Dancing isn’t for everyone. Sashing to a beat takes a certain amount of confidence, coordination and self-assurance. So when a young student at Holy Cross, sweet yet somewhat socially-unsure, stood up in front of a crowd of 50 potential donors and offered his personal, impassioned testimony for his love of dance, Barbara Deane took, the school’s principal, took notice. “I’d never heard this youngster utter more than ten words,” she shared, “and here he was speaking articulately in front of a roomful.” Perhaps dancing isn’t for everyone. But for that particular young man, it was life-changing.
To dance is to take a risk, Deane explained. In fact when she first introduced, Take the Stage, an educational outreach program of the Owen Cox Dance troupe, her middle school students were horrified. The prospect of getting it wrong kept them from enjoying the process at all. “The younger kids however,” Deane continued, “were all over it.” Learning to dance equates to learning body awareness, cultivating confidence.
For the past three years Take the Stage, engages fourth and second grade students at both Holy Cross and Our Lade of Hope in an innovative curriculum which encourages discipline, develops self-confidence and helps youngsters discover their unique and creative talents.
“If not necessarily a life-changer,” Deane concludes, “It’s definitely been a life-enhancer for middle schoolers.”