With a smile, a swing and a sashay, Silver Mesa students showcased dances for their peers and parents at their first year-end dance festival.
“I thought it would be a fun, unifying event to end the school year,” Principal Julie Fielding said, after she saw a similar event at a Lehi school and decided to bring it to Silver Mesa. “It’s been fun for everyone — students, parents and teachers.”
The school-wide performance was outside on June 2 and the parent performance was held June 3.
First graders at Silver Mesa Elementary used umbrellas as they danced to “Singin’ in the Rain” June 2 during the school’s dance festival. Photo courtesy of Julie Slama
Some classes tied their dances into their studies, such as second graders dancing to a Spanish medley, since Silver Mesa is a Spanish-language dual immersion school. Fourth graders tied on bandannas and performed a square dance, which ties into their curriculum about learning the state.
“I liked learning about it since we studied Utah history,” fourth grader Maggie Baumgarten said. “We practiced about five times, whenever we had time between our fourth-grade program and year-end testing.”
Silver Mesa second graders dancing to a Spanish medley June 2 during the school’s dance festival. Photo courtesy of Julie Slama
Most classes practiced in those spare moments as well, giving a break to the required tests in the upper grades, Fielding said.
Many classes had themes or fun songs to dance to, such as the third and fourth grade split class performing to “Gummi Bear.”
Parent Lindsey Taylor, who developed the Zumba Kids program and teaches it worldwide, volunteered to help the classes of her third-grade daughter, Elle, and her kindergarten son, Rocky. With matching neon shirts and sunglasses, the third graders performed “Dance, Dance, Dance,” and the kindergarteners danced to “Spread Love.”
Park Lane fifth graders performed “Tinikling,” a Philippino dance where students slide and tap bamboo poles together during the school’s dance festival June 2. Photo courtesy of Julie Slama
“The kids had a blast,” she said. “For me, it was fun to see my kids dancing and having fun in their school environment with their friends.”
Emily Housley helped her child, Cobe, find a ‘50s outfit as the fifth grade danced to “Lollipop, Lollipop.” Many of the girls wore poodle skirts, and the boys came in jeans with white shirts and slicked-back hair. Housley’s daughter, Kaisa, used an umbrella as the first graders danced to “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Paraeducator Patty Smith said that promoting physical activity was a benefit of the event.
“It gets them up and moving about,” she said. “It was an opportunity for them to have fun with their friends at the end of the school year.”
On the afternoon of June 2, Park Lane held its second dance festival, under the coordination of parent and former Waterford School dance teacher Susan Sudol.
“I did it when I was in elementary and everyone would come out to watch us and have fun at the end of the year,” Sudol said. “I have six kids and they were excited, and their friends are all ready to learn the dances to perform at the end of the year.”
Sudol said that they began practicing about six weeks before the end of the school year, and not only did they learn the dance that is assigned to their grade, but they also learned a little about the dance itself.
Kindergartners began with the “Hukilau,” a hula dance from Hawaii that tells the story of having a feast after fishermen bring in their catch. First graders worked six weeks on the “Chicken Dance,” which originated in Switzerland in 1950 but was made popular in the United States by a 1980 polka band recording.
Second graders performed the parachute dance, bringing to life “Star Wars,” and third graders learned America’s “Virginia Reel,” which was adapted from the English dance, “Sir Roger de Coverley.”
“George Washington loved this dance,” Sudol said.
With matching neon shirts and sunglasses, Silver Mesa third graders performed “Dance, Dance, Dance” during the school’s dance festival June 2. Photo courtesy of Julie Slama
Fourth graders performed the “D’hammerschmiedsgselln,” known as a German “blacksmith” dance where the boy dancers beat rhythms by slapping thighs, shoe soles and hands.
The fifth graders performed “Tinikling,” a Philippino dance where students slide and tap bamboo poles together. Dancers performed the Leyte Island dance by stepping over and between the poles, which depicts the flight of the tikling bird as it travels through the rice fields avoiding bamboo traps.
The school’s cluster class showcased “The Cupid Shuffle,” which was line dancing that originated with country music.
“This is amazing,” parent Jessica Komori said. “The interaction between students and teachers is great. Everyone is participating, can fit in and are enjoying it. It also involves the parents in getting them ready in their costumes and supporting them here.”
Principal Kelly Tauteolli said that it also ties into the school’s emphasis on art, as they are a Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program grant recipient. In April, the school held its Fine Arts Night, where they displayed students’ artwork from the Great Artists program and had a performance from the school orchestra, as well as other student performances.
“It’s just a great ending to our school year and the kids look forward to having this great dance festival,” she said. “It’s so much fun for everyone.”