Girls Leading Girls Performance

The girls leading girls tour

The Girls Leading Girls Tour is Dandelion’s signature school outreach program.

At each tour stop, our Performance Company shares dance works on social justice issues that have been conceptualized and created entirely by its members and co-facilitates a hands-on workshop.

The Performance Company reflects the racial, religious, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity of our community. It also includes members of differing abilities and body types. As such, dance works reflect a wide range of lived experiences.

What happens at each tour stop?

Girls speaking to audience

Performance + Q&A

Students of all genders need to see diverse young women standing up and creating change in the world! This is why we start with a powerful 60- minute show to share dance works created by our Performance Company. Our show is for the whole student body, grades 4 and up.

These works helps children to understand more about inclusion, kindness, stereotypes, body image and social issues in a developmentally appropriate way.

The live performance is followed by a Q&A, which supports students to personally reflect on what they have just experienced and learned.

Hands-on workshop

After each performance, our young teen leaders co-facilitate the Unapologetic Beauty workshop for a group of 30 girls, alongside our Performance Company Director, Kelsey Walsh. This workshop was originally developed by our Performance Company in 2016.

Perhaps this is why it is so successful – it was created by girls, for girls!

Girls and young women need exposure to relatable, diverse and healthy role models that help them to imagine new possibilities for themselves.

But what they see and hear on-screen and in their daily lives is having the exact opposite effect. Studies overwhelmingly show that girls experience a precipitous decline in their self-confidence and self- esteem as they transition into adolescence.

This is largely due to the widespread sexualization of girls in media of all kinds from a very young age. Girls grow up seeing women in public life being scrutinized for their looks and bodies. And all too often, girls from visible minority groups don’t see themselves reflected in powerful inspiring roles at all.

Struggles with body image and self-esteem greatly impact on girls’ participation in school life and extracurricular activities.

They stop too many girls from trying new things, sharing their ideas, and stepping into leadership roles.

And without exposure to diverse, relatable role models that challenge sexism, racism, ableism and conventional beauty standards, it can be very difficult for girls to believe that something different is possible.

'We are Children' performance

Two-thirds of girls say they don’t see enough relatable characters on film and TV. It is no wonder why: women held only 34% of speaking roles in the top grossing films of 2019. And, only 18% of major female characters were Black, 6% were Latina, and 5% were Asian.

60% of girls stop doing something they LOVE during adolescence because of anxiety over their appearance. Over 70% of girls between 15-17 avoid normal daily activities because they feel badly about their looks.

This must change

We must help all youth – no matter their gender identity – to challenge subconscious notions of what a “leader” looks like, and who deserves to be seen and heard. We must showcase, elevate and celebrate the voices, visions and creations of girls and young women of all walks of life. And, we must help them to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, so that they feel more comfortable being seen and heard in the skin they’re in.

The Girls Leading Girls Tour does exactly that.

Dandelion members

Created by girls, for girls!

Girls in workshop

Inspiration is awesome. It is what sparks curiosity, and makes students think, “Could I do that?”

But inspiration is not enough.

That’s why we take it up a notch at each school after the live performance.

Now is the time to support other girls to experience the power of creation and movement for themselves!

Through one of our Unapologetic Beauty workshops, we take a group of 30 girls on a discovery experience, co- facilitated by the teen leaders of our Performance Company. Together, the group engages in a series of activities and discussions that de-bunk beauty myths, challenge stereotypes, and help girls to see their bodies in new and healthier ways.

Emotional safety is paramount to the well-being of all students.

We have refined The Girls Leading Girls Tour and our workshops over many years to maximize the benefits to all participants. In the process, we have learned that:

  • Seeing our Performance Company members bravely share their own work on stage helps other girls to be brave too.
  • Watching the positive, healthy and relatable role models of our Performance Company helps other girls to feel more comfortable with expressing their own ideas and supports their active participation in the Unapologetic Beauty workshop.

  • Seeing our Performance Company members look up to their Director helps other girls to feel comfortable with our Director too.
  • It can be challenging to get students to follow the lead of a new teacher or facilitator! We have found that when girls see our Performance Company members interacting positively with our Director, they tend to enthusiastically follow suit. This greatly enhances the experience for workshop participants, as the Director can more readily engage them in meaningful content.

  • Seeing our Performance Company members participate in the workshop encourages other girls to participate as well.
  • When it comes to taking risks and trying new things, comfort matters. Participants need to feel they won’t be teased or judged by others. They need to feel emotionally safe. We create this safety by placing Performance Company members in each small group during the workshop, and training them to warmly model vulnerability, respect and inclusion for all participants.

Performance Company in laughing circle

Still touring during COVID-19?

You bet! (just a bit differently)

Dandelion Dance™ is ready to run The Girls Leading Girls Tour in an online/remote format during the pandemic. As necessary, we will replace our regular program with a series of three one-hour weekly workshops for each school that signs up.

Our online program provides girls the opportunity to meet weekly to experience their leadership and build their capacity by creating and discovering through the arts. Each week, girls get to move, create, discover, share and celebrate their voices – all through innovative online activities!

We have modified our activities to specifically engage and support online participants in being comfortable and participating in this new format. We’ve tried it – and it works!

What do the online workshops look like?

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    Each online workshop will begin with a video screening of a dance work created by the young women of our Performance Company.
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    Performance Company members will then speak to the topic of the workshop.
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    Next, workshop participants will be supported to engage in playful and creative activities. These activities will be co-facilitated by members of our diverse Performance Company, helping to create the emotional safety needed for creativity, exploration, and discovery!
Girls dancing, relating together

We offer Girls Leading Girls workshop packages for:

  • Girls in grades 4-6
  • Girls in grades 7-9
  • Girls in grades 10-12

* This online/remote format is suitable for groups
of up to 15 girls.

Online cost:
$500 for 1 cohort
$750 for 2 cohorts

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