“Dancing with the Stars” is coming to Edison HS and JP Stevens HS. Next September “Introduction to Dance “ will be offered as a full year elective course for grades 9-12. The course will focus on developing proper techniques and performance skills, as well as an appreciation for a variety of dancing styles. Students will acquire knowledge of dance history, class etiquette, injury prevention, and the rehearsal process. The principles of choreography will be explored by creating original dance works, viewing professional examples, and learning to critique and write about dancing. Students with no previous training will learn the fundamentals of dance skills, while more advanced students will enhance their technique, artistry, and dance awareness.
Dancing empowers students and teachers to become fully engaged in the process of movement exploration. Dance creates learning opportunities to think metaphorically, express emotions, problem solve, and work as a team, while cultivating physicality and body awareness. The Acting Commissioner of the NJ Department of Education, Kimberley Harrington, danced tap and ballet for 16 years. “Dancing served as an excellent stress release for me,” she says, “ and I enjoyed the creativity I experienced through the interaction of music and dance. When I was performing in our school musicals, I found a community ‘family’ similar to the one I found in the marching band. I developed the discipline required to budget my time well to balance late night rehearsals while maintaining my grades.”
The Dance Instructor will be a certificated teacher, and will be assigned to both Edison HS and JP Stevens HS. Robert Pispecky, Edison’s Director of the Arts, points out that all dance classes at both high schools will be taught in studios designed with specially constructed dance floors to withstand the movement and jumping required for a dance floor to thrive. The rooms will contain fixed or mobile railings and mirrors (non-glass) which are needed for a dance program.
The Edison Board of Education has officially recognized March 2017 as Youth Art Month, encouraging the support of quality art programs for children and youth. Dance will round out the arts curriculum in Edison to complement and buttress the three other arts programs: music, art, and performing arts. We hope to provide rich experiences for students to find and express their inner creativity, learning the critical life skills of self-discipline, time management, leadership skills, poise, stress relief, and exploring their feelings through art expression. Dancing will allow our students to find their voice through the artistic movement of their bodies in space. An exciting dancing adventure will be awaiting our students next fall.
Frank Heelan, Ed.D., President
Edison Board of Education March, 2017