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We’re Dancing in Union County!

The boys are shown here getting ready for the winter performance, "Tales of Gratitude". This years performance was dedicated to Heifer International. A fund raiser we are continuing until February 3rd, 2012.

Benton Heights School of the Arts is celebrating its fourth year integrating dance curriculum into the common core standards.

“The effective changes in our student body are obvious,” said Christina Lohry, the schools dance teacher. “The students have greater confidence, flexibility and strength, a willingness to take risks, explore cultural expressions and naturally sharper dance skills are a few of these changes. Many believe dance, as well as drama, music and art have been a major factor in the recent high growth in test scores.”

Through fundraising efforts, the PTA, teachers and students raised enough money to buy a true dance floor for the school’s dance studio, with foam cushioned lining, making it a safer and more aesthetically beautiful studio. “The new floor was installed in November of this year,” stated Lohry, “and we have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

BHES’ sister school, Central Academy of Technology and Arts (CATA), under the direction of Bianca Morgan, has been running a top quality dance program, producing professional grade shows and competing and winning in many local and state championships.

Union County’s newest addition to the dance world is Monroe Middle School. They have added a full time dance teacher, Stephanie Hartman, and a new dance studio. With the addition of a new dance program at Monroe Middle School, students in Monroe cluster now have the option to study dance from kindergarten all the way through grade 12.

For the last four years, every student at BHESA has received weekly dance training that teaches students a wide range of dance skills and gives them performance experiences. Being a school of the arts, the two-way integration of the arts into other subject areas gives students an enriched way to learn their academic concepts and skills, at the same time developing the discipline, creativity and collaboration skills fostered by the arts.

Kindergarteners have marched, skipped, and twirled the seasons, their ABC’s and Native American rituals. First graders have gracefully danced ballets through fairytales. Second graders have learned timelines and history through the dances of North America.

Third graders have explored the systems of the human body and mastered multiplication through movement. Fourth graders have studied and become quite skilled in the dances of North Carolina – the Shag from the coast, square dancing from the Piedmont and Clog dancing from the mountains and finally by the time students get to fifth grade, they study forces and motion through choreography and African dance.

There are many people responsible for this comprehensive dance program becoming a reality, starting with Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis – a strong advocate for the arts.

Written by: Christina Lohry, Dance Instructor
Posted: Jan 26, 2012 by Robin Pettit

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