Community Arts Partner

Participant Details

Community Arts Partner Name
Franchesska Berry
Partner Type
Profile Photo
Individual Bio or
Organizational Statement
Franchesska Berry has created an eloquent style as performer, choreographer, artistic director and gifted authentic intercultural arts educator. Her unique dance style integrates the disciplines of Western (ballet, modern, jazz), West African, Brazilian; Caribbean and Cuban dance styles. Ms. Berry uses dance, rhythm, 21st Century Storytelling to impart a modern context for indigenous culture. Franchesska is celebrated as an extraordinary cultural educator who has the rare ability to engage students from every social, class, racial and diverse background in rigorous learning that is often accentuated with kinesthetic practice and personal narrative. Franchesska inculcates cultural theory, practices kinesthetic learning; uses narrative and cultural exploration to draw students toward her authentic approach which promotes greater global awareness. Global exposure through the arts provides intellectual development that manifest in the form of diverse creative learning that focuses on the holistic development of students, in terms of art, that molds students to achieve their potential making them ambitious and motivated individuals. As an international scholar and ambassadress it is Ms. Berry’s privilege and intention to be “Utilized as a powerful vehicle for inspiring future leaders of the 21st Century to challenge what is in favor and convenient in exchange for what can be.”

Contact Information

First Name
Last Name
2915 Rainier Avenue South, Unit 404
Address 2

Grade Levels Preferred

Grade Levels Preferred
K-2, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th

Artistic Disciplines

Dance, 2, 4, 6
Franchesska 's focus is rooted within the traditional cultural norms, indigenous  songs and dances from West Africa and the African Diaspora; however her expertise is not limited to African based forms.  She has a comprehensive teaching, choreography and performance effectuation in the western classical forms of ballet, modern, jazz, improvisational dance and hip-hop.  Ms. Berry does not segregate dance, feels and instills that all movement stems from the same wellspring of human expression, dialects of the same language. For Franchesska, teaching and translating dance is as much about compassion and communication with us and our communities as it is about rhythm, body position and footwork. In teaching and in performance, she specializes in Djembe, Sabar, Kutiro, Bougarabou and Tama dances of West Africa. She is also well versed in folkloric Afro-Brazilian (Bahia) as well as Cuban dance styles. Her teaching focuses on the development of technique, confidence and cultivating a family atmosphere of respect and reverence in her classes. Franchesska is quite passionate in her belief that by creating a vibrant intercultural engagement, exchange, and reciprocal education; demonstrates how all members of the human species may benefit from participating in the vital traditions of cultural norms and shared creative artistic visions.


Previous School Partnerships
Other Trainings or Certifications
Sample Lesson Description: Student / Classroom Residencies
Sample Workshop Description: Teacher Professional Development

