Noe Valley Voice February 2005

Young Dancers Need a Lift to Japan

By Sandra Halladey

Long before she could walk, my daughter Emma was dancing! When she was 2, we discovered that a dance class for toddlers was starting at the Noe Valley Ministry. We checked it out and met Takami Craddock--a dancer and a teacher. The class was full, and was intended for 3-year-olds. Takami told me that if I could find some other 2-year-olds, she would start another class. We did.

Now, eight years later, Emma still takes dance classes from Takami, as do a handful of the other original students. Takami teaches a series of classes with more than 50 students at the Ministry, as well as at the Discovery Studio. The program, known as DancEsteem, consists of a mixture of modern and traditional dance with an emphasis on improvisation.

Takami is in very close contact with her dance teacher, Sanae Hara, from Japan, and each summer she performs there. Last May, Sanae Hara and students from the Sanae Hara Dance Academy traveled to San Francisco for an exchange of dance and culture. They performed with DancEsteem at the Brava Theatre, met families from San Francisco, and traveled in the Bay Area.

This June, the advanced students from DancEsteem will accompany Takami to Japan to perform with students from the Sanae Hara Dance Academy. They will be going to Takami's hometown of Numazu City, Shizuoka, Japan. It is about an hour south of Tokyo, near Mt. Fuji, and faces the Pacific Ocean. It is a very famous port city with very good sushi, mandarin oranges, and green tea. This will be a fantastic opportunity for these young committed dancers, and a cultural exchange that is valuable for both countries.

Due to the high cost of this trip, DancEsteem will be raising money. The students will be holding a performance/ demonstration and bake sale at the Noe Valley Ministry on Sunday, Feb. 13, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., for a suggested donation of $10. This is an opportunity to support the Japan trip, see emerging artists on the San Francisco dance scene, and learn more about DancEsteem.

If you would like to donate or hear more about the program, call Takami Craddock at 415-665-3914. The Ministry is located at 1021 Sanchez Street, between Elizabeth and 23rd streets.

Sandra Halladey lives on Castro Street with her husband, Paul Lanier, and their two children, Emma, 10, and William, 8.

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