Let us Praise His Name with Dancing! I just had a minute to sit down after an exciting first morning back at school. The kids are doing so wonderfully! Everyone has crinkles in their eyes that show me they are smiling under the masks. I am excited to be back with my students and to meet so many new students. This year will look a little different with dancing outside and laying on towels to stretch, but how great that we can be together.
I know that so many students were bitterly disappointed not to perform in our Festival of the Arts when we were so close last spring, but there is a bright side too. Without the pressure of performing, we will be able to work on so many skills to become better dancers, choreographers, and children of God. This year I have a new unit planned that is all about feelings and emotions for the younger students and will give the older students a chance to tell their story of the unique experience we all had when life as normal shut down. As always I am blessed to connect with these students in such a creative way!
I am so excited to be back at Holy Family School for my second year here and my twenty-first year teaching. This year I'll be teaching dance right from the beginning of the year on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (I was hired the first week of October last year, so I missed a whole quarter with the kids.) I will start the year teaching dance in the STEM lab since it's air conditioned and has a nice sprung floor. It was so exciting to see so many returning students and to meet so many new students this morning. Some creative and fun collaborative projects are being planned now between dance, music, and art. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that we can have a field trip to the Nutcracker at the Peoria Civic Center. My twin daughters are students at Holy Family now, so I will be around much more often. I'm looking forward to a wonderful year!
Several parents have reached out asking about their child taking dance classes in Peoria or the surrounding areas. Luckily for us, dance is thriving in Central Illinois. If you are not sure about what kind of dance or what studio to choose, I would be happy to talk with you.
This fall I worked at a charity event called Steps of Joy and had the privilege to work with lots of fantastic dance studios that share the values I have and Holy Family School too. In the months preparing for the show and the day of the big event, I was able to talk to the directors, teachers and students at Kim's Academy of dance (two studios Peoria and Washington), Miss Laura's School of Dance (Peoria Heights), Creations Dance ( East Peoria), Studio 38 (Washington), Center Stage Dance (Morton), and Peoria Ballet (Knoxville and Detweiler). I would highly recommend all of those studios. Many studios will offer a first class/ trial class for free, so definitely ask. I also worked with the Explosive Gems Majorette Group, Chinese Cultural Dancers of Peoria, Mexican Folkloric Dance of Peoria, and the PJ Dance Company which is an Indian dance group. I could give you the contacts for all of these groups and highly recommend them as well.
For boys: I know that Peoria Ballet offers free ballet classes for boys. Also Miss Laura's studio has a really fabulous boys hip hop class. PJ dance and the Mexican Folkloric group both include boys. Boy dancers are in high demand and I know they are wanted everywhere.
For little ones: Peoria Ballet offers four free creative movement lessons for children five and under. You can get more details by calling 309-690-7990. The purpose of these lessons is just to try it out and see if your child enjoys it and is ready for it.
Information has gone out about a dance shoe exchange to be held from 3:00-3:30 on January 15 at the school.
That is just one of many ways to recycle dance gear. Saving money, the environment, and making the dance program great are both important to me, so I thought I'd list some free ways that families can support the dance program.
If you've missed the shoe exchange, no problem. We have a closet that I'm trying to keep set up and organized. Check with me about used shoes before going out and buying new. Also, by the nature of the exchange, we always are a little short on the fourth-sixth grade jazz shoes. Please keep your home more tidy and donate any old shoes to the school. I'm sure there are outgrown shoes sitting in the closets of many of our 7th and 8th graders.
Dance leotards and tights in decent condition can also be donated.
If a sole starts to tear off, please just bring it to school for me. This is common in tap shoes, but I've found that shoe glue can work wonders and keep those soles a tappin'.
Ask around to crafters and sewers and volunteer to collect old fabrics and decorations. If there is decent yardage, we can use the fabric for costumes or props. I'm always looking for flowy, light fabrics to use as dancing scarves. If something is unusable for dance, I will always check with Audra if it can be used in art before discarding it. Anything with sequins or lace embellishments can be cut apart and repurposed.
Please let me know if you enjoy sewing and creating and/ or if you are willing to be a class costume parent. That time would, of course, count toward required volunteer hours. I definitely need help getting the entire school costumed by April 26.
Preschool through First Grade Dancers celebrated Red Ribbon Week by dancing our own say not to bullying dance inspired by Zara Leoloa's Just Say No to Bully video. We talked about how telling secrets and excluding others is hurtful.
Second grade through eighth grade had exposure to modern dance by watching The University of Southern Florida's College of the Arts bully dance. We had our first whole-class conversations connecting the video to our own feelings and actions. I continue to be impressed by the depth and kindness of my Dancing Crusaders.
Thank you for visiting the new site that I'm trying to get up and running. I have truly had such a warm welcome since starting to teach dance at Holy Family School. I am absolutely loving all of your kids. What a kind hearted and hard working group of students! This week before Halloween is all about having fun. The older kids learned Thriller with actual choreography by Michael Peters. The younger kids practiced changing their actions and the feelings of their actions by dancing out a trick-or-treating story written and recorded with music by Christy and Brian Golden. (Christy was a ballet dancer and Brian was a conductor, and in their retirement, they have started to create stories and music for creative movement classes.)
I did not show the Thriller video because it's pretty scary with all of the make-up and costumes, but I linked it above. My daughters loved to dance in front of the computer to the Skeleton Dance when they were little. It's not scary at all and helps kids to isolate different body parts.