Dance Mogul: What drove you into your field of work with the youth?
Danny Batimana: After I pursued a career as a professional dancer back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I decided it wasn’t stable enough for me so I decided to obtain a single subject teaching credential at Cal State Fullerton. I was a former high school teacher at the following schools:
Savanna High School (Anaheim, CA) – 1 year taught math, computers, and keyboarding
West Covina HS (West Covina, CA) – 4 years taught math and leadership
Western HS (Anaheim, CA) – 2 years taught Professional Dance
I love to dance and have a strong passion for the arts. The youth connect well with music, dance, and the arts so this probably the reason what drove me to this field of work.
Dance Mogul: Briefly explain the origins and goals of your organization?
Danny Batimana: I spoke at a TEDxYouth conference in San Diego last November (link: http://youtu.be/vsWmtEI2JU8).
After a great response from the audience and the organizers, I decided to continue the idea through the Happiness is NOW tour. Our manifesto below embodies our WHY:
“To inspire people to do things that inspire them.
Using the power of story, music, and dance, we INSPIRE and MOTIVATE middle school and high school students alike, touring the country through our live shows.
Happiness is NOW brings ‘happy’ back and demonstrates the importance of finding your PASSION in achieving ultimate HAPPINESS and redefining personal SUCCESS.”
Dance Mogul: How has organization bridged the gap between arts and education?
Danny Batimana: We strongly feel that those who have a passion for the arts will have to a stronger connection to schools and education, if it’s embedded into the school’s vision and curriculum.
Dance Mogul: What are some growing problems in our society that our youth are facing that your program is trying to combat?
Danny Batimana: We are facing large budget cutbacks in the art programs in which we are bringing light to the importance of these programs. Also, the lack of motivation of many of the older generation of teachers are not, by any means, inspiring our young impressionable youth. We also need to recruit, retain, and foster new teachers into the profession.
Dance Mogul: What is unique about your organization?
Danny Batimana: We know WHY we do these presentations and stick to what we’re good at: entertaining, educating, and inspiring.
Dance Mogul: Where do you see your organization in 5 years?
Danny Batimana: Traveling all over the country spreading “Happiness is NOW.”
Dance Mogul: In closing you can list some of the organizations accomplishments and list anyone you would like to thank.
Danny Batimana: We recently visited and presented at our 10th school. We are appearing at our 2nd TEDxYouth Talk on November 18th and performing at more CADA events (www.cada1.org). I would personally like to thank my dancers and staff members who tour the schools with me for the reason of giving back and inspiring others. Together we will change the world’s thinking about the importance of finding your passion, creating your happiness, and redefining your personal success.