COCA Leadership Engages with Community at “Connect with COCA” Parent Night

COCA recently hosted a “Connect with COCA” Parent Night, an event that brought together nearly 50 parents and guardians eager to delve into COCA’s latest developments and impact within the community.

Throughout the evening, attendees had the opportunity to engage directly with COCA leadership, gaining deeper insights into the organization’s programming and the intensive planning behind it.

Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Artistic Director of Dance, outlined the organization’s commitment to giving students a well-rounded education in dance. He introduced the Ballet Eclectica Apprenticeship Company, a program meant to bridge the gap between Ballet Eclectica First and Second Companies for students to have a smoother transition into the next level.

Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Associate Director of Dance & Artistic Director of COCAdance, excitedly announced that The Nutcracker will be performed for the very first time in COCA’s history this fall. Kirven emphasized the importance of allowing student dancers to learn from professional dancers from different parts of the world, highlighting the impact of artistic growth and aspiration.

Shawna Flanigan, COCA’s Artistic Director of Theatre, provided the audience with insights into the restructuring of theatre programming to give access points to students of all ages. She unveiled plans for the Summer Rep program that will go into effect next year, a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in two contrasting musicals simultaneously. This program will provide incredible training for students who are working towards a professional career in theatre.

Dr. Philip A. Woodmore, COCA’s Artistic Director of Voice, shared plans for partnering with the St. Louis Children’s Choir and Ambassadors of Harmony in future performances. He emphasized the sequential course restructuring aimed at empowering students to build upon their skills progressively, ultimately preparing them for professional voice auditions and beyond.

Janelle Velten, Director of Community Programming, highlighted COCA’s commitment to expanding arts accessibility within the community. She emphasized the success of COCA’s summer arts camps, which led to the establishment of a satellite program at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy throughout this summer, enabling more students to benefit from COCA’s enriching experiences.

COCA parents then shared their experiences with the crowd. Kimberly Bentley, COCA Parent & Parent Committee Chair, expressed appreciation for the experience that COCA offers. Anna Tegethoff, COCA Parent & Board Member, emphasized gratitude for her daughter’s exposure to diversity in the arts.

The evening culminated in a Q&A session facilitated by COCA’s President & CEO, Indigo K. Sams, where parents had the opportunity to engage directly with COCA’s leadership, fostering transparency and strengthening the bond between the organization and its community. This event further allows for COCA to cultivate a supportive community where students can thrive and realize their potential.