The After School Arts Program in Washington, which serves northwestern Connecticut, has received a grant in the amount of $12,000 from The Connecticut Office of the Arts, part of the Department of Economic and Community Development which helped to fund the Inter-district and Community Dance programs for Newtown and Danbury residents.

The two programs culminated in two special performances with world-renowned dance company Pilobolus in two full-scale performances at Danbury High School on Jan. 6.

The Inter-District Dance Project involved participants in grades six to eight from Newtown Middle School in Newtown and Westside Middle School Academy in Danbury.

Students teamed up with members of the Pilobolus Dance Company for eight weeks, each school hosting rehearsals, and bussing students round trip for a collaborative dance workshop.

In this one-of-a-kind class students explored, invented, interacted, and became involved in Pilobolus’ signature style of creating dance while making new friends.

The Multi-Generational Community Dance Project (MCDP) united multiple generations, teens to seniors, varying cultures, and diverse socio-economic backgrounds and used dance as a level playing field.

Participants were challenged by integrating leadership, followership and improvisation.

They honed their communication skills through unified decision-making, collaboration and by creating group choreography.