I CAN DO Program Celebrates 25 Years!

The gym pulsates with energy as over 1,000 audience members watch 500 students dance together during a recent performance at West High School. Students exchange excited smiles as they move to the beat, a group of students help a girl with Down Syndrome find her spot, and other students gleam with pride as they show off their group dance. In the audience, parents, families, and teachers cheer their dancers on.

For 25 years, the I CAN DO program has been providing dance instruction for elementary students across several school districts in the Salt Lake area. Thanks to funding from the Utah State Board of Education’s Professional Outreach Program in Schools (POPS), as well as generous funding from corporations, foundations, and individuals, the free program gives fifth-grade students the chance to participate in a class taught by professional dance instructors every week during the school year, culminating in a final performance for the community.

“The goal of the program is to get them to try something new,” said Director of Education and Community Outreach Peter Christie. “Ninety percent of these students probably wouldn’t jump into a dance class. We help them achieve success by doing something completely foreign and help them think about what other things they can do too.”

Check out the full story in the Spring 2023 issue of Front Row Magazine.