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Feature: Performing arts department fulfills statewide dance class requirement


by Maya Abou-Rizk
Sitting in a desk all day is a norm that is both unhealthy and quite boring. Although the fine and performing arts department provides “art classes,” there has been a true aspect of art missing from the program . . . until now.
The Art of Dance is a class based on “the artistry of modern dance and its background,” according to French teacher Margot Murphy, who will be teaching the class. The dance class meets block D1 and D3 in the Little Theatre and occasionally the auditorium.
“The state has certain requirements for what an art program [at a high school] needs, and that includes dance,” said Murphy. “Therefore the school, in fact, needed a dance class.”
The class is technique-oriented and focuses on ballet and modern styles. However, it also shows students a new perspective on the activity. Students are taught to look at dance as an art form, and learn how to make their movements have more of a purpose.
A normal class consists of a warm-up and some technique, then slowly moves into larger movements and some choreography.
Eventually, the class will begin preparing for performances. Their first performance will be Oct. 15 during D-Block in the auditorium for Hispanic Heritage Awareness day.
This is entirely set to music. “It is certainly different from an academic class,” said Murphy. “However it is different from acting, music, hands-on art, and singing, too. It’s an expression with your body. [Dance] is a self expression through movement.”
Murphy has been dancing since she was little and later on took the hobby a little more seriously, acknowledging her love for ballet. Murphy is now bringing out her past talent, and is providing students with a new way to look at the exercise: as an art. “Dance is my background and it is my passion, so it is something I am extremely excited about teaching,” said Murphy.
The class currently has eight students in it, but according to Murphy, “we are just starting small.”
Students are very happy with the class so far. “I dance outside of school a lot and I thought it would be fun to incorporate it into my school day,” said freshman Sarah Bassett. “I hope it will help me learn things about dance and myself as a dancer that I didn’t know before.”
Murphy has just taught French at this school before now, but her students are excited that this has now changed. “Murphy explains the steps really well which makes it easier to follow along,” explained sophomore Ashley Zeilmann, who is also a student in Murphy’s dance class. “My favorite part of being in the class is just dancing!”

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