Our web series, "Better Know Cincy's Arts," gives you a closer look at the organizations you help support through the annual ArtsWave Campaign. Check out the third episode above to learn more about Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers, one of the many organizations that receive ArtsWave funding.

"Obviously, ballet classes have a lot of tutus and skirts and frills," says Claire Dieringer, studio director and programs manager at Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers. "But, we know some kids aren't comfortable with glittery things, itchy things or high necklines, so we survey the parents to make sure that we can find them a costume that they feel comfortable in."

From the beginning, Mutual Dance has differentiated itself by breaking down barriers within the dance realm. Formed by a merger between Contemporary Dance Theater and MamLuft&Co Dance in 2021 (made possible by an ArtsWave grant), the organization consists of a resident professional dance company (Mutual Dance Theatre) and the region's first academy for modern dance (Mutual Arts Centers).

Access has always been a priority for Mutual Arts Centers. That goes well beyond a flexible costume policy. "What matters to us is that you're coming to dance class. That's what's important, that you're here," Dieringer explains. She notes that Mutual's classes charge well below what would be considered competitive tuition rates, noting, "It says right on our website, 'If finances are the reason you're not signing up for classes, please reach out to us.'" Those who reach out are offered a pay-what-you-can model. Around 15% of students attend classes at no cost, and 50% receive discounted tuition.

Dieringer recalls a particular dancer who struggled with health problems as a child. The student's mom sent an email saying she never thought her child would have the experience of dancing on a stage. Discounted tuition made it possible. "We're proud to say that we never turn anybody away for financial hardships," says Dieringer. "We're able to meet those needs...because of ArtsWave funding."

In fact, the organization receives Sustaining Impact grant funding from ArtsWave. That unrestricted funding creates the necessary stability to continue offering dance training regardless of financial status.

Your gift to the ArtsWave Campaign ensures the continued stability to keep organizations like Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers operating. Give today at artswave.org/give.