Dance at Sierra Madre Elementary School with
Lynnanne Hanson Miller, Teaching Artist, Dance Educator, Choreographer
Dance together with music, theater and visual arts are part of the well rounded education that SMES offers!
Since 2012, Miss Lynnanne as the students know her, has taught standards based dance classes to most grade levels at SMES. This series of 4 to 6 sessions are participatory, engaging and fun for the students. Recently they have culminated in a “Family Sharing Event” where parents are invited to observe their child’s final dance class and participate in a community dance with the students and teacher.
As a Teaching Artist for the last 30 years these classes focuses on folk dance instruction for K thru 5 students via the Visual and Performing Arts Standards, Content Standards, Common Core State Standards and classroom curriculum. “This is very rewarding since children are natural movers and therefore are happy to be attending dance class at school. And this experience has given me the background to create and produce both historical and modern a stage-worthy choreographies for children in a short amount of time. Creating choreography for a specific theme for a specific grade level is especially challenging and time consuming, yet is very rewarding as the students are always engaged and excited to perform.”
The monthly Spotlight Assemblies include a performance prior to the presenting of the Spotlight Awards where the Principal and teachers acknowledge student achievement. As part of this assembly, every student in each grade level, Kinder thru 5th, gets a chance to present a performance via singing, acting and dancing, about a time and place in the history of the arts.
These performances were created by former teacher, Vice Principal and Principal Emeritus Gayle Bluemel and have taken place since 1996. Currently, Ms. Emily Clark, an actor and Drama Teacher is the Director and Ms. Bluemel volunteers her extraordinary piano playing skills to accompany the students. And since my daughter began attending in 2006, I have been the Spotlight Choreographer since 2007.
Each Spotlight showcases two or three styles of historical dance. Miss Lynnanne choreographs age appropriate, thematic dance numbers as well as to encourage students to contribute creatively to these dances. They not only learn the steps, but also about the dance’s history and purpose, how the dance communicates a time and place all while working together collaboratively using critical thinking skills along the way.
And no performance would be complete without costumes! These are provided by our amazing volunteer Costume Committee comprised of capable and willing parents that put together and create costumes and props from the ever-expanding supply at school, from donations to that supply as well as cutting, sewing and gluing whatever else in needed to help the students “play the part.”
Also for each Spotlight, students are provided the opportunity to create Visual Art pieces that align with the theme which are then displayed in an art gallery style in the foyer of the auditorium.
Past themes explored have been:
- The History of Modern American Music and Dance
- World Cultures through Art (Americas, Africa)
- World Cultures through Art (Europe, Asia)
The 2022-23 Spotlight theme is a Roadtrip Across America. Each grade level performs a series of songs from various cities across the United States. Featured artist hail from locations such as Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orlena, New York and even Sierra Madre, Ca!
Also the ever-popular “Song and Dance Maniacs” Friday elective has had 4th and 5th grade students singing and dancing for many years led by 5th grade teachers, Tina Johnson and Kim Sibbrel.
Long live the arts!