Holiday Arts Education Tradition Continues

Dasher’s Magical Gift will premiere on December 13th.

This story is published in association with CNY Arts

Ensuring that the arts continue to have a role in education is a high priority for CNY Arts as the regional arts council. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life — a young student, high school, or even well out of school. It’s important that everyone have opportunities to create, experience, and learn about the arts, in every town, city, neighborhood and, especially, at every school in Central New York.

The results of ENGAGE CNY, our six county regional assessment, were very clear on this point. Over 87% of the 7,200 citizens that took our public opinion survey believed it was important that school children have access to arts education, both in school and out of school (over 70% called it very important).

We agree.

That’s why our artSTART Arts Education program, funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, distributes grants to artists offering cultural enrichment activities in schools. It’s why CNY Arts hosts the annual Michael Harms Theater Festival, giving high school students access to professional feedback and workshops, as well as scholarships for college. It’s why we have On My Own Time for amateur visual artists in the business community in partnership with the Everson Museum.

And it is why we presented The Adventures of Rudolph, an arts education ballet for young students, every holiday season for 35 years.

Dasher-Logo-mdFor many children, Rudolph was their first experience with dance, music and theater on a large stage in the heart of downtown Syracuse. The creators of Rudolph, after 35 years chose to retire the ballet in 2013, but CNY Arts understood the importance of producing an annual holiday arts program. So we put together a team to create Dasher’s Magical Gift, an affordable and entertaining performance that can be the start to an arts educational experience for students in CNY. We have learned that an entertaining offering like Dasher’s Magical Gift, incorporating dance, theater, and music, and supported by educational materials that tie into a curriculum, can be a transformative experience for a child… one that can inspire a lifelong tradition of appreciation and participation in the arts.

This year approximately 5,000 children, mostly between Pre-K and 4th grade, will see Dasher’s Magical Gift. Some of them will be inspired to begin dance classes, or participate in a school play, or learn an instrument. Some of those will stick with it through high school, or through college, or long after. No matter if they do, these students will go on to have a healthy appreciation of the arts. That is why CNY Arts is continuing its commitment to producing a holiday production. Dasher’s Magical Gift will ensure that a new generation of children and their families will get to experience the wonder and joy of Dasher. For those inspired to take up the arts, additional skills development can begin for those participating in dance, theater, music and all of the arts.

CNY Arts is using locally-based, but nationally-recognized, talent to bring Dasher’s Magical Gift to the stage. Under the direction of Larry Crabtree, with a story by Matt Chiorini, and brought to life by the dancers of Dance Centre North, we expect that Dasher’s Magical Gift will offer that inspiration to kids this year and far into the future.

Dasher’s Magical Gift will premiere December 10th – 12th with four educational performances for students from area schools, and the public premiere on December 13th, all at the Crouse Hinds Theater in the Civic Center.

For more information about Dasher’s Magical Gift, visit You will also find information on the creative team, plus learn how you can help bring to life this new holiday tradition for Central New York families through our Indiegogo campaign.

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