A year of turning obstacles into opportunities
“This year I taught Dance full-time in an elementary public school in Brooklyn, NY. I was teaching in-person at my school site the entire year, except for sporadic weeks of quarantine in the fall due to Covid cases and exposure. My weeks were more packed than ever as I continued teaching every in-person and remote student twice weekly, with six back to back classes per day, four of which were taught in-person and two of which were taught synchronously on Zoom with my remote students. Students in New York were required to be 12 feet apart for vigorous physical activity, so I gratefully made use of our school’s massive classrooms to spread students out between desks and bookshelves and opted to dance with a voice amplifying microphone/speaker clipped on my hip so that students could hear me from a distance. As more and more students opted into in-person learning in the winter and spring, I started teaching in the empty cafeteria space to accommodate the larger classes. Now that the weather permits, I’ve been teaching outside on our building’s terrace more and more!
I want to hold onto the images of my students gleefully balancing atop their desks, leaping over bean bag chairs, and tapping down the staircases like the Nicholas Brothers. This was a year of turning obstacles into opportunities, and nothing demonstrated that quite as clearly for me as our site-specific choreography unit, which allowed 2nd graders to turn the desks, chairs, and bookshelves strewn about their space into dance partners. As they explored the possibilities of dancing with rather than simply amidst a crowded space, they found ways to liberate themselves from the rigidity of classroom expectations and learned how to transform any space into a studio.”