Dance Across the USA
Organized by: Jonathan Givens
Success on the fundraiser, now we focus on the book development
October 20, 2016
The idea behind this project is to showcase the variety and beauty of both our country, and the dancers that live within it, all in an effort to raise money for our nation's parks, as well as for arts education in the USA. We want to be able to promote dance as both a wonderful career and lifestyle, as well as a great benefit to the development of children. To do this, we are going to drive to all 48 contiguous states, (and fly to Alaska and Hawai'i) to photograph a dancer at a national park, national historic Location, or state park. These images will be cataloged on our website (www.danceatusa.com) and will then be used in a book to be sold worldwide. The images on the website are only "teasers", with the really amazing photos being reserved for the book. The proceeds from this book will be donated to the parks and the National Endowment for the Arts with the specific purpose of being used for arts education.
The Benefits of the project - Dance as an activity benefits children and adults in a variety of ways. There is the obvious physical benefit, but the goodness doesn't stop there. There are documented benefits in self-esteem, social interaction, and even improvement in education and general learning. Dancing with others fosters lifelong friendships, and gives people great joy by being able to dance.
Another benefit of this project is to remind us of America's majesty. Our country covers a wide variety of ecosystems, great history, and beautiful scenery. With the recent rise in popularity of dance in the public eye, ranging from television show like Dance Moms, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, to films (Black Swan, Billy Elliot, the Step Up series) and of course Broadway, we can help the interest in dance to foster a rise in interest in America's parks and historic sites, With almost a 20% drop in visitation per capita since 1993 (source - Declining National Park Visitation, by Stevens, More, and Markowski-Lindsay 2014), our citizens are focusing more and more on electronic media, which forgetting about the physical experience of our national history and beauty. We believe that by photographing talented dancers in these nationally significant locations, we will both increase the interest in dance, as well as expose people to the accessibility and majesty of our country.
The end result of this project is to create a photo book with all the images created on the journey. Once complete, a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit our parks, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. The creation of these photos is an expensive proposition to begin with. From permit fees at each location, to transportation costs, all the way down to tolls and gasoline, there are a lot of expenses that we need to cover to get this journey complete. So, each and every penny donated goes to the cost of creation of these photos. Thanks so much for your help!