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18,000 Students Kick Up Their Heels on the Music Center Plaza at 44th Annual Blue Ribbon Children's Festival

- California's Longest-Continuing Free Arts Education Initiative Has Introduced 800,000 Students to the Magic of the Performing Arts -

LOS ANGELES, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 18,000 fifth grade-students are dancing together on April 9-11, 2014 on The Music Center Plaza as part of the 44th Annual Blue Ribbon Children's Festival. After weeks of in-class preparation, the students attend a live performance for free and then perform a special piece choreographed just for them.

More than 18,000 fifth grade students from throughout Los Angeles County danced together on The Music Center Plaza as part of the 44th Annual Blue Ribbon Children's Festival, California's longest-continuing free arts education program presented by The Blue Ribbon of The Music Center. Los Angeles, CA  April 9, 2014 The Blue Ribbon of The Music Center

The Blue Ribbon Children's Festival, California's longest-continuing free arts education program, is presented by The Blue Ribbon of the Music Center, an independent charitable group of women leaders in the Los Angeles community. Founded by Dorothy Chandler in 1968, The Blue Ribbon is committed to giving students access to the best of the performing arts from a young age. For many students who have never visited The Music Center or seen a live theatrical performance, the chance to experience the arts first-hand has a lasting impact. More than 800,000 students have benefited from this experience to date.

This year, participating students from 234 schools throughout Los Angeles County will attend a special performance of three dances by the Paul Taylor Dance Company at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The renowned modern dance company performs six times for the students, twice a day on all three days of the Festival.  Following each performance, more than 3,100 students join together in a special choreographed dance that incorporates music and movements from the live presentation. The student performance is inspired by the playful dance Gossamer Gallants, which is based on Taylor's interests in insects and their life cycles. Gossamer Gallants incorporates three musical selections from the opera, The Bartered Bride (Prodana Nevesta), by Czech composer Bedrich SmetanaThe student dance features an excerpt from the opera's Dance of the Comedians, and is based on a folk, polka style.

"Students consistently say that The Blue Ribbon Children's Festival is a magical experience. The Blue Ribbon is honored to give students the opportunity to learn about the performing arts, enjoy a live performance and participate in an interactive event in an iconic outdoor setting," said Carla Sands, president, The Blue Ribbon. "We are grateful for the dedication of our volunteers and the teachers all across Los Angeles who share their enthusiasm for the arts with their students. Studies continue to reinforce the positive impact exposure to the arts has on students' motivation and success."

Each year, The Blue Ribbon Children's Festival invites fifth grade students from schools throughout Los Angeles County to be a part of the high-energy event. More than 115 Blue Ribbon members volunteer over a three-day period to keep the Festival running smoothly. Participating schools receive curriculum materials, background on the performing company and classroom activities to help prepare students for the performance. Educators teach their students about audience etiquette, what to watch for during the performance, history and terminology, as well as the choreography for their dance performance. This year, the curriculum includes information about the concept of metamorphosis, which echoes Taylor's interest in insects and the theme of the student choreography.

Following their performance, each participating student receives a keepsake book, A Journey Through The Music Center, which describes The Music Center's four theatres and various aspects of live performances. Thanks to a gift to The Music Center from Blue Ribbon member Maxine Dunitz, every student who attends the festival receives this book, which is updated and reprinted annually. This year, A Journey Through The Music Center will be available in limited quantity, while supplies last, to children who are not able to attend the festival. Parents/guardians can visit http://www.musiccenter.org/education/Blue-Ribbon-Childrens-Festival-Book/ to request a copy.

Over the years, students attending the Festival have seen performances by the LA Phil, the LA Opera, American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and Diavolo Dance Theater, among others.

About The Blue Ribbon
A champion of the performing arts, The Blue Ribbon is an independent support group comprised of outstanding women leaders in the Los Angeles community. Created in 1968 by Dorothy Buffum Chandler to raise funds for The Music Center, its education programs and its resident companies, The Blue Ribbon has contributed more than $72 million as part of its commitment to uphold artistic excellence in programming on The Music Center's stages and arts education for youth.

About The Music Center
The Music Center is one of the largest and most highly regarded performing arts centers in the country, and the place to experience the most innovative and critically-acclaimed performing arts in the nation, creating a cultural hub that is central to L.A.'s status as "the creative capital" of the world. Celebrated for its illustrious dance programming, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, and home to four world-class resident companiesCenter Theatre Group, LA Opera, LA Phil and Los Angeles Master ChoraleThe Music Center's 22-acre campus includes four iconic venuesWalt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theateras well as The Music Center Plaza and the newly opened Grand Park. Each year, more than two million people enjoy live performances and free community arts events at The Music Center. In its effort to extend the reach and accessibility of the performing arts, The Music Center is a national model for experiences in which people participate directly through its DIY participatory programming. In addition, The Music Center presents special productions, events and festivals for children and families, including World City™ which takes place in the Keck Amphitheatre at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Music Center is nationally recognized as a leader in arts education, providing resources to students and teachers in schools and community centers throughout the region. For more information, visit http://www.musiccenter.org and follow The Music Center on Facebook and Twitter (@MusicCenterLA).

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SOURCE The Music Center

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