NEA grant supports Lied's outreach program

Repertory Dance Theatre
Repertory Dance Theatre

The Lied Center for Performing Arts has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for support of its annual statewide education outreach program, Arts Across Nebraska.

The Arts Across Nebraska program is a major component of the Lied Center's statewide mission and provides Nebraska communities with access to educational workshops, student matinees and public performances by world-class performing artists. The project involves artists in theater, dance and music, and gives students of all ages the opportunity to experience the performing arts in their own communities. Through the $20,000 grant, the Lied Center will present the nationally acclaimed dance ensemble, Repertory Dance Theatre of Salt Lake City, and corresponding outreach events in Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff next season. The grant will also support a summer intensive course led by RDT members for young aspiring dancers, in collaboration with UNL's Department of Music and Dance.

"We are thrilled that the Arts Across Nebraska program is recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts," said Petra Wahlqvist, director of Community Engagement and Learning at the Lied Center. "The program is a major part of the Lied's statewide mission, and we are fortunate to have wonderful partners and generous funders who make it possible for us to bring world-class performing arts to the people of Nebraska."

With a powerful track record of bringing the arts to all corners of the state, the Arts Across Nebraska program celebrates its 15th season in 2012-2013. In 2011-2012, the program featured the Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Turtle Island String Quartet. The program also receives support from Friends of Lied, a statewide volunteer organization committed to supporting and promoting the Lied Center through educational opportunities, fund raising, and social activities. In the past, Arts Across Nebraska has benefitted from the support of the National Endowment of the Arts, Nebraska Arts Council/Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Kimmel Charitable Foundation and Sid Dillon.

Founded in 1966, Repertory Dance Theatre maintains the largest and most significant collection of American dance in the world. For the public performances, RDT will entertain and educate audiences of all ages with its multimedia retrospective, "Time Capsule: A Century of Dance." A student matinee performance, "Imagine That!," is designed for students in Grades 1- 6 and relates to the K-6 science and dance curriculum. The matinee demystifies the laws of physics, scientific principles and natural phenomenon. RDT dancers will also deliver workshops in local schools to enhance the impact of the student matinee.

"Repertory Dance Theatre is both honored and excited to have been selected to participate in the upcoming Arts Across Nebraska project," said Linda C. Smith, RDT artistic and executive director. "Since 1966, RDT has remained a company significantly committed not only to the highest artistic ideals, but also to a maximum level of enriching activities and stimulating involvement with community members of all ages wherever we go. Members of each community we will visit have been invited to perform with RDT dancers in the evening performances of 'Time Capsule,' and we very much look forward to having the opportunity to interact with Nebraskans in such a substantial and meaningful way."

Additional Arts Across Nebraska performances for the 2012-13 Season will take place in Nebraska City, McCook, Central City, Macy, and Sidney, featuring Andean music group Kusi Taki and jazz singer Jackie Allen. The schedule for all Arts Across Nebraska performances will be announced at a later date.

— Matthew Boring, Lied Center for Performing Arts