BPG, RCSD Students Take Center Stage

By Marissa Abbott ’14
Ballet Performance Group

On Friday, Nov. 16, students from the Dare to Dance outreach program lit up the stage at “Shake It Out,” the Ballet Performance Group’s annual fall show. Opening after intermission, the children, second and third grade students at Francis Parker School No. 23, performed a simple routine to “Good Time” by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen. The children’s energy radiated to the audience, resulting in an enthusiastic round of applause.

“The kids were just so cute.  Everyone in the audience loved their performance. I kept hearing rave reviews. The audience members couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful they were,” said junior Alyson Manning.

The Dare to Dance outreach program began in fall 2011, when BPG was looking to branch out and get involved within the Rochester community. The purpose of the program is to provide after school instruction in dance and creative movement. The program met weekly on Friday afternoons for eight weeks of instruction. This year, students were exposed to a variety of dance styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, and creative movement. With 20 students participating in the program, things could get a little hectic sometimes, according to junior Lauren Sava.

“As much as I enjoyed working with the children, there were definitely challenges. Second and third graders can be very rambunctious, so finding constructive ways for the students to release their energy requires a lot of creative thinking,” said Sava.

Despite these challenges, the program was extremely rewarding for students. According to junior Marissa Abbott, students greeted her with bountiful energy and bubbling smiles every Friday afternoon. Abbott, who is a member of the executive board for BPG and serves as the Outreach Coordinator, is in charge of coordinating the Dare to Dance program. Along with a committee of five to six members, Abbott prepared lesson plans for each week, coordinated with the school staff and parents, and choreographed a routine for the students to perform in BPG’s fall show.

“I am so proud of these kids. They exceeded my expectations, bringing bright smiles and incredible energy to the stage, while remembering their routine very well,” said Abbott.  “This was an incredible experience, from which I learned a lot. To see the kids up on stage having a good time, that’s all that really matters to me. I’m glad that BPG is able to provide this program and that we can share our love for dance with the Rochester community. I can’t wait until next semester.”