Dancing means joy, and as a teacher I rejoice with every new generation of children who discover and learn the first dance moves, every year in New York public schools.
As a dance teacher and coordinator of Brighton Ballet Theater’s education programs in public schools, I enjoy these moments of satisfaction at the end of each school year.
We already had two end of school year performances, at Elementary School P.S. 215 and Intermediate School 228, and both were amazing. I was overwhelmed by the success we had with our dances and by the applauds we received from the audience.
But of all my students, I was most happy for my beginner classes 1st and 2nd grade students of P.S. 215, who just discovered dancing this year, and danced for the first time on the stage. They were my heroes.
On June 5th at the auditorium of P.S. 215 Morris H. Weiss we held our end of school performance. Titled “Feel Like Dancing” the program featured different kind of dances, such as: Modern, Ballroom, Jazz, Ballet, Folk, Gymnastic, Hip Hop and Contemporary, an all in one show performed by my 1st and 2nd grade students of P.S. 215, 8th grade dance magnet students of I.S.228, and soloists of Brighton Ballet Theater. The auditorium was packed and the overall joy was contagious.
Same students were performing on Family Day in Brighton Beach commemorating 70th Anniversary of allied victory in World War II on May 3rd were my little dancers from elementary school had their debut.
A group of students from IS 228 David A Boody performed “Lady’s Choice” a jazz dance inspired by the ‘50s era, for which they had already earned a bronze medal in the Long Island Ballet Competition, held in Islip, NY, on May 2nd.
At I.S. 228, along with Jan Ford, the Dance Director of I.S. 228, we did a different and even more complex show, called “Dance Out Through History”. This was a trip through history that included dances from the 15th,16th, and 17th century – Mazurka, Minuet, Polonaise – through the jazz and rock and roll era of the 20th century, and culminating with contemporary era dance. For this show I choreographed a special number, the famous “Romeo and Juliet” ballet performed by students from the 7th and 8th grades. Based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, a story of forbidden love translated into the mood and emotions of dance movements.
We prepared the dance together with the students, by reading the story, watching videos, showing digital presentations, drawing posters and choosing costumes, and thus we got all students involved into the creative process. This raised the bar in our educational process, as we had to touch on more than just dance choreography, namely, history, literature and costume design. “Romeo and Juliet” was also presenter at the 13th Annual NYCDE/UFT Festival of Dance where it got a lot of interests from other students and their dance teachers from different public schools.
It was one of the most complex dances of the whole performance, and the students thoroughly enjoyed it. I myself was impressed with their dedication and talent. My students from I.S. 228 made a beautiful board of thank you cards where they wrote a very touching words of appreciation. I was proud and humbled by the feedback received from my precious students and from their parents, school teachers, and principals, and for the opportunity to thus make a difference.
And once again, on behalf of BBT I would like to thank the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Council of the City of New York for providing the funds for these enrichment programs and work with Public Schools, which help young students acquire and develop a harmonious artistic education.