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Performance Companies

“The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company is a politically astute, talented and visionary group of young people who combine political activism and cutting edge cultural expression.”

- Angela Davis, Author, Scholar and Activist

The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company (DAYPC) was created in 1993 by Destiny’s current Artistic Director, Sarah Crowell with Destiny’s founder, Kate Hobbs. The intention was to create a forum for youth to express a message of peace and empowerment through dance, theater, martial arts, rap and song. Joined by the Destiny Junior Company (DJC) in 2009, what has emerged are critically acclaimed pre-professional companies that are respected for both their technical prowess and their commitment to the values embodied by all Destiny Arts Center programs: Love, Respect, Care, Responsibility, Honor, and Peace. All youth company members engage in a collaborative process with the company’s Artistic Directors and working professional artists to create original art that engages and re-constructs personal histories as vehicles for social change.

Every year, youth are chosen through a rigorous audition process that looks at their current level of artistic skill, but also their ability to perform and their commitment to group process. Selected company members then engage in an intensive 9-month season of training, rehearsals, scriptwriting, fundraising, and performing. The rehearsals include highly interactive conversations to illuminate the intention of each annual performance.

Since 1995, the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company has worked with the internationally acclaimed aerial dance company, BANDALOOP, who train youth company members in aerial dance techniques and co-create aerial dance performance works with DAYPC youth and directors for Destiny’s annual performances.

The Destiny performance companies’ collaborative process is captured in the National Endowment of the Arts funded curriculum guide, Youth on the Move, which includes a documentary, called A Place Named Destiny (2000), by Paul Ginocchio, and is the subject of a 2014 released documentary, called F.R.E.E., by award-winning producers Suzanne LaFetra (She Wants to be a Matador) and David Collier (For Better or for Worse) from Studio B Films. The process, as told through the lens of the teen company, is also the the subject of Stanford Ph.D. Lauren Stevenson’s doctoral dissertation.

Company members perform for up to 25,000 audience members per year and draw upon multiple disciplines, including hip hop, aerial dance, modern and jazz dance, spoken word, song, rap, and martial arts. Topics that have been addressed in their signature annual productions include racism, sexism, childhood sexual abuse, global warming, environmental justice, educational equity, identity formation, etc.

Show study guides are created each year to accompany each production.  The study guides outline activities, exercises and group discussion questions that can be used by school teachers with their students before and after they see a Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company show.  See below for links to show study guides for six annual productions.

2009 Dreaming Awake Study Guide
2010 Asylum Study Guide
2011 FREE Study Guide
2012 Toy Town Study Guide
2013 RAW Study Guide
2014 Impact Study Guide

Video clips of performances:

Watch video clips of the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company’s show Game Over, 2008.

Watch video clips of the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company’s show Dreaming Awake, 2009.

TESTIMONIALS FROM COMPANY MEMBERS

“The performance company is a group of teenagers who create and perform shows about global and social issues that affect our lives each and every day.  Destiny Arts Center has taught me to be aware of others and myself.”  Alaysia Brooks, 17

“Not many places can generate the comfort of home out of the obstacles that a person can recognize in their peers.  Destiny Arts Center is one of those places, and its Youth Performance Company has, in a very short time, created a space within myself where I feel acceptance with my being. To create love out of a place of violence is nothing short of divine.  This is what Destiny does on a daily basis.”  Anisah Abdullah, 17

“I always want to go to Destiny.  There has never been a time that I wanted to leave the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company.  The fellow students and friends I have met here have grown into the greatest people I know.  We learn to open our minds and hearts to our community.  We are encouraged to pay attention to global issues and to put our ideas into action.   With Destiny I have performed at the Bioneers Conference in Marin County, the Green Festival in San Francisco, the Children’s American Holiday Parade in Oakland, and at many many other events. I have worked with Balinese and aerial dancers, and attended events that focus on global warming, violence prevention, political issues, and other pressing issues in my own community.  Now my eyes are open to the bigger picture.  I think about my actions carefully and respect the actions of others.  I have learned to respond to anger in a peaceful manner and have become a more accepting human being.  Destiny has helped me to grow into the person I want to be.”                  Chloe Alston, 16

“Destiny has personally changed my life for the better.  It has made me a more kind, thoughtful, and compassionate person.  As I’m developing the ability to express myself through dance, I am realizing my passion.  Destiny is my home away from home.”  Dorianna Blitt, 15

