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Christina School District Students "Speak Up!"

“Stomp! Clap, Clap!” was heard throughout Christina School District Elementary Schools during the month of May.  Fourth and fifth-grade students from seven of the district’s elementary schools participated in an arts integration dance program.  During the program, students made connections between step dance, social protest during the Civil Rights, and social-emotional concepts of self-awareness and relationship skills.  Teaching artists Manny Chacone and Amber Rance from Delaware Institute for the Arts (DiAE) led learning activities and went beyond by building relationships with the students.  Students commented that their favorite parts of the experience were in creating their own choreographed steps and chants and the memories that they made with the teaching artists.  Principal Shevena Cale of Jones Elementary noted that students learned “that their bodies were instruments.  This was a different genre for them, but they were encouraged and enthusiastic about learning through the movement involved.”  

The in-class dance residencies culminated on Friday, May 19th with students attending a professional step performance “REMIX” by dance group SOLE Defined at Glasgow High School. The interactive dance performance took students through the origins of tap dance in black history and music concepts.  At the performance, students put into practice steps that they had learned in class, and some even volunteered to courageously take the stage with the professional tap dancers.  One student, Cameron, noted, “I liked the REMIX tap dancing because of the rhythm, energy, sound, and cool dance tricks.” When asked if they would like to participate in the program again, students gave a resounding, “Yes!” 

This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on The focus of this grant supported Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access to the arts as a modality for learning in a general education classroom setting.