- Associated Press - Saturday, February 6, 2016

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - About 1,400 first-graders in the Davenport Community School District received ballet lessons last week, thanks to a pilot program developed by Ballet Quad-Cities to encourage reading.

The hour-long program “Dance Me a Story” teaches children how to tell a story without using words and how to convey meaning through the movements of dance.

The program was created by Joedy Cook, founder of Ballet Quad-Cities, a professional dance company based in Rock Island, Illinois. She previewed it at libraries and senior centers, then secured grants from The Bechtel Trusts, the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, the Iowa Arts Council and Humanities Iowa to take it to the district’s 19 elementary schools.

The Quad-City Times reports (https://bit.ly/1QeYqBf ) the program combines elements of reading, writing, listening, music and physical education, some in the classroom and some when dancers from Ballet Quad-Cities visit the schools.

On Wednesday, dancers Marie Buser and Patrick Green danced the story to about 45 children gathered in the gym of Madison Elementary School.

First, Buser read the story “Snow Day” by Lynn Plourde, describing the activities of a child who gets a free day from school because of snow. Then, she and Green showed the children how the story might be conveyed through movements called choreography.

“Can you say ‘choreography’? ” Green challenged the students.

The two dancers then gave examples, such as stretching and yawning for waking up. The children practiced the actions, then put everything together in a full performance with music.

“It’s touching, it’s listening, it’s feeling, it’s not just sitting in a desk,” Cook said of the program.

Steve Schwaegler, fine arts curriculum specialist for the district, said the program “makes a lot of connections” for students.

___

Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide