Dance Fever!

TOO DARN HOT: Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s Dance Residency Virtual Performance with 104 Fourth Grade Students from Charlton Heights Elementary School Premieres Today (Video Below)

Workin’ It Out at Charlton Heights Elementary!

BALLSTON LAKE – Today, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) unveils “Too Darn Hot,” a video featuring performances by 104 fourth grade students who took part in SPAC’s public-school dance residency. The popular in-school dance residency has continued this school year despite the pandemic with safe but immersive dance training for students at the Charlton Heights Elementary School and online fourth graders in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district.

SPAC education partner Stewart’s Shops will be showing the video in its stores throughout Saratoga County from February 8-22.

Led by SPAC Teaching artists Cristiane Santos, J. Michael Zygo, and Brian Melick as well as Dennis Moench, former Broadway star and Senior Director of Education at SPACa total of 104 students (both in person and virtual learners) took part in SPAC’s Dance Residency in October-November 2020. The students participated in two in-person classes (or virtual classes for online learners) with Mr. Moench and team and continued with a series of video lessons on the SPAC Learning Library to learn Broadway-style choreography to the show tune “Too Darn Hot” from the musical Kiss Me, Kate. The students then performed their dance by filming individual videos for the SPAC team to combine into the virtual performance that premieres today 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 eight local schools receiving the 5-10 week in-school dance program with SPAC teaching artists.  This spring, SPAC plans to provide this virtual programming to other schools who participated last year to keep dance alive in their classrooms. 

“We were concerned that we might see a decline in student engagement in comparison to previous years with this new, primarily virtual format,” says Moench. “But we were pleasantly surprised when we saw all of the students fully commit to the program and give 100% of their energy immediately on day one! Their enthusiasm was infectious. Witnessing the students dance their hearts out, in spite of the many obstacles that we are currently facing, brought us so much joy.  It gives us hope for the future to see such resilience in these young artists.”

“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,” says Tim Sinnenberg, principal at Charlton Heights Elementary. “Our students have loved their experience, and practiced with all of their hearts for the recording of their moves.”

“My kids (and I) absolutely loved being able to participate in the SPAC Dance Residency this year,” said Charlton Heights 4th grade teacher Lauren Kritz. “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 for their live class!”

Fourth grader Kadynce Dahl summed up the experience this way, “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!” {{Editor’s Note: They sure did! Enjoy the video below!}} – AG

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