Seth Boyden Fifth Graders Learn in ‘Dancing Classrooms’

by The Village Green
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On Thursday, December 18, Seth Boyden fifth grade students reached the culmination of a ten-week Dancing Classrooms program by putting on a show.

The students demonstrated several dances including swing, rumba, merengue, tango, polka, foxtrot and waltz. They also read poems written about dance (one student impressed with a poem comparing dancers to falling leaves), explained the origins of the different dances, and provided colorful reactions to studying dance (one boy said dancing the waltz made him feel like he was in a Disney movie).

Dancing Classroom is an in-house artist residency program produced by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The program at Seth Boyden School is supported by the PTA as well as through the South Orange-Maplewood School District through Judy LoBianco, Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Nursing Services; and Mara Rubin, Director of Fine and Performing Arts.

Resident artists Lisa Gunn-Becker and Danielle Thompson taught the children twice a week for ten weeks — not just dance steps, but the social etiquette around dance, including respecting your partner. In addition, the PTA provided the students with continental dining etiquette lessons from Maria Joyce from The Protocol School of New Jersey. The students showed off their dining skills at a formal dinner in the upper gymnasium prior to the performance.

Parents were awestruck by the children’s seriousness and poise during the event. Students themselves seemed to be enjoying themselves greatly despite some protestations: “I didn’t like dance at first,” said one fifth grade boy, “but now it’s okay.”

Click on any photo below to enjoy a slideshow from the event.

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