Deena Laska receives the Indiana Coalition for the Arts' Community Arts Leadership Award for Arts Educator
Deena Laska-Lewis, founder and artistic director for Children's Center for Dance Education and instructor of Theatre at the University of Southern Indiana, received the Indiana Coalition for the Arts' Community Arts Leadership Award (CALA) for Arts Educator. She was among four CALA recipients to be honored in the annual Arts Day activities, February 21, 2011, for her work in enhancing Hoosiers' lives through the arts. Other recipients and their awards are Sandi Clark, board member of the Lotus Foundation in Bloomington, Ind., Arts Advocate; Gayle Holtman of Indianapolis, executive director for Very Special Arts Indiana, Arts Administrator; and Virgil Exner of the Studebaker national Museum in South Bend, Ind., receiving Arts Volunteer.
Laska, educated and trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, Indiana University and Julliard School of Music in New York City, has danced with companies in the United States and Israel and served as artistic director for dance companies including the Tennessee Ballet in Memphis and Evansville Dance Theatre. This rich experience brings to her classes a caliber of training, technique and style that have provided the foundation for many former students to enter the world of professional dance.
Since its founding in 1995, the Children's Center for Dance Education has reached out to bring dance and dance education "to all children, including high-risk children, transitory children and children from all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities," Mary Jane Schenk, executive director for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, wrote in a letter supporting Laska's nomination.
"Deena is a truly dedicated teacher of dance, but also a valuable contributor to our entire community," Schenk wrote.