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Connecting Arts-N-Schools

Presented by USLI

The Connecting Arts-N-Schools (CANS) series is designed to bring performing artists directly into schools for students grades PreK - 12. Programs are intended to enhance the in-school curriculum by engaging students and teachers in the arts impactfully. Connecting Arts-N-Schools events are held throughout the school year with a focus on neighboring schools in the West Philadelphia community. Events are 60 minutes long and presented free of charge.

The program has served over 69,000 young people since 2003. Recent CANS performances have featured: 

  • Flamenco Olé!
  • Gabriele Tefsa-Guma & Dancers
  • Give and Take Jugglers & Little Circus
  • Inca Son
  • Kùlú Mèlé African Dance & Drum Ensemble
  • Los Bomberos de la Calle
  • People of Earth
  • Sharon Katz & The Peace Train
  • The Rock School for Dance Education
  • Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble
  • Usiloquy Dance Designs
  • Zen One Dance Collective

2020 CANS Series
Los Bomberos de la Calle
March 11 - 13, 2020

This year, Los Bomberos de la Calle was our featured artist. Bomba is one of the traditional musical styles of Puerto Rico. It is the mixture of the three different cultures of the Island: the Spanish, African, and Taino cultures. While Bomba can be used as the generic name for a number of rhythms, its real meaning is about the encounter and creative relationship between dancers, percussionists, and singers. Bomba is a communal activity that still thrives in its traditional centers of Loíza, Santurce, Mayagüez, Ponce, New York City, and now Philadelphia! 

2019 CANS Series
People of Earth
March 12 - 19, 2019

In March 2019, the Mann presented People of Earth as its featured artist for the 2019 Connecting Arts-N-Schools (CANS) program. People of Earth led students on a journey of Afro-Cuban music engaging with them through interactive song and dance. People of Earth encouraged students to learn more about what makes them unique as we are all people of earth. Through their own elaboration of identity, People of Earth shared stories of their own personal development and the influence music had on their growth. By sharing their love of cultural music at our partner schools, People of Earth imparted the notion of appreciating your history and what makes every individual a uniquely beautiful person of earth.

2018 CANS Series
Klezmer Meets Jazz
April 30 - May 4, 2018

The Mann brought its Connecting Arts-N-Schools (CANS) initiative to its festival partner schools once again with the 2018 presentation of Klezmer Meets Jazz. To date, CANS has reached more than 65,000 students citywide through a series of multidisciplinary programs in music, dance, and theatre. Klezmer Meets Jazz explored the side-by-side development of two improvising music and dance traditions: jazz & traditional Jewish klezmer.

For more information on Connecting Arts-N-Schools or to become a participating school, please contact Naomi Gonzalez, Vice President of Education & Community Engagement, at