The Kennedy Center

DEA Youth Dance Program


The DEA Youth Dance Program, a part of the DEA Educational Foundation, was established to empower kids by providing a free and positive afterschool alternative to drugs through the fun, healthy, and expressive art form of dance.

The DEA Youth Dance Program begins at a participating school with an assembly led by a professional dance company. The professional company demonstrates different styles of dance to appropriate musical choices, speaks to the students as role-models, and asks students volunteers to try out movement during the performance hour. Students then may elect to register for a free 10- or 20-week dance class series led by a professional dance instructor. At the end of the series, students perform in a community or school performance setting, bringing family and other students together. Finally, students are encouraged to apply for scholarships at a local studio for the long-term study in dance. Students targeted to participate in the program are primarily in upper elementary and middle school years.

The program curriculum incorporates the DEA Educational Foundation's anti-drug messages and themes such as: participating in positive alternatives to drugs and gang violence, the building of self-esteem, teamwork, resisting negative peer pressure, and focusing on positive health and attitude.

The program now exists in 21 cities nationwide influencing thousands of students each year. The DEA Youth Dance program is thankful to all of its sponsors, including the Dizzy Feet Foundation in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

Today, for the National Dance Day Celebration at Kennedy Center, we highlight what a typical assembly would look like in the schools with one of our long-term D.C area partners, CityDance. CityDance has been a professional dance organization in Washington, D.C. for 17 years and has been instrumental in supporting the DEA Youth Dance Program message and in helping kids express themselves in a positive way. Please see CityDance's biography below.

For more information on the DEA Youth Dance Program, please visit:


Founded in 1996, CityDance produces and presents professional dance at venues across the DC metropolitan area; trains young dancers for professional careers; and provides free dance education programs for thousands of students each year. CityDance has won five DC Mayor's Arts Awards and was recently selected as a finalist for the President's National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award.

CityDance OnStage brings highly acclaimed national and international companies to the region's most prestigious performance venues and supports emerging choreographers to create and perform original work in the CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore; CityDance InStudio provides more than 600 students each week with high-level dance training including the CityDance Conservatory, an intensive pre-professional training program that prepares young dancers for professional careers. CityDance Community Programs are offered at more than 30 community-based sites in the region's most under-resourced neighborhoods, providing free performances, in-school and after-school programs, and camps to more than 5,000 students each year.

Current as of July 2013
City Dance