Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Canine Companions Establish Successful Collaboration

July 12, 2017
Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Canine Companions Establish Successful Collaboration

Partnership Includes Ongoing Visits During Segerstrom Center’s School of Dance & Music for Children with Disabilities

COSTA MESA, CA – A new and mutually beneficial partnership has formed as Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Canine Companions for Independence have joined together to have puppies training to be assistance dogs visit children who are dancing with Segerstrom Center’s School of Dance & Music for Children with Disabilities. Since April 2017, volunteers from Canine Companions have been bringing puppies before and after classes as part of the socializing phase for each puppy’s training. This socializing phase is critical to the puppy’s training, ensuring that the dog is exposed to and prepared for any situation that might arise in their lives as assistance dogs. Canine Companions assistance dogs are bred to be calm, reliable, affectionate and utilize trained skills and tasks to help mitigate the recipient’s disability. The visits have been providing a welcoming and calming effect for the children and even the guardians, along with lots of smiles – one parent said of the experience, “My child loved the visits with the dogs!”

Segerstrom Center President Terry Dwyer says of the program, “What a positive and impactful experience it has been working with the team at Canine Companions and this is just the beginning. Segerstrom Center and Canine Companions are both working towards a more inclusive and culturally connected society – us by creating a space for all children to express themselves and Canine Companions by helping children navigate their world independently.”

“Our volunteer puppy raisers have really enjoyed being a part of the dance program at Segerstrom Center,” shares Margaret Sluyk, Senior Development Director at Canine Companions. “Not only does the partnership help socialize our puppies, but it’s also a great way to introduce Canine Companions to people who could benefit from our program.”

Segerstrom Center’s School of Dance & Music for Children with Disabilities is ongoing, with a four-week summer session that takes place July 24 – August 18 and an eight-week series that will begin in the fall from September to November. For more information, please call (714) 556-2122 ext. 4337 or e-mail

Summer Sessions: July 24 – August 18, 2017
Ages 4 – 13

The Center’s School of Dance and Music for Children with Disabilities is offering a summer schedule. Classes are inclusive and designed for children with disabilities such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, audio and visual impairments and other complex needs, but are open to all. Classes help children to explore their full physical and social potential through dance, movement, music and creativity. They will have fun while exercising and improving balance, coordination and confidence through personal and social growth. Four-week tuition is $80. Please visit for more information.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds its corporate partners including Kia Motors America, Official Automotive Partner; United Airlines, Official Airline; and Omaha Steaks International, Official Fine Food Retailer.

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. The assistance dogs they breed, raise and train aren’t just the ears, hands and legs of their human partners. They’re also goodwill ambassadors and often, their best friends. They open new opportunities and new possibilities, and spread incredible joy. Canine Companions unite people with dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence and confidence. For more information, please visit

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an acclaimed arts institution as well as a beautiful multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence, offering unsurpassed experiences and to engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring arts-based education and community engagement programs. Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County’s largest non-profit arts organization. In addition to its six performance venues, Segerstrom Center is also home to the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School.

The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.

Segerstrom Center is a leader among the nation’s performing arts centers for providing education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts. The Center’s programs reach hundreds of thousands of students each year in five Southern California counties. Community engagement programs developed through the Center for Dance and Innovation and Center Without Boundaries also connect the Center more comprehensively with Orange County’s many diverse communities. The CDI supports flagship artistic programming and a wide range of projects that celebrate innovation, nurture creativity and engage audiences of the future. It is home to the ABT Gillespie School and the School of Dance and Music for Children with Disabilities. The Center Without Boundaries develops partnerships with non-cultural organizations to help them in their own efforts to respond the ever-changing needs of the community.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also proud to serve as the artistic home to three of the region’s major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Pacific Chorale, who contribute greatly to the artistic life of the region with annual seasons performed at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

In addition to Segerstrom Center for the Arts as a presenting and producing institution, it also identifies the beautiful 14-acre campus that embraces the Center’s own facilities as well as two independently acclaimed organizations: Tony Award®-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art.