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Code Dance Create camps are provided 100% free through Computer Science for All funding from the Oregon Department of Education.

These innovative camps with cutting-edge technology would not be possible generous support from partners including Portland Community College, Portland Metro STEM Partnership, and Oregon Coast STEM Hub | Oregon State University.

Click here for a short video about Code Can Dance, a key component of our camps.

If you want to start playing around with coding and dance, you can Code a Dance Party here. A lot more fun coding activities are here on the Hour of Code site.

Click here for a printable flier about recent Portland camps that lists some of our other valuable partners.

Program leaders include:

Darryl Thomas is a Professor of Dance and Technology at Western Oregon University. He has received choreographic commissions from prestigious dance companies around the world, as well as created innovative programs for youth.

As the co-artistic director of Rainbow Dance Theatre (RDT), Thomas has toured extensively, captivating audiences in Europe, Asia, South America, the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Their performances have garnered both critical acclaim and popular appreciation, including notable appearances at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and the 2004 International VSAarts Festival held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

In 2014, RDT become the first dance company in Oregon to be awarded the Creative Heights Initiative Grant from the Oregon Community Foundation. The grant recognized RDT’s groundbreaking work in integrating dance with computer technology. Through the innovative use of projection mapping, RDT projected captivating visuals onto non-rectangular surfaces, including dancers’ bodies. They also collaborated on the development of operator-based tracking software, enabling real-time interaction between dancers and projections.

Before joining RDT, Thomas had an illustrious career as a dancer and artistic collaborator with the renowned Pilobolus Dance Theatre. He received an Emmy for his performance of the Pilobolus work “Untitled” at the Kennedy Center in 1996 and had the privilege of performing in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics.

Darryl has a strong commitment to community engagement and has collaborated on dance programs for at-risk youth around the United States. These programs aim to empower and inspire young individuals. Notably, the “Youth At Risk Dancing” (YARD) program, based in Cleveland, Ohio, received the prestigious 1999 United States President’s “Coming Up Taller” Award.

Throughout the past 25 years, RDT has brought the joy of dance to over 300,000 Oregon public school children through engaging and educational school assemblies. “The Roots of Hip Hop” assembly traces the origins of hip hop back to West African culture, captivating students with its vibrant performances. Additionally, their newest assembly, “iLumiDance Revealed,” provides a behind-the-scenes look at how dance and technology blend to create contemporary dance-theater works. Drawing from his experience on stage, Thomas brings coding to the classroom with his latest STEM+Arts workshop, “Code Can Dance.” This innovative program utilizes hip hop and African dance to develop coding skills and promote inclusivity for youth who are traditionally underrepresented in the computer science field.

Darryl’s extensive contributions to the world of dance, his commitment to community outreach, and his dedication to integrating technology and coding into the arts make him a respected and influential figure in the field. In 2002 he was honored with the Living Legend Award given by Willamette University for his artistic contributions within the Willamette Valley. He received his Masters of Fine Arts in performance and choreography from the University of Hawaii.


Darryl Thomas
Darryl Thomas performing dance

Mindy Chappell is a native of East Saint Louis, Illinois, who resides in Oregon and serves as an Asst. Professor at Portland State University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Illinois Chicago. She is a former Chicago Public Schools science teacher and an alumni Ella Baker Trainer with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools program.

Mindy is committed to fostering curricular and pedagogical practices that support youth’s development as change agents who use the knowledge and skills acquired in their science classes to advocate for their community and transform their world. Her primary research explores the affordances of ethnodance, an arts-based embodied representation of one’s narrative, as a tool to study Black students’ science identity construction and authoring.

Mindy was honored by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, and she received a five-year NOYCE Master Teaching Fellowship. Her research focuses on the affordance of arts-based methods, specifically dance as a tool for Black students’ science identity construction. Her doctoral work in science education explored identity construction through ethnodance, an arts-based embodied representation of one’s narrative. Her research with Black high school science students using semiotic representation of dance explored how students’ experiences and interactions in science classes affect how they see themselves and engage in science. Additionally, her research with the Youth Participatory Science Collective (Morales-Doyle et. al, 2022) engaged high school chemistry students in co-investigation of local heavy-metal contamination. This research shared the objective to help students learn to use science to understand and transform their world, and community.

“Dance is powerful and personal for me. I have always loved to dance because dance gives me space to express what I cannot always put into words. Historically, Black people have used the arts as a form of expression when oral and written language was dangerous for them,” says Dr. Chappell. “Thus, ethnodance provides a unique tool to engage with identity construction in more unbounded, emergent, and liberatory ways consistent with the spirit of Black dances, more fruitfully supporting and exploring Black youth’s science identity construction,” she explains.

Mindy attributes her professional and personal accomplishments to having supportive, caring, and inspiring lanterns throughout her life.

Mindy Chappell, Ph.D.

Rick Reynolds has been a passionate K–12 educator for 30 years. He creates educational resources with partners such as the National Park Service, NOAA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and PBS through Engaging Every Student, the organization he founded in 2009 with the mission to help make the learning process more compelling and meaningful. He has authored or co-authored 20 books and curriculum guides, as well as hundreds of lesson plans and multimedia resources. A certified teacher who has taught in elementary, middle, and high schools, Rick has also served as a school principal and mentor teacher. He holds an M.S. in Education from the University of New Haven and a B.A. from the University of Connecticut.

Rick has enjoyed integrating technology into the learning process throughout his career, and he been a website developer since the beginning of the web. He has designed and helped to produce the educational video games “Fight the Bites!” and “The Astounding Adventures of Matty the Water Molecule.” The Matty game is currently in production, with demos of the first two adventures about the ocean and the water cycle available to play at the link.

Rick was fortunate to benefit from arts education and summer camp experiences as a young person, and he is excited to share his love of the arts, technology, and nature with the youth in our camps. He also has a passion for environmental education and helping all ages to connect with nature, as well as community service. You can lean more about him and his background here.

Rick Reynolds