Kelli Gautreau is the President and founder of Dancing 4 Change, a group of artists and dancers working together to create thought provoking dance videos to help raise awareness for charitable organizations around the world!
“Visual arts has the potential to open hearts, change minds and bring people together,” and that is exactly what Kelli and her group/organization are doing. A trained dancer since the age of five in ballet, jazz, tap, and gymnastics to now working on some of the top Broadway and off-Broadway shows, Kelli is using her skills for good by showing the way to the other young dancers of Dancing 4 Change.
We spoke to Kelli out of her home in New York exclusively about Dancing 4 Change and how it’s making a huge difference in today’s world…
How did you come up with Dancing 4 Change?
I have been dancing since I was 5 years old. I am now a dance teacher and a choreographer. In 2015, I created a dance about mental illness. It was Robin Williams suicide that prompted me to do a dance on this topic. Also, at the time, I was noticing a lot more of the kids that I was teaching suffered from anxiety and depression. I felt very passionate about creating a dance to raise awareness for this topic. This was the first film in the Dancing 4 Change film series.
Why is Dancing 4 Change needed in our society today?
I created Dancing 4 Change because I wanted to create something positive for kids to watch online. There’s enough negative influences out there. I think films like ours are desperately needed. I believe in the power of music and dance and its ability to change people for the better.
Who comes up with the ideas and what charity you partner with for the films?
I come up with film topics based on stories that are covered in the news. I try to zone in on what I think will benefit kids most at the time we are making the film.
What organizations have you worked with before?
Our first film (See Me) I’m In Here! was created to raise awareness for mental illness in children/teens. We worked with the Children’s Mental Health of Leeds and Grenville in Canada and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey. Upon completion, the film was donated to both of these organizations. The film was also donated to NAMI for the REEL MINDS film festival for Mental Health Awareness Month.
Our second film (Stop) Cyber Bullying! was created to raise awareness for the dangers effects of cyberbullying!. It was made in collaboration with an anti- bullying campaign in New Jersey. It was later donated to a Police Station in Canada to use for Anti-bullying assemblies at middle schools.
Our third film is called (Our) Little Secret!. It was created to raise awareness for internet predator related kidnappings. We partnered with Alicia’s Law on this film. Alicia’s Law was created by Alicia Kozakiewicz. Alicia is a survivor of an internet predator kidnapping. Alicia’s Law provides funding to ensure a dedicated steady stream of state-specific funding to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces.
Our fourth film, (Stronger) Together! is being made to raise awareness for sexual assault. We are currently looking for a foundation or charity to work with.
How can others get involved with Dancing 4 Change?
We are always looking for actors and dancers between the ages of 6 years of age and 18 years of age. This of course depends where we film but people are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to express their interest. We are also always looking for film crews in the cities that we film. We are a large team but we are always looking for other people to collaborate with.
What is your ultimate goal for the future?
My ultimate goal is for these Dancing 4 Change films to be seen on a bigger platform. I would love to see them shown before previews at the movie theaters. I want the films to be seen by as many children as possible.