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In January 2020, we claimed “welcome home as our theme for the upcoming year.

Our new headquarters, in development since 2014, was nearing completion. We were packing boxes, planning our grand opening, and rehearsing for a series of spring and summer performances that would culminate in a festive ‘homecoming dance’ for our city.

And then…

Just as we received our certificate of occupancy on March 13, Atlanta began to shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As spring turned to summer, our nation was rocked repeatedly by acts of racial injustice. Many of our staff and students saw themselves in the lives lost and thought, “That could have been me, my mother, my father.”

Yet in that time of darkness, hope emerged in beautiful and brilliant ways. Moving in the Spirit alumni came full circle, returning to wrap around our students and generate digital programs rooted in compassion and love.

Samantha Hardin, Francine Labiran, Kai Lewis, Chris McCord, and Janan Mirza created challenging, joyful classes that promoted energy and healing. Cuereston Burge partnered with our education director, Dr. Charné Furcron, to deliver a virtual summer series that served as an outlet, safe space, and creative community. Alina Hinton (pictured on the cover with her sons JT and Jaylen, both Moving in the Spirit dancers) developed a social justice curriculum to educate students and help them find language for their complex feelings.

Although we did not have a party, we did have a homecoming. And in our home, we are claiming dignity, tenacity, hope and resilience. We see these qualities embodied in Alina, who began in our program when she was three, who performed social justice dances across the country during our summer tours, and whose feet were the first to grace the floors of our new studios. As her children carry on her legacy at Moving in the Spirit, creating their own works about how they will make a difference in the world, we are reminded that change requires courage, commitment, and connection. It builds throughout a lifetime, and it spans generations.

As our world continues to experience hardship, where do we turn? We turn to dance and to the voices of our young people. We turn to each other, leaning in with resilience and certainty that when we come through the other side, the world will be a better place.

To our community of families, alumni, donors and artistic partners, thank you for doing this work with us for the past 34 years and into the future.

Together, we create a world where all children can thrive and feel truly at home.

View 2019-2020 Annual Report