“Destiny has helped me grow over the years. When I first got to Destiny I was this shy little girl who hid behind her mom and refused to take group classes. Now I am able to be part of the Destiny Company doing big shows in front of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. And I even have some speaking parts. Through dance I am able to connect to the public in a peaceful way, to let them know that the youth of Oakland are out there doing positive things. Destiny is special because of the connection we have with the community.  Every performance we have, the audience loves us because we make a change.”                  Julia Phillips, 17

“Before joining the Company, although I was very “smart” in an academic way, I wasn’t really able to express myself emotionally.  Through working with the show and performing last year I have really become able to express my emotions and tell my story.  In the show early in 2011, I performed a monologue about being bullied in school for being perceived as gay.  Through Destiny I was able to come to terms with this and truly grow from the experience.”  Sasha Petterson, 16

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Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company (DAYPC)

Part of the Destiny Arts Center model is to consciously foster young artists. The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company (DAYPC) was formed for youth ages 13-18 in order to create productions that are dynamic forums for young people to express their fears, hopes, and strategies for confronting challenging personal and social issues. Since 1993, the group has matured into a committed, multicultural group of teens from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds who bring their narratives to the table in creating their annual production in collaboration with DAYPC Co-Artistic Directors Sarah Crowell and Rashidi Omari and invited professional artists. All productions combine hip hop, modern, aerial dance, theater, martial arts, song, rap, and spoken word as artistic mediums. Company members rehearse twice/week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-7:30PM. As the season progresses, rehearsal times increase. The group performs up to 30 times during the season, mostly on weekends.

2014 AUDITION:  September, 2014 – exact date TBA


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Destiny Junior Company (DJC)

The Destiny Junior Company (DJC) is a rigorous training ground in dance, theater and performance for youth ages 9-12. DJC company members undergo an audition process to assess their readiness to be a member of a performance team as well as their current level of technical achievement. All invited members of DJC perform portions of the annual production written and co-created by DAYPC and they also co-write and choreograph one original show per year.  DJC members are expected to take one Destiny technique class in addition to their twice/weekly rehearsals (Tues/Thurs, from 4:30-5:30PM).  This year Destiny is proud to introduce Mika Lemoine, a Destiny alum and current Destiny hip hop instructor, as the new artistic director of the Destiny Junior Company.

2014 AUDITION:  September, 2014 – exact date TBA

We host auditions at our North Oakland arts center at the beginning of every new school year!

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School Year 2013-14 Audition Dates

Destiny Junior Company
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 4:30-6:30pm

Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company
Thursday, October 24, 2013 4:30-8:30pm

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How to prepare:  Come prepared to work hard and support your fellow auditioners.

What to wear:  Clothes you can move in. Sweats. t-shirts and sneakers or modest tights and jazz shoes are some forms of suggested attire.

What to expect: Auditions will last several hours and begin from the moment you step into the room. Destiny directors are watching for each participant’s dance and theater skills as well as willingness to be an attentive audience member and the ability to support and encourage their competitors.

Upon entry, auditionees will receive a number, warm up with the group and learn short hip hop and modern dance routines that they then perform for a small panel of judges. You may also be asked to freestyle for several measures at the end of the given choreography. You will then read a short monologue from a previous Destiny production.

Optional: You may also prepare a solo a small group routine (with other auditionees).  This routine can be in any form of dance/movement you choose and must be no longer than one minute in length.  You must bring your own music.  You may also perform a poem, monologue of your choice.  This must also be no longer than one minute in length.

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Destiny Arts youth performance companies have performed for audiences throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Our performances are a powerful mixture of youth-written monologues, dialogue and scene work, multiple dance styles, and martial arts. All of our content is derived from company members’ experience with relevant social issues that affect the day-to-day lives of their communities.

If you are interested in booking one of the companies for a performance or event, please call or Sarah Crowell Artistic Director, at 510-597-1619 x 102 or sarah@destinyarts.org. Because we work with school-aged youth, we generally do not accept commissions during the school day.

DESTINY ARTS YOUTH PERFORMANCE COMPANY SCHEDULE 2013-2014

Regular Rehearsals & Scriptwriting

Tuesdays & Thursdays – MANDATORY REGULAR REHEARSALS (starting 10/29/13)
4:30-7:30pm @ Destiny Arts Center
Fridays -  OPTIONAL SCRIPTWRITING (starting 12/6/12)
4:30-6:30pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Community Performances/Recitals/Events

Saturday, November 9
SHOW:  People’s Victory Garden event (returning company members only)
Arrive at event location (5316 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) by 2:30pm
Show over at 5pm

Tuesday, November 26
SHOW:  Teen event at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, SF
Arrive at Destiny at 4pm; carpools leave at 4:15pm
Show over in SF at 9pm

