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Swinging into Teaching at the Middle School

8 Girls in Gym learning dance stepsA catchy beat reverberated around the middle school gym during recent physical education classes. The high school students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Dance class spent the day teaching middle school students some dance moves. To give the kids a taste of what they were about to learn, the older students performed a routine showcasing their Latin dance unit.

“It was really good,” said sixth grader Dean Antonucci. “It looked hard to learn.”

The four-minute Latin dance montage included elements of the cha cha, salsa, and swing. The IB Dance class is not just about learning different routines. It also teaches students to collaborate, cooperate, instruct, and present. 

“They split into three groups to choreograph the dance and then they had to teach their part to the rest of the class,” said IB Dance instructor Cheryl Rinaldi. “They tied it together with some of their own elements of hip hop and jazz.”

Junior Ashley Vukaj is taking IB Dance because she has taken dance lessons outside of school for years and wants to continue in college.

“It’s a good alternative to gym,” said Vukaj. “For me, it is more fun, and you learn about different dances and cultures.”

Teaching middle school students how to dance with partners proved challenging, but the IB dancers were patient and encouraging while they instructed

“The kids were hesitant at first about partnering up,” says junior Maddie Lyle, “But once they got used to it, they had fun.”