• Ben Shenk

Fall Programs for All at Thrive 9th Ward

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

For many, Fall is a time of settling back down after the excitement of summer. After a summer as jam-packed as 2019 at Thrive 9th Ward, you might expect the same. This Fall though, Thrive 9th is doing anything but settling down.

A Whole New Lineup of Programs

“We’ve got a whole new lineup of programs that will be kicking off this fall” shared Oscar, Executive Director of Thrive 9th Ward. “All summer long, we’ve gotten to be a part of community members doing great stuff here at the center. So with all the people in an and out, we’ve been hearing what the people in Desire really want. You know, what they feel like the community still needs.”

What did the community ask for?

More dance programming for kids and adults and after school basketball programs were at the top of the list.

And this Fall, T9 is helping local leaders bring all of these new programs to the Desire neighborhood.

According to Oscar, the timing couldn’t have been better, “It’s crazy how it happened. As soon as we started hearing about what people wanted to see in the fall, we heard from local folks on the flip-side, who were looking to start those programs and wanted to use the center.”

Separate from any one-time event, these regular programs will be running Monday-Saturday most weeks this fall, which youth basketball skills training Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Hip-Hop Dance Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and Adult Dance Fitness and Youth Technique and Tumbling classes Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Community Members Use Their Passion to Empower Others

Renata Johnson, the instructor of Virtuous Dance Academy is excited to be bringing her Adult Dance Fitness classes and youth Technique and Tumbling to complement the dance programming that has been going on all summer.

“The adult class on Tuesdays, is sort of mix of dance, stretching, core exercises and a little bit of cardio choreography all tied together.” Renata explained. “For adults, sometimes its hard to find classes in your area or at a time that works for them. We’re hoping that by bringing it to Thrive 9th on Tuesdays at 6pm adults from the neighborhood will be able to participate.”

As for the youth Technique and Tumbling, Renata shared her vision for what the classes can do for boys and girls from the neighborhood, “People join for different reasons. For some it's their passion. For others it’s great exercise. You can get so much from the classes. For us as instructors, we want to train kids professionally. We don’t have much professional dance in the city and in our community. We want to train kids who can go on to dance professionally, outside of New Orleans, kids who can pursue careers in places like in New York city.”

Renata’s classes will be complementing the existing programming offered by highly accomplished dance instructor April Farmer, who has been holding her community classes and dance camp at the center throughout the summer.

For those who may not be interested in dance, Coach Norwood will be leading the youth basketball skills programming each week.

“We’re real excited to have Coach Norwood back around” said Oscar. “Norwood’s been doing this for years. We first met in 2003 when Coach Norwood brought kids from AAU teams around the city that he’d been coaching. A few of the kids he coached even went on to play professionally. Now, he’ll be helping kids develop t

he fundamentals to prepare them for middle and high school ball”

Beyond Basketball and Dance

The long term vision for both dance and basketball goes beyond the average community programs.

“At the end of the day, all of the fall programs go way beyond just basketball and dance. The goal is to build up young leaders, high school students, who have a passion, and to empower them to lead and coach the younger kids from the neighborhood.”

For more information about the fall programming and to register, you can email Assistant@ThriveNOLA.org or visit the center during business hours at 3600 Desire Parkway, New Orleans LA 70126.



(504) 564-7739


1433 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA

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