Keshet Dance & Center for the Arts received a $10,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative. Keshet’s commitment to inspire and unite community by fostering unlimited possibilities through dance, mentorship and a creative space for the arts, aligns with the vision of BCBSNM’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant program to help improve the health of children and their families in local communities.
The HKHF grant is supporting Keshet’s dance education and performance programming for low-income and disabled children and their families and is providing 40 scholarships for students and their families to participate in a year of dance programming at reduced or no cost.
Keshet is also using the grant to provide online classroom learning in several creative virtual options to serve the community while keeping them safe, connected and creating amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Online summer community dance classes include no-cost, pre-recorded classes on YouTube; a weekly, no-cost Zoom dance party for all ages and abilities; Zoom classes in a variety of price ranges; and six weeks of summer dance challenges, which include activity bags for themed movement that are customized for various ages and abilities.
“A key aspect of all Keshet programming is that we believe that all bodies are dancing bodies and therefore integrate a multi-generational cast of dancers with varied physical and developmental abilities, ranging from seasoned professional artists to dancers using wheelchairs and other mobility devices to assist their movement in dance classes and performances,” said Ana Lopes Arechiga, Keshet’s community education director. “Rather than shy away from these differences, Keshet celebrates inclusion and choreographs, teaches, and performs work to highlight the beauty in all dancers.”
“We’re proud to give our support to Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts as a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families partner,” said Janice Torrez, vice president of external affairs at BCBSNM. “Healthy families often begin with access to physical engagement, but not all families have the economic access. We are excited that Keshet is able to bridge that gap and increase opportunities for children through movement and dance.”
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a signature program of BCBSNM. The initiative focuses on engaging children and their families in understanding the importance of nutritious food, raising the level of physical activity, better managing chronic conditions and promoting safe environments. Likewise, Keshet’s Dance, Movement, & Inclusivity for Low Income and Disabled Youth programming works to promote health and wellness for Albuquerque families through the experience of dance education and performance opportunities; provide access to dance and movement for low-income families through their Youth Scholarship Program; and provide access to dance and performance for children with physical and developmental disabilities through integrated Mixed Ability dance programming.
Established in 1996, Keshet’s mission is to inspire and unite community by fostering unlimited possibilities through dance, mentorship and a creative space for the arts. In 2013, the Keshet Center for the Arts was created as a home base for Keshet’s production season and as a resource for Keshet’s national and global performing arts partnerships; a welcoming space to house Keshet’s community education and engagement programming; and the central location for the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Community (KIIC), a business incubator and resource center for arts entrepreneurs.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is one of the largest commercial health insurers in New Mexico with 630,000 New Mexicans carrying a Blue Cross and Blue Shield card. Since 1940, BCBSNM has been committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSNM is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.