Friday, December 6
SHOW:  First Friday at the Vessel Gallery
Arrive at Destiny at 6:30pm (old company members only)
Show starts at 8:30pm; over at 9pm

Saturday, December 14
RECITAL:  Destiny’s Love in Action Recital
Arrive at McClymonds High School at 5pm
Show over at 9pm

Sunday, February 9
SHOW:  Black Choreographers Festival (performances and dance classes) @ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF
Arrive at at Destiny at 10am; carpools leave at 10:15am
Dance classes:  11am-4pm
Show begins at 4pm; Show over at 5pm – free and open to the public

Friday, February 14
SHOW:  One Billion Rising V-Day Performance@ First Presbyterian Church 2619 Broadway @ 27th Street, Oakland
Arrive at event location at 5pm
Show begins at 7pm; Show over at 9pm – complimentary tickets available to family members

SATURDAY, MARCH 1
EVENT:  Punch for Peace/Kick for Kindness – Fundraiser
10am-12noon at Destiny Arts Center

Thursday, March 13
SHOW:  Teens Tackle Tobacco, Alcohol & Drugs Youth Wellness Conference @ the Clark Kerr Conference Center, Berkeley, CA
Arrive at Destiny at 7am; carpools leave at 7:30am
Show begins at 8:45am; Show over at 9:45am - closed conference for youth only

Saturday, May 17
SHOW:  Destiny 25th Anniversary Fundraiser/Gala at Destiny Arts Center
Arrive at Destiny at 4pm – tickets available from Destiny Arts Center, no complimentary tickets available

Saturday, June  7
RECITAL:  Destiny’s “Moving for Peace” Recital
Details TBA

Retreat

Friday, November 22 – Sunday, November 24
Arrive at Destiny on Friday at 4pm – carpools leave at 4pm
Pick up students at Destiny on Sunday at 2pm
The retreat is happening at NatureBridge in the Marin Headlands

Extra Rehearsals

Friday, February 28
4:30-8pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 1
1:30-6pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Friday, March 7
4:30-8pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 8
1:30-6pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Friday, March 14
4:30-8pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 15
1:30-6pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Friday, March 21
4:30-8pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 22
1:30-6pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Friday, March 28
4:30-8pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 29
1:30-6pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Sunday, March 30 (aerial dancers only)
4-7pm @ the Laney College Theater

The BIG SHOW At Laney College Theater

TECH WEEK
Monday-Thursday, March 31-April 3
4-10pm each evening

SHOWS
Friday, April 4
10am-10:30pm (show time: 7:30pm)

Saturday, April 5
1pm-10:30pm (show time: 7:30pm)

Tuesday, April 8
7am-5pm (show times: 10am & 1:30pm)

Friday, April 11
4pm-10:30pm (show time: 7:30pm)

Saturday, April 12
11am-10:30pm (show times: 2pm & 7:30pm)

Sunday, April 13
2pm-8pm (show time: 5pm)

 

DESTINY JUNIOR COMPANY SCHEDULE 2013-2014

Regular Rehearsals

Tuesdays & Thursdays
4:30-5:30pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Community Performances/Recitals

Saturday, December 14
SHOW:  Destiny’s Love in Action Recital
Arrive at McClymonds High School at 5pm
Show over at 9pm

Saturday, May 17
SHOW:  Destiny Fundraiser/Gala at Destiny Arts Center
Details TBA

Tuesday, June 3
SHOW:  Destiny Junior Company original show
Showtime:  6:30pm

Saturday, June 10
SHOW:  Destiny’s “Moving for Peace” Recital
Details TBA

Extra Rehearsals

Saturday, March 2
1:30-3pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 9
1:30-3pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 16
1:30-3pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 23
1:30-3pm @ Destiny Arts Center

Saturday, March 30
1:30-3pm @ Destiny Arts Center

The BIG SHOW At Laney College Theater

TECH WEEK
Monday-Thursday, March 31-April 3
4:30-6pm each evening

SHOWS
Friday, April 4
4pm-10:30pm (show time: 7:30pm)

Saturday, April 5
4pm-10:30pm (show time: 7:30pm)

Tuesday, April 8
8am-5pm (show times: 10am & 1:30pm)

Friday, April 11
5pm-10:30pm (show time: 7:30pm)

Saturday, April 12
12pm-10:30pm (show times: 2pm & 7:30pm)

Sunday, April 13
3pm-8pm (show time: 5pm)

 

Soon after I started participating in Destiny programs, things rapidly started to turn around for me.

Daudi Manent’o
Destiny Alum 1990-1997, College graduate, Scientist