SPAC-ucation: The Process Continues

{{Editor’s Note – In late October, we posted (see a link at the end) about a program in which, despite current conditions, will have a total of 104 students (52 in-person, 52 virtual) learning Broadway-style choreography this year to “Too Darn Hot” from the musical “Kiss Me, Kate” –  for a virtual performance planned for release on or about February 1, 2021. I am a big, BIG believer in SPAC’s Educational Outreach efforts, so here’s a follow up to a story worth staying with, until the curtain rises next year. – AG}}

SPAC’s Senior Director of Education Dennis Moench leading the class at Charlton Heights Elementary School

CHARLTON – SPAC Teaching Artists (Dennis Moench, Cristiane Santos) and Musician Brian Melick recently returned to Charlton Heights Elementary School for a final dance class with about 60 fourth grade students who are learning in person at the school.  SPAC’s Senior Director of Education, Dennis Moench, plans to also hold virtual classes with a similar number of fourth grade students who are learning virtually this school year.  

The students already learned an entire dance by participating in SPAC’s free Learning Library collection of online music and dance lessons.  Dennis and team were there primarily to see how they the students made out with the online lessons, to refine steps and basic dance concepts, before the students begin filming themselves performing the dance in school and at home next week.

Once SPAC’s education department receives all of the student’s individual performance videos, they will edit and blend them all together to create a virtual performance, in order to celebrate the students achievements and share their work with their families, peers, and the community. This program is a reimagined dance residency – a program that SPAC offers to elementary schools every year.  

As of last year, there were already 8 local schools receiving the 5-10 week in-school dance program with SPAC teaching artists.  Now that the program at Charlton Heights has proved successful, SPAC hopes to offer this virtual programming this winter and spring to those remaining 7 schools who participated last year, in order to keep dance alive in their classrooms. 

Judging from the reactions by youth and adult alike, this program is meeting and exceeding expectations:

“I have a lot of energy and I like horsing around, so the dance residency was so awesome because I got to use my energy!” – Kadynce Dahl, student

“My kids (and I!) absolutely loved being able to participate in the SPAC Dance Residency this year.  The virtual lessons were an awesome opportunity for them to get out of their seats and move during the day!  They loved practicing the dance over and over to perfect it to be ready for their live class!” – Lauren Kritz, 4th grade teacher

“It was really awesome because we had so much fun and got to learn cool moves!” – Cohen Kerby, Student

“The arts are such an important part of the educational process, and it has been such a pleasure to work with the amazing and talented professionals from SPAC to bring dance to our fourth graders at Charlton Heights. Despite these challenging times, the staff at SPAC have been flexible through the planning and implementation process. Our students have loved their experience, and are practicing with all of their hearts for the recording of their moves.” – Tim Sinnenberg, principal, Charlton Heights Elementary

“Dancing is my favorite sport so I liked learning new dances.”- Carmela Curcio, student

Here is a link back to our original story about this program:

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