I am blown away with the opportunities Think 360 Arts allowed my dance program. Initially, I wanted to have my students explore cultural dance forms outside of their normal vocabulary (and desires). My goal was to invite Ballet and West African dancers into my classroom for residencies, so that students could learn to appreciate the forms and not be afraid of them. We set our goals for Culturefest, a huge festival of culture within our school, and our Spring Show. Not only did the residencies build my students technical skills, they opened the door for my students to fall in love!
The culmination of their learning was expressed from a place which artists are born. They danced from their hearts and embodied their new technical skills. Ballet taught them the beauty of technique and West African taught them the beauty of the heart. Together, my students created the most wonderful and magical routines I've ever seen. My administration, parents, students, and community all supported our vision! The experience was wonderful.
One challenge was scheduling my residencies in the second half of my year. I would love to implement my enrichment programming earlier. Otherwise, I believe that other schools (with the support of their school and community) can establish residencies similar to mine with our awesome local organizations.
This year, I've seen three schools drop dance from their programing. The PE teacher has now become the new Dance teacher. Without the support of this grant, I wouldn't have been able to connect with our local dance community like I did and enrich my personal classroom and productions.
Personally, I have so many ideas for next year and how I'd like to see the program expand. Thank you so much for this opportunity!! I look forward to applying again next year and expanding the project to include set and costume design.