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The 3-Minute Interview: CityDance Director of Community Programs Kelli Quinn

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Local,DC,People,Rachel Baye,3-Minute Interview

Quinn is the director of community programs for CityDance, a local nonprofit whose students -- ages 8 through 15 -- will perform at a Washington Wizards halftime show at the Verizon Center on Saturday.

Tell me about your work.

We teach dance throughout the city at community-based sites -- schools, recreation centers, etc. We use dance as a tool to teach youth development outcomes and life skills. We teach various genres of dance -- hip-hop, modern, ballet [and] cultural dance forms.

How does dance teach life skills?

Just take the simple act of commitment -- coming to class every week, focus and participation, working with others, persevering when you're tired or you don't feel good ... In the process of taking a dance class, one has to deal with building up these skills that aren't necessarily something that an 8-year-old is great at when they walk through the door.

How do you define success?

I hope they leave with a real understanding and belief in the idea of community and the idea of coming together with people for whatever the cause. I believe a lot of them do leave with that understanding, that they're better together than they are on their own, that they can, at the same time, be very independent and confident in their abilities.

How does dance teach that better than a team sport might?

I do believe that if a child involves himself in a positive activity, there's great success that can come from that. In choosing dance instead of sports, we bring the students together in an atmosphere that's not competitive. The Wizards [performance] is a great example of that because we have six schools, all of them from different wards of the city ... coming together, not to compete, but to perform together. It's not about one person doing bad and another person doing better. It's about everyone doing their best.

- Rachel Baye

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