Students set Guinness World Record for Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival

As part of the 45th Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, more than 2,500 fifth grade students from all over Los Angeles County, including students at Charnock Road Elementary School in Palms, joined together on The Music Center Plaza and successfully set a record for the largest ribbon dance. Students prepared for this moment for weeks in advance in their classrooms.

The students’ GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS ™ achievement marked the culmination of the three-day Festival, during which more than 16,000 students, from 196 schools, attended live performances for free.  Presented by The Blue Ribbon of The Music Center, an independent charitable group of women leaders in the Los Angeles community, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival is California’s longest-continuing free arts education program.

Under the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS rules, the record is for the greatest number of people at a single venue who simultaneously perform the same choreographed dance for a minimum of five minutes using handheld sticks with attached ribbons. The students danced on the Plaza in two large circles, a smaller one on the inside and a larger one on the outside, using bright blue ribbons as props. The choreography for their performance was inspired by the work of Montreal-based circus troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers) and its creation, “Sequence 8,” which blends dance, acrobatics and theatre. Students enjoyed a performance by 7 Fingers in The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion before gathering on The Music Center Plaza for their own moment to shine. Witnessed by specially assigned stewards, the students’ record-setting dance was officially verified by a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator, who acknowledged the record with a presentation to The Blue Ribbon and The Music Center of a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS certificate.

According to Carla Sands, president of The Blue Ribbon, the record-setting accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and diligence of the students and their teachers. “This year’s record-setting achievement celebrates the more than 815,000 children and their teachers who over the past 45 years have made The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival truly magical,” she said. “Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of arts education, in terms of student motivation, attitude and future success. The Blue Ribbon is honored to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the arts, attend a live performance and participate themselves, which can open their eyes, in this case, to how collaboration can lead to creativity,” she explained.

Founded by Dorothy Chandler in 1968, The Blue Ribbon is committed to giving students access to the best of the performing arts from a young age. For many students who have never visited The Music Center or seen a live theatrical performance, the chance to experience the arts first-hand will have a lasting impact.

Performances of Sequence 8 by 7 Fingers captivates audiences by making the circus relatable on a human scale, working together in unison like the digits of a hand. Each year, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival invites fifth grade students from schools throughout Los Angeles County to be a part of the high-energy event.

More than 115 Blue Ribbon members volunteered to keep the Festival running smoothly over the three-day period. Participating schools received curriculum materials, background on the performing company and classroom activities to help prepare students for the performance. Educators taught their students about audience etiquette, what to watch for during the performance, history and terminology, as well as the choreography for their dance performance. This year, the curriculum included information about the value of cooperation, a key aspect of 7 Fingers’ teamwork and camaraderie, and the importance to the students as they performed their dance alongside classmates and other students.

Following their performance, each participating student received a keepsake book, “A Journey Through the Music Center,” which describes The Music Center’s four theatres and various aspects of live performances. Thanks to a gift to The Music Center from Blue Ribbon member Maxine Dunitz, every student who attends the festival receives this book, which is updated and reprinted annually.

During the years, students attending the Festival have seen performances by the LA Phil, the LA Opera, American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and Diavolo Dance Theater, among others.

A champion of the performing arts, The Blue Ribbon is an independent support group comprised of outstanding women leaders in the Los Angeles community. Created in 1968 by Dorothy Buffum Chandler to raise funds for The Music Center, its education programs and its resident companies, The Blue Ribbon has contributed more than $73 million as part of its commitment to uphold artistic excellence in programming on The Music Center’s stages and arts education for youth. For more information, persons interested can visit

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Music Center is Los Angeles’ home to the world’s greatest artistic programs and events. With four iconic theaters and four renowned resident companies – Center Theatre Group, the LA Master Chorale, the L.A. Opera and the L.A. Philharmonic – and recognized for its illustrious dance programming, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, The Music Center is a destination where audiences find inspiration in the very best of live performance, as well as nationally recognized arts education and participatory arts experiences. For more information, visit