"I had been looking forward to doing the performance and teaching for a while, then I learned we were teaching to more than 300 kids. It was more than I had expected but the reward was greater. All in all this was an amazing experience and I’d love to do something like it again.” Mackenzie Bell, Episcopal 11th grader.
The Episcopal Dance Ensemble recently performed Louisiana Strong for the entire student body of Park Forest Elementary School. The dance ensemble consists of 14 dancers. That’s 14 teen dancers for 300 elementary kids! Those numbers might intimidate most, but the dancers delivered a powerful performance that captivated even the youngest in the crowd.
Park Forest, like Episcopal, was significantly impacted by the 2016 flood. One year later, this common experience has led to a meaningful connection between the two schools, forged by a love of dance. Louisiana Strong was choreographed by Episcopal Dance Instructor Christine Chrest to evoke the sense of chaos that was felt during the flood and the positive sense of community that followed. Chrest says it was exciting to see students from both schools connect through the piece.
“They were absolutely in awe of the beautiful choreography and costumes. The following week at school we were able to have discussions during dance class about how the dance made them feel, and how dance, like all art forms, can be used as a means of communicating ideas and emotions,” said Park Forest Dance Instructor Anna Schwab.
In addition to performing for the elementary students, the Episcopal dancers also taught the students dance terminology and the moves to match. “Every grade had one or two terms to look for and every grade got their term correct. I know dancers who are sixteen and can’t recognize half of the terms the little kids did. They surpassed my own expectations for them,” said Lauren Reed.
Don’t miss your opportunity to see the graceful movements of this group. We invite you to this year’s Fall Dance Concert, which is scheduled for November 30th at 7 pm in the VPAC.