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Metro Parks’ Kathryn Wilkening named 2017 Dance Advocate

November 21, 2017

Wilkening’s contribution to dance in Nashville is significant

Nashville, TN (November 21, 2017) --- The Tennessee Association of Dance recently named Metro Park’s Kathryn Wilkening as the recipient of the 2017 Dance Advocate Award.  The award is given to a person or corporation noted for making a significant contribution to dance and generating enthusiasm and interest in the art of dance on a state or local level in Tennessee.

Kathryn Wilkening is currently the Dance Division Supervisor for Metro Parks and oversees Centennial Youth Ballet as well as recreational dance classes, performances and special programs for adults and children at community centers throughout Davidson County. She oversees a wide variety of classes, a Mini-Nutcracker and Spring Concert performed by the Centennial Youth Ballet annually, partnerships with Nashville-based dance companies, and events that foster critical discussion about the art form.

She works closely with Friends of Metro Dance, the non-profit organization established in 1995 to support the Dance Division beyond the scope of government funding. This group funds performances by Centennial Youth Ballet. It also sponsors special dance-related activities including free community center programs including the development of Spectator/Creator, a magical and immersive theatrical experience for toddlers and their grown-ups, a summer dance intensive for teens, continuing education for faculty, student scholarships, Dancing with Parkinson's, and master classes open to Dance Division students as well as to the general public. Additionally, Friends of Metro Dance equips and maintains three state of the art dance studios. This organization has been critical to sustaining affordable dance education within the public sector.

Before coming home to Nashville in 2013, Kathryn performed, choreographed and taught classes in Manhattan and Brooklyn and worked at the 92nd Street Y in New York, where she served as manager of the 92Y Harkness Dance Center and then as assistant director of 92Y’s Dance Education Laboratory, a professional development program for new and experienced dance educators. While working with DEL, she was on the steering committee of the Arts Achieve project, funded by an Investing in Innovation five-year grant, partnering with Carnegie Hall, Cooper-Hewitt, Studio in a School, Arts Connection and the New York City Department of Education to assess and improve arts achievement of students in elementary, middle and high school and measure the impact of higher arts achievement on other subject areas. She has a degree in Dance Education from New York University.

Kathryn currently serves on the editorial board of National Dance Education Organization’s new journal,  Dance Education in Practice. She maintains her teaching chops in her Creative Movement class for budding dancers ages 3-4 ½.

Previous recipients of the Tennessee Association of Dance’s Advocate Award include Rod Reiner (Nashville), Jeannette Crosswhite (Nashville), Mary Lillian Wherry (Nashville), Sue Anne Harrison Wells (Chattanooga), Dr. Gene McCutchen (Knoxville), Lynn Miller (Knoxville), Will Montague (Chattanooga), Dr. Nola Jones (Nashville), Dru Davison (Memphis), Karla Riddle (Chattanooga), Bertina Dew (Kingsport), Mickie Akenson (Cookeville), Hal Baker (Chattanooga), Martin O'Connor (Nashville).

Metro Parks’ Dance Division provides high-quality, affordable dance training to children and adults in a supportive environment, provides resources to local dance artists for work development, and develops educated dance audience members. The division offers a range of opportunities in dance from summer study to classes and performances.