Moving in the Spirit is an award-winning creative youth development organization. We use the discipline of dance to help children and teens develop the social, emotional and cognitive skills they need to thrive.
Our story began in 1986, when Moving in the Spirit co-founders Dana Lupton, Genene Stewart and Leah Mann came together to activate a shared vision: use the art and discipline of dance to enhance young people’s lives with the skills and competencies needed to gain confidence, develop as critical thinkers, and cultivate a work ethic that prepares them for success. In the 36 years since, Moving in the Spirit has lived out this mission in service to over 5,000 students throughout Atlanta, focusing on those in financially under-resourced communities. Children and teens ages 3 to 18 participate in our programs for an average of seven years.
Moving in the Spirit was the first organization in Georgia to receive the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for after-school and out-of-school-time arts and humanities programs. Other honors include the Governor’s Award for Arts & Humanities and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s Managing for Excellence Award. We embody our founders' shared values of responsibility and accountability in our operations and are among the small percentage of nonprofits to earn Candid's 2022 Platinum Seal of Transparency.
The true success of our programs, however, is best seen in our young people. 100% of our high school seniors graduate on time and go on to college or other postsecondary training (often with significant scholarship awards) or serve in the military. Alumni of our programs mentor current students, sit on our board, serve on our teaching faculty, reinvest as donors, and hold positions as leaders and volunteers in companies and nonprofit organizations across Atlanta and beyond.
While our discipline is dance, our programs are designed to build leaders, personally and professionally. Young people emerge from their time at Moving in the Spirit prepared to make good choices and to enter the world as resourceful citizens and compassionate leaders. We have alumni who are highly regarded leaders in dance, nationally and internationally, but even more of our alumni are successful educators, scientists, marketers, and so on--leaders in a wide array of communities and careers. We teach students to focus on accountability and connection and to make a difference in whatever they choose to pursue. We encourage them to develop and use their voices through choreography focused on social justice, positive self-identity, and other issues relevant to youth.