In 1985, Ehud Krauss initiated IndepenDANCE for at-risk youth in East Palo Alto. IdepenDANCE gives children and youth the opportunity to take dance classes and discover the benefits that studying, practicing and performing dance can bring.
With the assistance of a middle school teacher, 30 middle school girls were transported by bus to Zohar's Studio located on California Avenue to participate in dance classes. The program was an incredible success and grew to include a majority of the schools in East Palo Alto, expanded to Redwood City and San Jose. At its peak, IndepenDANCE was at 3 high schools, 2 middle schools, and 10 elementary schools and included 4 instructors!
In 1995, Ehud began teaching youths incarcerated at Santa Clara Juvenile Hall under the auspices of Foothill College. Thus Juvie Jazz was born. Teaching the youths incarcerated in the highest security, dance proved to be an activity that broke down barriers. Gang members could dance together, tension was relieved through the physical activity, creativity was developed throught choreography, and these young men and women could find "freedom" and joy.
In 2000, IndepenDANCE was formally extended to children with special needs, including: autism, down syndrome, hearing impaired, sight impaired, and cerebral palsy. With the San Mateo County Office of Education, Ehud teaches at elementary school sites throughout the Peninsula. When possible, classes are mixed with regular ed children to bring about acceptance and appreciation of all our differences and that we each have something in common, the love of dance.
Recently, Ehud has been teaching at elementary schools in Palo Alto. It has been a wonderful experience and almost a full circle from when Zohar School of Dance initially started and Ehud was teaching dance at Gunn High School!
You can help make dance the difference in the lives of children and youth.
Donations are accepted year-round. If you would like to share your love of dance with Zohar by making a tax-deductible donation, you can send a donation to Zohar at:
4000 Middlefield Road, L4
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Want to give online using a credit card or paypal account? Zohar now has a paypal account!