Collaborating with the Chevalier Theatre in Medford

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Connecting Communities with Choreography
Press ReleaseFor Immediate Release
Monkeyhouse Announces
Chevalier Kicks Off Collaboration To Get Kids Choreographing  

Medford, MA - September, 2015 - 

A budding choreographer takes flight during one of Monkeyhouse's activites at BoomTown in Cambridge
Photo Credit: JK Photo
How are you kicking off your school year? The Friends of the Chevalier Auditorium and Gene Mack Gym are launching What's in a Name?, a program to benefit the physical, social and emotional well-being of children of the Boys and Girls Club of Medford. The program will provide weekly movement and choreography classes for 20 Medford children, led by an award-winning local nonprofit, Monkeyhouse. What's in a Name will span the 2015-16 academic year and will offer four opportunities for students to share their work with the public: two showings at Chevalier Theatre, a performance at Circle the Square, and a show of related artwork at Mystic Coffee Roaster.
Why should kids learn to choreograph?

karen and nicole
(l to r) Karen Krolak & Nicole Harris Photo Credit: Stephanie Suné
"Most dictionaries define choreography as just the process of creating dance steps. At Monkeyhouse, however, we describe it as learning to move with meaning," begins Karen Krolak, Monkeyhouse Founder/Artistic Director. "Through our workshops, we encourage students to explore their own strengths and weaknesses to find their unique movement style not just to copy someone else. They learn how to emphasize their individuality in productive ways that help teens to feel stronger and more confident," continues Nicole Harris, Monkeyhouse Co-Founder/Engagement Director. 
Through a series of movement and choreographic exercises, Monkeyhouse will work with members of the Boys & Girls Club of Medford to explore who the students are, where they fit in in their communities and what they hope to become over the course of the school year. Students will be given the basic tools of how to choreograph, including how to build movement phrases, how to use abstraction and how to generate transitions. In addition to their choreographic assignments, kids will be challenged to tell their own stories, learn about themselves and others, and build a stronger community within the group. "We are very excited to start on this new arts adventure with Monkeyhouse! This program will greatly enhance our Medford Club's programming and provide our members with a safe and creative space for self-expression, building self-confidence and learning new skills and techniques in the arts. We are so grateful to our partners, the Friends of the Chevalier and Gene Mack, and our supporters in the community for making this a reality for our young people." declares Lindsey Smythe, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Middlesex County.
Developing a dynamic program that partners together diverse sectors of the nonprofit community with local businesses requires its own blend of fancy footwork.  The ChevalierTheatre Commission's newest member, Susan Fairchild, conceived of the idea for the collaboration.  "I knew if I could bring the right people together into the conversation, the idea would take off.  Monkeyhouse and The Medford Boys & Girls Club were a perfect match for each other! And CACHE has been presenting Circle the Square for four years now.  It was the perfect community event for showcasing the students' work, and to round out the team, Sharon Hepburn of Mystic Coffee Roasters has been an ardent supporter of arts in the community. Now we have a lot more than conversation happening!"
The program is funded by generous contributions from The Friends of the Chevalier, a Vanguard Charitable Donor Advised Fund, Medford's Thursday Fortnightly Club, and CACHE in Medford.  The Chevalier Theatre Commission is making the theater available to the program for rehearsals and performances.

About Friends of Chevalier Auditorium and Gene Mack Gym
Friends of Chevalier Auditorium and Gene Mack Gym is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering financial and community support and being an advocate for the historic theater and gymnasium in Medford. Through promotion of cultural, theatrical, civic, and youth programs, the Friends strive to enrich the quality of life in the community.
About The Boys and Girls Club of Medford
The Medford Boys & Girls Club provides education, prevention and recreation programs after-school for more than 120 Medford children and teens Monday through Friday in the Gene Mack Gymnasium at 30 Forest Street. The Club provides a safe haven out of school time for youth to grow, learn and have fun. Our core programming includes Education and Career Exploration; The Arts; Sports, Fitness and Recreation; Character and Leadership Development; and, Healthy Lifestyles. Membership dues for any child are no more than $30 per year, ensuring that our Club is accessible and affordable to our community's most vulnerable children and families. For more information, please visit www.kidsclubs.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BGCMiddlesex.
About CACHE in Medford, Inc. 
CACHE in Medford, Inc. is a nonprofit organization made up of a coalition of over 20 different cultural institutions in Medford. They collectively advocate for the arts in Medford and work together to make our community more vibrant through events, projects, and collaborations with local businesses. CACHE created and sponsors Circle the Square, which presents music, art and other free entertainment in Medford Square for people of all ages on the 3rd Thursday of June, July and August.
About Mystic Coffee Roaster
Locally owned Mystic Coffee Roaster, located two blocks from the Medford Boys and Girls Club, partners with local arts-oriented organizations such as CACHE in Medford and to promote events, fundraising and general awareness of our arts community. They believe this helps to make our community a better place to live!
About The Medford The Medford CACCC (Chevalier Theatre Commission)
The Medford Civic Auditorium and Convention Center Commission (Chevalier Theatre Commission) was created by the City of Medford in 1981. Built in 1940 as part of Medford High School, Chevalier Theatre reopened as the city's performing arts center in 1992. It plays host to concerts, theatrical productions, and corporate and community events. The Medford Boys and Girls Club has operated out of the Gene Mack Gym since 2001. The Chevalier Commission oversees the operation of and continued improvements to the complex.
About Monkeyhouse
Monkeyhouse began with a promise to build a laboratory where choreographers could create, experiment and present new work.  Our mission has developed to include motivating people to move with meaning and improving communication by connecting communities with choreography.  Over the years we have mentored, nurtured and supported dozens of choreographers ranging from students first experimenting to established favorites.  We've had hundreds of conversations about different choreographic processes that stimulate or inspire new directions for our work and helped foster long term relationships with presenters, audience members and other choreographers.  

Monkeyhouse - PO Box 221 - Somerville, MA 02143

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