In honor of Black History Month, Ms. Stallings’ Upper School Dance 1 class spent February learning about black dance in America. Students utilized class periods to dig deep into where the dances originated, who created the dances and why it matters.
“We began by studying traditional West African dance and its early, extremely complicated history in this country. For example, how Africans taken from their country were forced to perform their native dances for their captors on slave ships in the Middle Passage for entertainment,” said Middle and Upper School dance teacher Lauren Stallings.
Learning about traditional dances follows this year’s Dance 1 theme: Dance and Social Justice and is a part of the IB Middle Years Program units Identities and Relationships, Orientation in Space and Time unit and Personal and Cultural Expression.
For the final project, Upper School students hosted a mini dance convention called Roots: Black Movement from Africa to Memphis. The event was held in the Multi-Purpose Room, and Middle Schoolers were invited to attend and participate in short dance classes led entirely by Upper School students on West African, Afro-Caribbean, step and commercial hip-hop dance.
The convention offered a fun-filled learning experience and gave students across grade levels the opportunity to come together through dance.
Click here to see all the photos from the convention.