Areas of Experience and Expertise

Approved Professional Development Provider
Approved Classroom Residency Provider

Lesson Plan

Integrated Art
Cultural Art

Teaching Approach

Teaching Philosophy + Approach
Through Franchesska's own cultural knowledge, awareness and capabilities as an intercultural dance educator and teacher she fosters, in others, individual educators these same skills and knowledge base; as well as self-confidence and optimism to do this critical work. A variety of collaborative experiences may be developed for partnering with teachers. One philosophy is strategizing closely with classroom teachers in terms of planning, implementation and collaborating including an assessment plan the teacher, too, is comfortable with. Franchesska shares topics, materials, resources, experiential exercises and follow up applications of dance for future teaching opportunities. Franchesska focuses upon the knowledge and skill, in the medium, of dance, rhythm as well as the culturally competent understanding of the teacher's expression in West African dance and mores; corresponding to student's discovery and clarifying of their individual voices, experiences and points of view in the medium. Franchesska informs the teacher of the necessary resources needed such as: Movement/Performance Space, DVD/CD Player, Journaling Notebooks for extended residencies, Bolts of Fabric for simple Improvisational African dress for community performance. The school will surely possess Video documentation to share, exchange, engage and inspire with fellow students to reflect, infuse self and the community with tremendous pride.
Curriculum Integration Possibilities
During Franchesska Berry’s introduction to West African Dance and Culture—Student learners are greeted in the languages of Wolof and French. Western students are immediately transformed into international intercultural students We will discuss exactly where West Africa is, its peoples and the cosmology. Students will be guided into choreography through a demonstration by Franchesska and the traditional rhythms and music of West Africa. It would be customary to introduce the other artistic discipline and subject areas Franchesska has lead integrated residencies includes "Improvisational Theater" where students are introduced to The Improv Mindset: Complete acceptance of their own spontaneity, while committing to utilize everyone's brilliant ideas. The most efficient learning happens when we are comfortable with being uncomfortable. If students embrace, or even entertain these ideas, an understanding of Sense of Self and Empathy will flourish. A Lasting Component of Integrated Curriculum Franchesska implements and hones throughout the residencies include focusing on content and higher level thinking. Franchesska is an avid storyteller (Griot) who believes in the power of Symbolic Imagery and Rhythm. Symbolic Imagery is the sharing of symbolic stories that remain in long term memory. Rhythm is used as Function. Which explains how the function or the Why and How of the story is important. Franchesska believe by sharing real-life experiences of being a lifelong learner and international citizen will encourage lifelong learning and will nurture global studies. Franchesska is always excited to see how students will create and structure their learning around themes, big ideas and meaningful concepts from the indigenous pedagogy shared. By providing connections among various curricular disciplines students are provided opportunities to apply the skills they have learned in hopes of captivating, motivating and providing a deeper understanding of content which accommodates a variety of learning styles/theories (i.e., social learning theory, cooperative learning, intrinsic motivation, and self-efficacy) and multiple intelligence's meaning musical–rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Cultural Arts integrated residencies encourage cross-cultural interest as well as establishing community spirit and cooperation.
Special Skills and Areas of Expertise
Franchesska was the featured cultural teaching artist for several Graduate Series, teacher training's at  "The Broadway YEAR PROGRAM" in Tacoma, WA.
Franchesska Berry provided personal narrative cross-cultural lectures to introduce the National Ballet Du Senegal performances at the University of Washington's Meany World Dance Series Premiere'. The Boeing Corporation’s education/diversity program sponsored Franchesska's education program for at risk youth. Franchesska's At Risk youth dance ensemble toured and perform for their employees and their families at Boeing. Franchesska worked with individuals from a broad range of socioeconomic, educational and cultural backgrounds as a Cultural Arts Instructor at the Langston Hughes Arts Center, Planned Parenthood Checkpoint and in the KC Juvenile Detention Center for the Stars Program. Franchesska co-directed co-choreographed in developing the original and new reprisal touring performance titled: Eleven Days in the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a twelve movement work that marries choreography with spoken word based on deeper research and visits both critical moments and a deeper contextualization of King's work. Franchesska's work in collaboration with Dr. Gordon, and led by playwright Lucas Smiraldo has reach 30,000 youth in a six to eight week touring period. Franchesska earned the distinguished honor of Fulbright Scholar to Cairo, Egypt at the prestigious Academy of Arts as artiste', lecturer, performer and choreographer to the Royal Ballet of Cairo the African and African-American dance she fashioned into a intercultural arts program – international in its reach and value. Franchesska Berry served as Resident Scholar at Cheikh Anta Diop University in                       Dakar, Senegal where she translated and taught a deeper researched Western based curriculum to indigenous students, expatriates, the local community –sons and daughters of diplomats, officials, and international business professionals. She worked closely with faculty/diplomatic officials to ensure an effective and successful Culturally Competent American Civilization’s program.  
Testimonials from Schools
Michael J. Sander, Director of  the Bethel School District, Art's Education & Curriculum Integration. Office:  (253)683.6957 Email: Debbie McGibbon, Director of the Powerful Schools' Extended Learning. Office 206.7222-5543, Email: Lucas Smiraldo, Tacoma Poet Laureate, Post Associate Director for Education at The Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, Office: 253.202.3473 Lynda Belt, Arts Are the Answer, Office:  360.483.9032, Email: Nate Robinsion, City of Tukwila, Teen Program Specialist, Email:, Office 206.768.2828  Direct:  206.767.2317




Image Description
I teach at the Tukwila Community Center. This photo reflects a group of beautiful young students who desired to study African dance and to truly learn about the traditional mores of Africa.
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This powerful photograph is the result from an integrated arts residency in Pierce County. These extremely compassionate students had many barriers to overcome such as extreme bullying, anxiety of fellow classmates suffering from homeless.
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This reflection expresses the "Healing phenomena of the arts." These Burien High students protested the lack of indigenous representation of teaching within their school. Also, there were longstanding cultural divisions within the school.
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In this performance photograph, I strive to erode barriers without denying their existence by examining them together, reaching my hands out and feeling the textures of the differences, thereby experiencing them together and allowing them to unite.


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