For the Love of Dance
Prince Edward Builds a School Community through dance
Amy Craig can feel the beat of the music resonate throughout her bones. She reaches, twists and pops her body in perfect rhythm and in synchronized movements. “As soon as the music starts, I want to dance. It’s like it’s ingrained in me,” Craig says.
Craig, a Prince Edward Grade 7 student participates in one of the school’s most popular extra-curricular activities; The Dance Team.
The Prince Edward Dance Team is led by two teacher coordinators with extensive dance training and experience; Marisa Farah and Julia Szamburski. The team performs hip hop and jazz dance routines to top forties hits. “When our Dance team performs, the music is often so engaging that the audience gets up and dances with the team,” says Dance Team coach Marisa Farah.
The Prince Edward Dance Team was created in 2009 when hit shows like Glee and flash mobs were starting to grow in popularity. At Prince Edward, all students first learned a synchronized flash mob dance to the Black Eye Peas’ song “I’ve got a Feeling”. The entire school performed the dance during Prince Edward’s Community Building Days and the Aerob-a-thon with the assistance of Stacey Uttley, Prince Edward’s Physical Education teacher.
“It was really amazing the sense of community the staff and students felt while performing a synchronized dance all together in one location,” says Farah.
After the success of Prince Edward’s first flash mob, the idea of starting a Prince Edward Dance Team was born.
Prince Edward’s Dance Team is student-led with the dancers selecting the music and even assisting in the choreography. Farah and Szamburski work with the students’ music and choreography choices and ensure that the music and dance moves are appropriate. While the team primarily dances to hip hop music, the students are open and willing to try any form of dance.
“It is important that the students can relate to the music that is currently speaking to them,” says Farah. “The hook is engaging students by doing something that they love and can relate to. Our students have the opportunity to select the music they love. This gives them an outlet to express themselves through movement and work as a cooperative team.”
It is clearly evident that dance is a very important part of Prince Edward culture. Over the past few years The Dance Team has been so popular that it has expanded into two divisions; a Junior and an Intermediate team.
The Junior and Intermediate Dance Teams are currently practising for a performance at an upcoming charity event and Prince Edward’s annual Spring concert.
“I am so lucky to be able to do what I love and dance at school,” Craig says. “I plan on continuing to choreograph and dance in high school and I am so grateful that Prince Edward provided me with a supportive place to develop those skills.”