Glenview students learn from professional dancers
Demetrius McClendon and Marissa Horton, of DanceWorks Chicago, performed at Glenview's Lyon School. | Todd Shields~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:30AM
GLENVIEW — The clapping and yelling grew louder and longer upon each lift and leap at Lyon School in Glenview.
The professional troupe, DanceWorks Chicago, performed Friday for students in a learning arts program sponsored by the Parent/Teacher Association.
Grades kindergarten through second witnessed the six-member repertory that schedules shows for young students in the Chicago area throughout the year.
DanceWorks’ artistic director and cofounder, Julie Nakagawa, prepped the Lyon students on the theme and purpose of each of the four dances.
“This is a performance opportunity to put energy into space, a space as alive and vibrant as we can make it,” Nakagawa said.
The show was titled “Voice Of Dance” that featured not only dance but a short, funny monologue between a feuding couple to the George and Ira song, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”
The dancers’ physical antics and theatrics got a lot of laughs.
“The theme of voice and dance is the language of movement,” she explained, adding the shows were choreographed in modern contemporary dance.
For 52 years, Urban Gateways in Chicago has recruited local professional artists such as DanceWorks to perform for grades pre-kindergarten to twelfth, their teachers, families and communities.
Urban Gateways organizes shows for more than 100 schools in music, dance, theater, literary arts, visual arts and digital media.
The organization also sends art teachers to hold student workshops before the performances so that they better understand them, said Gateways performance program manager Tarah Durnbaugh.
“At Lyon School, our teacher worked with students on what they would see in the dance. They work on topics and themes to make connections,” she said.
Mary Tapia, an art and drama teacher at Lyon, said students can learn from professional artists practicing their crafts.
“They see real people with real lives doing real things. It gives students more possibility in accomplishing their own art works,” she said.
“Our goal is to show how the arts can tell stories in dance, visual arts or other forms,” Tapia said.
First-grader Sarah Sepahdari enjoyed the dancers’ “puffy and fancy” dresses.
“I have a disco light at home, but I don’t know all the moves. I learned some today at the dance show,” she said.
In spring, DanceWorks is scheduled for a performance tour in Germany and The Netherlands.
Urban Gateways received a $2,000 grant from the Target store in Glenview to feature DanceWorks at Lyon School.