Learning comes in different ways. Also, encouraging confidence and collaboration in the classroom, goes beyond group activities. So, with this in mind, Renton Prep incorporates different methods of teaching. By integrating intentional dancing in our curriculum, students learn the power of building each other up through mentorship. Every spring, Renton Prep holds a dance for performance program and this year it was our 20th year of dance performance on stage. Students were delighted to perform the pieces they collectively choreographed with educators and the message their dances conveyed.
The Renton Prep dance program celebrated 20 years of students coming together and performing on stage. Like years past, our students got a hands on experience where they choreographed their dances to tell a story. The theme was Nostalgia with Purpose. This theme brings back the sounds and looks of the Big Band era, the 40’s, and the dances of the Harlem Renaissance.
“Nostalgia alone, without purpose, can lead to living in the past without making changes through learning or moving forward.”Dr. Michelle Zimmerman
Mixing the modern with the classic, Nostalgia with Purpose told a story of conflict. Students wanted to portray how conflict starts small and then escalates. Their story became a call to action for peace, justice, and strong institutions. Thus, in order to create the dances and multimedia projections, students researched music that aligned with the theme of the 40’s and conveyed their message.
Nostalgia with Purpose was also a reflection of the two decades of intentional dance education that Renton Prep has provided. Our educators continually research methods that will improve learning. So, dance has been an important part of our school’s curriculum for all students. There is power in using arts that results in the increase of confidence and collaboration. Partner dancing at Renton Prep started with a grant through the American Music Foundation 20 years ago. The goal of the grant was to combine multiple school subject domains to teach unique forms of American Music.
Through the years, the dance program became an activity of preparation that went beyond memorizing steps. It became an act of learning where the older students were mentoring and teaching the younger ones.
At Renton Prep we know there’s more to learning than just textbooks. It’s been 20 years of research and adopting dancing into our curriculum to see how students become teachers and creators. Additionally, it gives them an opportunity to break out of their shell and express themselves artistically together. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to teaching and how our students are benefitting from it.