Mills Alumnae’s Unique Spin on Modern Dance Training for Youth

Oakland, CA—April 19, 2017

Luna Dance

Photo credit: Tim Heth

In Berkeley, Luna Dance Institute co-directors and Mills College alumnae Patricia Reedy and Nancy Ng teach modern dance to children with a twist: they encourage them to apply principles of improvisational movement rather than specifics of technique. Recently profiled in Dance Teacher Magazine, the pair are characterized as “passionate advocates for adapting dance training to children’s developmental needs,” a formula they use to engage young dancers.

Reedy and Ng, who established Luna 25 years ago with other Mills graduates, also advocate for expanding access to dance education overall, which was their founding goal. Today, through studio classes, parent-child workshops, and public outreach, Luna brings its brand of dance to 25,000 children annually. As a widely recognized leader in dance education, the institute advances its methods nationally by training more than 300 classroom and dance teachers from across the country at its summer teaching workshops each year.

The institute has reached out underserved communities as well. In 2003, its members launched a pilot program to teach a generation of predominantly low-income students of color at Oakland’s New Highland Academy.

At Mills, Reedy earned a BA in 1980 and an MA in education and creativity in 2000 while Ng earned an MFA in dance in 1992. They continue to maintain strong ties with the College’s dance faculty and alumnae, often hiring recent graduates as teachers at Luna, and coordinating an annual dance performance on the campus featuring alumnae.