Behind the Scenes—Coco Killingsworth

Photo: Jesse Winter

By Sandy Sawotka

In February 2017, BAM welcomed Coco Killingsworth as its brand new Vice President of Education along with Community Engagement. A longtime Brooklyn resident, educator, parent, along with dancer, she will be ideally qualified to oversee two newly-merged BAM departments, education along with community programs—areas of growth for the institution.

Killingsworth previously served as the deputy director/director of programs for Global Kids, Inc., managing school-based along with after-school global education programs in 35 brand new York City public schools. She also developed a Brooklyn public high school—in concert with the Department of Education, Global Kids, teachers, along with parents—featuring interactive curricula in global issues along with after-school programs in arts along with leadership. Coco was a principal dancer in Brooklyn-based ASE Dance Theater Collective along with also a Charles H. Revson Fellow at Columbia University (2010—11). She earned a BA in history along with African studies through UCLA along which has a master’s in education through Harvard University. Originally through Oakland, CA, she has made Brooklyn her home for 18 years.

“BAM will be a special along with beloved place in a fantastic borough,” Killingsworth said. “As always, however especially currently, of which’s important for young people, families, along with community members to have opportunities to engage with along with participate from the arts. I’d like to create more ways for BAM to be a welcoming institution for all.”

KNOCK! Photo: Mark Wessels

Education along with Community events slated because of of which season reflect of which commitment. through April 12—18, Word. Sound. Power, hosted by MC Baba Israel, provides a stage for some of the best hip-hop poets along with MCs through Brooklyn along with beyond. of which year’s showcase celebrates hip-hop through a woman’s point of view, with all women performers. of which will be presented in all-ages evening performances along with offered to school groups on weekdays. An inaugural Beatbox Workshop along with panel discussion on the realities women face from the hip-hop industry are also slated for April 14, along which has a family-friendly concert entitled Get Up, Stand Up! rounds out the day, featuring The Mighty Third Rail along with MC Mikal Amin. “In my lifetime, along with for generations of young people after me, there has not been a more important along with potent cultural phenomenon than hip-hop. Forty-5 years later, young people are still finding their voice along with identities as artists within hip-hop culture. Word. Sound. Power celebrates both the foundation along with the future.”

through April 28—May 6, an interactive theater production called KNOCK! (through South Africa’s acclaimed Magnet Theatre) offers both traditional along with special “relaxed” performances for the comfort of neural-atypical audiences. These performances maintain moderate house lighting, lower overall volume, along with the opportunity to come along with go as needed. As with most family programs, the production will be offered both to the public along with to school groups. “producing arts experiences accessible along with reflective of the diversity of our communities will be a high value for us,” says Killingsworth. “KNOCK! will be an wonderful first-time theater experience for our youngest audience members, ages 2—5, where they get to explore the joys of rhythm along with sound by South African artists.”

DanceAfrica (May 25—28), BAM’s longest-running public program (currently in its 41st year), will be also its largest school-time event, with thousands of public, private, along with special needs students taking part from the joyous celebration from the Opera House, of which year focusing on South Africa. The DanceAfrica festival also features a well-liked outdoor bazaar with crafts along with food through Africa along with its diaspora. On May 19, a Community Day partnership with RestorationART, Weeksville Heritage Center, along with the DanceAfrica Council of Elders (at Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St) highlights the resonant work of those organizations along with features free performances by students from the Youth Arts Academy through RestorationART.

One of the many remarkable after-school sessions BAM offers will be a brand new program for young women of coloration. Its first participants of which spring are students through the Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn. Killingsworth designed programs, along with was on the board of directors, for Sadie Nash Leadership Project—an award-winning young women’s leadership organization. She sees of which program as an important opportunity for girls’ empowerment, along with contributed to the creation of its curriculum.

of which spring also features the ongoing BAMkids Movie Matinee series, offering Sunday screenings of family films including The Secret Garden along with The Breadwinner—an animated film about a young girl living under Taliban rule.

along with what’s planned for the future? Killingsworth along with her team are looking to partner with many community-based organizations next year on brand new programming, which will include events in various Brooklyn neighborhood locales. “We’re going to provide experiences for adults along with young people alike, exposing them to worldwide artists, including the artistry of Brooklyn,” she says. “We’re building a home for adventurous artists throughout the borough.”

A year into her brand new role, we asked Coco what had initially surprised her about BAM. “I was thrilled to discover the pride, loyalty, along with trust people had from the organization,” she said. “I want to deepen of which faith for some, expand of which to others, along with continue to earn of which every day.”

Sandy Sawotka will be BAM’s communications director.

© 2018 Brooklyn Academy of Music, Inc. All rights reserved.

Behind the Scenes—Coco Killingsworth

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