The Cal Performances Classroom (K-12)


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What's a Cal Performances Classroom? Your classroom, of course!

Download the 2017/18 Cal Performances Classroom brochure

Download the 2017/18 Cal Performances Classroom order form

The arts are an endlessly replenishable resource for a lifelong love affair with thinking, learning and feeling across disciplines and cultures. They connect fluidly with curriculum throughout the school years, and—perhaps with more endurance—they connect us to ideas and reflection on human experience that can't easily be expressed any other way.

Each season at Cal Performances, you will find a menu of compelling performances and classroom opportunities for any age. You can create your Cal Performances classroom through any or all of our artistic literacy programs for grades K–12. Cal Performances holds artistic literacy on a par with language and numerical literacy. Those who are artistically literate hold the keys to a lifelong engagement with the arts, able to unlock and make personal connections to any work of art, regardless of level of familiarity with the work and the artists.

Artistic literacy skills are developed in the Cal Performances classroom as students and teachers are engaged in the artist's process. These skills are embedded in everything we do, from pre-performance talks to community conversations to teacher workshops and artist visits to the classroom.

You can create your Cal Performances classroom through any or all of our artistic literacy programs for grades K-12:

SchoolTime Performances: Five of our regularly scheduled performances are reprised in one-hour performances during the school day.

Teacher Workshops: Three-hour immersions into the creative process of performing artists on our stage, scheduled approximately three weeks before a SchoolTime Performance to give you plenty of time to engage your students in preparation for seeing the performance.

Master Teaching Artist Classroom Visits: For an additional fee, teachers who take a workshop can enrich their students' experience of performances by signing up for Master Teaching Artists to visit their classrooms before a SchoolTime Performance.

K-12 Artistic Literacy Engagement Guides: When you become a Cal Performances Classroom, you get access to our Engagement Guides, designed to situate you and your students into the artistic process.

AileyCamp/AileyAlums: A tuition-free six week summer program inspired by Alvin Ailey and fully funded and run by Cal Performances.

Cal Performances Classroom is made possible, in part, by Wells Fargo.


All performances begin at 11am.

National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

September 20, 2017 at 11am CANCELLED
Charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the gifted musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela convey the extraordinary power of music directly to your students. The orchestra's members are products of their country's world-famous El Sistema music education program; they honor the highest standards of excellence, and are bolstered by a contagious sense of youthful optimism.

Festival of South African Dance
November 13, 2017 at 11am and 1:30pm
Two uniquely South African dance forms—Gumboot dancing, with its roots among black miners during Apartheid, and the energetic urban street dancing of Pantsula—combine for a high-energy performance celebrating social movements that were powerful enough to transform a country.
Imago Theatre, La Belle
November 27, 2017 at 11am
This marvelously inventive new production is part Beauty and the Beast, part Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and features two actors and a cast of automatons and shadow puppets in a whimsical steampunk love story. A performance filled with intricate gears, giant water wheels, handmade contraptions, and mischievous fairies, all run by both machines and puppeteers.
Peking Acrobats
January 29, 2018 at 11am and 1:30pm
Don't miss the return of the agile and exuberant Peking Acrobats! Combining deep cultural traditions and rigorous training in ancient folk arts with sleek, 21st-century theatricality, these graceful artists perform to live music played on Chinese instruments and dazzle with their aerial routines, juggling, tumbling, gymnastics, and daring stunts.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
April 11 & 12, 2018 at 11am
With repertoire that celebrates classics like Ailey's timeless Revelations, as well as new work that engages directly with vital social movements, the company creates dances that have the power to transform lives.

Download the 2017/18 Cal Performances Classroom brochure

Download the 2017/18 Cal Performances Classroom order form
Teacher Workshops

Conducted by our dynamic Master Teaching Artists, Teacher Workshops are interactive, engaging explorations of the works of art presented at SchoolTime Performances. Customized for each performance, the workshops are inquiry-based and flexible for adaptation in your classroom. Engagement guides with step-by-step guidelines, activities and relevant background material are included with each workshop. All workshops will take place at Longfellow Middle School, 1500 Derby Street (at Sacramento St.) in Berkeley.

Movement Inspiring Change
Sat, Oct 7
The powerful stories of South Africa's social movements are embedded in its Gumboot and Pantsula dance forms. Together, we’ll explore how these dances communicated ideas and identity, united communities, and inspired a country's path to justice. Most importantly, we’ll give you the tools to take these ideas back to your students.

SchoolTime: Festival of South African Dance (Mon, Nov 13, 11am & 1:30pm)

Dance: The Language of Gesture
Sat Feb 24
Choreographers closely observe everyday gestures and then enhance, intensify, and link these movements together into dances that tell stories, express ideas, and evoke emotions. Join us as we explore how to "read" dance by examining physical expression and movement, and then how to "write" our own choreographic phrases.

SchoolTime: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Wed, March 15, and Thu, March 16)

Contact eduprogramscalperformances.org or Rica Anderson, Education Programs Manager at 510.642.6838 for more information.

Download the 2017/18 Cal Performances Classroom brochure

Download the 2017/18 Cal Performances Classroom order form

Master Teaching Artists

Teaching Artists have a double professional identity: they are trained and practicing artists, and they are skilled to teach through a variety of learning experiences that open the arts to a deeper understanding and provide a pathway for reflection and connection. They have expertise in their artistic profession and expertise in creating environments that invite learning and meaning-making through and with the arts.

At Cal Performances, we are privileged to work with some of the Bay Area's best Master Teaching Artists at the peak of their artistic and teaching practice. Our Teaching Artists work with K-12 classrooms, with campus curriculum, and with an array of education, social service, health, community and business partners. Our roster includes nationally and internationally respected Teaching Artists who are leaders both in their art forms and in the Teaching Artist Field. You will meet them at the Teacher Workshops, and you can bring them to your classroom to work with your students directly.

Only teachers who attend a Cal Performances Teacher Workshop can schedule a Master Teaching Artist visit.

K-12 Engagement Guides

The practice of good teaching and learning aligns with rigorous artistic inquiry, and you'll be able to guide your students step-by-step through an artistic challenge that will introduce them to creative thinking and problem-solving similar to that of the working artist. Each engagement guide includes project-based learning, reflection and frames for making personal and meaningful connections to the work of art. Engagement Guides are posted 3 weeks before the SchoolTime Performances so you have time to prepare yourself and your classroom for a deeper experience. Check here for updated materials 3 weeks before the performance date.


A tuition free summer program inspired by Alvin Ailey and fully funded and run by Cal Performances. Dance instruction in four disciplines—modern, ballet, African, and Jazz—is complemented by personal development and creative communication classes that develop self-esteem discipline and critical thinking in youth ages 11-14. More about AileyCamp >>