Tuesday April 11, 2017 at 10:15am Age: 41 days
Category: Minisink Elementary, District
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COMMUNITY EMBRACES FOLK DANCING
Step by step and row by row, over 400 students in grades K-2 celebrated music in our schools with folk dances, during a school assembly on April 5. In the evening, many students returned to the school with their parents to dance together.
Why folk dancing?
Folk dancing has always been about human connections, community, and the sense of belonging. In the school context, it's also an opportunity to bridge school and home. "By inviting parents to join us in the evening, we hoped to create a time free of interruptions and distractions, and get parents involved in the joy of music and dancing with their children,” said Cliff Loretto, music teacher and event organizer.
How it all came together…
All through March – Music in Our Schools Month – during music class, Mr. Loretto coached every grade, and a group of faculty and staff, in two folk dances to perform on “the big day.”
The inspiration for the event came last summer when Mr. Loretto attended the FAME (Feierabend Association for Music Education) Conference at Gordon College in Massachusetts and participated in folk dancing with hundreds of other music educators from around the country.
The dances they learned…
Mr. Loretto chose simple dances all primary students could learn. Each grade level – and the adults group – learned one longways dance and one circle-dance:
“This being a first for all of us, we faced some challenges and unknowns. We had to get close to 450 kids to perform in the gym together, and we never had a rehearsal in that space,” Mr. Loretto said. “We also had no idea how people would respond, or how many parents would register for the two evening sessions.”
Over 200 parents signed up for the evening dance – an overwhelming response!
Stay tuned for MVES's 2nd Annual Folk Dancing Festival!