KDA, were selected statewide to regrant funds in their region to arts and social service organizations, individual artists, and cultural workers.

“We are ecstatic to help pilot the California Creative Corps and support the social, cultural, economic, and physical well-being of our communities,” said KDA President, Andrea Hansen. “This investment is a monumental occasion, and we’re excited to work with the artists, organizations and creatives who are improving health and quality of life in Central California, one of our state’s most disadvantaged regions.”

The KDA Creative Corps will regrant funds to arts and social service organizations, individual artists, and cultural workers throughout 14 counties in the Central Valley and Eastern Central region of the state. From south to north, they include Kern, Kings, Tulare, Inyo, Fresno, Madera, Mono, Merced, Mariposa, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, San Joaquin, Calaveras and Amador counties.

The $4.2 million California Arts Council grant will be used exclusively for regranting and administration of the KDA Creative Corps. It will not be used to fund KDA’s existing programs,

which will continue to operate alongside the KDA Creative Corps. KDA will continue to need funding and community support to meet its daily and annual operating needs.

“KDA has pioneered creative and innovative ways to enrich our community through the arts for almost a decade,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong. “Their selection to help pilot the California Creative Corps is recognition of their leadership and capability to create true impact. I look forward to seeing how the KDA Creative Corps helps improve the quality of life for everyone living in the Central Valley and Eastern Sierras.”

KDA will release a Notice of Funding Opportunity and solicit grant proposals for the KDA Creative Corps beginning in Winter 2022. Individuals and organizations interested in learning more about the KDA Creative Corps can sign up to receive email updates at

KDA Community Grants + Scholarship Program

KDA was pleased to award the following grants and scholarships to deserving Kern County dance artists and organizations:

KDA Grant:

The Nutcracker Orchestra

KDA Scholarship:

Addison  Hulstrom- Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive 


Beautiful Bakersfield Awards
June 6

Kern Dance Alliance was humbled to be nominated in the 2022 Beautiful Bakersfield Award’s Arts and Culture category for the 2021 Books in Motion program. This was the sixth nomination for KDA since 2016.  It is an honor to serve Kern County and an even greater honor to be nominated in a category with those that consistently enrich our beautiful city!


Downtown Rotary Presentation
September 8

KDA was invited to speak at the Downtown Bakersfield Rotary about KDA’s impact in Kern County.  Mallory Academy of Dance provided the dance entertainment.

California Economic Summit 
October 27

KDA was pleased to attend the California Economic Summit at Mechanics Bank Arena.  Specifically participating in the Creative Economy workshops, KDA was able to represent the Central Valley and promote the vibrant arts and culture scene in our community.  Additionally, KDA was able to provide feedback to the working groups on the state’s 2023 arts priorities:

  • Strengthen a creative workforce and industry grounded in equity
    • Build out a model for a statewide pilot program to support creative workforce development and pathways into high paying jobs and high road training partnerships.
    • Scale regional creative workforce development initiatives to increase racial diversity representation while setting an entry-level living wage.
    • Develop partnerships with local workforce boards.

  • Prioritize the creative economy as a leading industry in California
    • Build out a model for a statewide pilot program to support a Creative Economy planning group and a multi-agency strategic plan to envision the future of the creative economy for California.
    • Increase public investment in arts and culture.

  • Integrate arts and culture into local community and economic development strategies
    • Promote arts and culture as partners to community and economic development organizations.
    • Collaborate across sectors to support arts and culture in regional economic development and infrastructure projects.

  • Develop policies to support creative small businesses and self-employed arts workers
    • Build out a model for a statewide creative entrepreneurship academy and cross-sector collaboration on unemployment and safety net solutions to support independent arts workers.



“KDA has long been considered family to me. I have served KDA for multiple years, including volunteering my time as an ADAPTIdance Intern and currently as the 2022 Student Intern. I have had the wonderful opportunity of seeing the growth of this organization and witnessing new ideas come to fruition. I have grown to understand the importance of giving back to my community and the important role our community plays in the success of KDA! I give because I enjoy seeing the smiles on the faces of those in our programs and I enjoy sharing happiness and love through movement and dance.” – Noor Elkereamy, 2022 KDA Student Intern


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