A Full Dance Card
Photo by Francis Da Silva
Charlotte Nehm says Dance Professor Albirda Rose "is the
most inspiring teacher ever." For the past two years, Nehm has
taught in Rose's Village Dancers program, which sends SF State undergrads
to teach free classes to children in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley
and Bayview neighborhoods. "Dr. Rose will get to Saturday classes,
and she'll be so tired because of all she does," Nehm says, "and
then the kids arrive, and she gives them everything."
The program grew out of Rose's Creative Dance class, which requires
community service. Most University students help lead the Village Dancers
only in the fall, when Rose's class is in session. But others have volunteered
to teach year-round, and last November the Village Dancers won a $25,000
grant from the Haas Fund to help pay them for their efforts.
"These children deal with a reality that is so different from what
most of us can comprehend," says Rose, who has taught at SF State
since 1969. "They're dealing with parents who are not home, who
are on welfare, are on drugs."
She and her volunteers teach a mix of dance styles, but their lessons
extend far beyond steps. They focus on inspirational "d-words":
dedication, devotion and detachment from negative influences. They also
perform at senior homes, and at the Village Dancers' annual "New
Moves" showcase the second week of November at McKenna Theatre.
Rose hopes her Village Dancers will continue long after she leaves SF
State (she plans on retiring in about two years). In the meantime, she
says, teaching troubled kids is simply her calling. "It's a ministry