Workshops and Classes

As of 2015, Joe Orrach and JOPP’s outreach programs have impacted over 2,000 students, mostly at-risk youth.

With the structural support of JOPP’s nonprofit status, we hope to make a difference in many more students’ lives. Our organization involves other artists, educators, and support to help us develop projects that demonstrate to students and the public how dance and physical performance enhance self-expression and help to create an integrated self. We immerse youth in the creation of new performance pieces, giving them the opportunity to see how personal stories and creative ideas can be expressed and performed in a way that encourages participation and self-confidence.

JOPP’s seminal work, In My Corner, has been presented in high schools where students assist with production activities such as lighting, sound, organizing the production space, and staging. They are actively engaged in Q and A’s, critiques, and classroom sessions about how the work is developed and how a personal story becomes a piece that can be expressed in movement and narrative for an audience. The students do physical exercise using dance and movement to experience how artists can translate a story into dance and narrative. The response in schools has always been high enthusiasm and intense engagement, and JOPP is often invited for return engagements with this evolving work. As a touring production, Orrach takes the project to public schools around the country and uses it as a performance occasion for follow-up discussions and workshops with students. Orrach’s workshops let students experience the accessibility of art and story through dance, athletic movements, and the body in motion.

“He [Joe] really motivated me to do what my heart wants me to do, no matter what obstacle is in my way.”

– Rodrigo P., student at Estancia High School

The Boxer, a piece solely based in dance which Orrach originated and performed in European venues, is a work he has also performed and used at a spring-board for movement and discussion with teenagers in lock-down environments and after school programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Boys and girls with different degrees of athleticism and physical abilities are so engaged that the instructors have repeatedly encouraged his return.

Orrach has also conducted workshops for adults who are often seen as on the fringes of society. Through a residency at Pasadena Playhouse, he has taught workshops for former gang members and others who wish to become gang interventionists. He worked in tandem with the Advancement Project, a civil-rights organization that trains gang interventionists in areas of LA considered at-risk “hot zones.” Through his workshops, Orrach has helped former gang members to find their voices and helped them communicate with others about the fears and hardships that drove them to join gangs, as well as the heartbreak that gave them the courage to turn their lives around.

Click here for a full list of the workshops and classes Joe Orrach has led through JOPP.

Please contact us if you would like to host a JOPP workshop at your school or organization.

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