By Susan S. Russo
In 2012 The Theresa Academy of Performing Arts (TAPA) received a community service grant from the Theresa Foundation. The purpose of the Community Dance Residency was to provide the opportunity for public school students who might not have the chance to participate in dance classes to experience dance, in an inclusive setting, with their differently-abled peers.
It took TWO years to get the program off the ground! Interrupted by Hurricane Sandy and the enormous clean up following the destruction, TAPA faculty and administration were finally able to implement the dance residency in March of 2014!
The TWO amazing Physical Education teachers at Hegarty Elementary School, Anne Neglia and Robert Patch, assisted TWO TAPA adjunct faculty, Beth Jucovy and Jean McLocklin. TWO grades and a self-contained special education class were selected to participate in the 8-week dance and creative movement residency.
Kindergarten and First grade students explored fantasy, fairy tales, and nature through movement games and exercises designed to give each student the opportunity to create and explore on their own.
TWO of our favorite fairy tales, Jack and The Beanstalk and Red Riding Hood, were performed by TWO of the first grade classes, and the other TWO first grade classes told the story of Alice in Wonderland through dance and movement.
All four kindergarten classes learned the “Water Dance”, by moving to poems about rain, clouds, fog, mountain streams, lakes…and everyone’s favorite: the waterfall. Kindergarten and first grade students shared their choreography at an informal workshop presentation on April 28th.
The self contained special education class (seven amazing students), worked on the story of the Three Little Pigs and a Russian folktale called “The Turnip”.
The Theresa Foundation and the Theresa Academy wish to thank Dr. Rosemarie Bovino, Superintendant of Schools for the Island Park School District, and Amy Dolan-Fletcher (TAPA faculty and Hegarty parent) for making this residency happen. We hope to repeat with the self-contained classroom, kindergarten, first and second grade students in 2015.