First Moves

First Moves brings quality arts education to all first graders in Minneapolis Public Schools, enhances current Minnesota Physical Education standards, and empowers PE teachers to incorporate dance vocabulary and concepts into their PE curriculum. Honed over the last three years of successful programming, the residency is built on a four-day structure that allows the Teaching Artist freedom to tailor the experience to the school’s needs.


For young children, first grade is a crucial transitional year; they establish the learning and studying habits they will rely on throughout their education and working life. Dance and creative movement are essential to a first grader’s development because it’s one of the few activities that connect motor skill development with critical thinking, social interaction, and creativity. 


2019/20 Registration Form



Minnesota Dance and Physical Education Standards covered in First Moves:

  • Demonstrating competency in motor skills and movement patterns
  • Understanding movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics
  • Improvising a series of movements that have a beginning, middle, and end



  • $1000 (includes planning meeting, four-day residency and professional development)

  • Purchase must be made by entire grade band or district-wide

Generous support from Aroha Philanthropies allows The Cowles Center to continue to partner with Minneapolis Public Schools’ (MPS) Cultural Experiences Partnerships (CEP) program to offer First Moves, a four-day dance residency during PE class time for Minneapolis first graders at every district elementary school.

To set up your residency, contact:

Paula Vasquez Alzate | Education & Community Engagement Coordinator | 612.206.3635