Spectrum Company Teaches A Lesson In Inclusiveness
April 1, 2006
By FULVIO CATIVO, Courant Staff Writer
WEST HARTFORD -- Olivia Davis says
dance is a great communicator.
If that's the case, her dance company's
performance brought down the house Friday at King Philip Middle
Davis, artistic director of the Hartford-based
Spectrum in Motion Dance Company, was there with some of her dancers
to perform at an assembly in front of about 700 seventh- and eighth-graders.
But some King Philip students didn't
just watch. About a dozen members of King Philip's after-school
dance club, who trained with Davis Thursday afternoon, joined the
company Friday during the show.
The teenagers joined dancers not much
older than themselves to wrap up a performance that drew thunderous
cheers, admiration and sheer disbelief from the audience.
"How did he do that?" some
students whispered to their classmates. Others giggled as they watched
dancers twist into unusual shapes. One young man in the audience
wondered aloud, "Doesn't that hurt?" as a performer balanced
himself from a chair using his hips. When their classmates took
the stage, some students in the audience got on their feet and cheered
While the choreography drew the students'
attention and applause, the presentation, in which Davis would introduce
a dance, theme and music, packed lessons for students to take away.
"Prior to Eminem, Ludacris and
50 Cent, there were people named Langston Hughes and Nikki Giovanni,"
Davis told the students, referring to the poets and relating some
of today's popular artists to older cultural icons.
Davis' company's incorporation of different
cultures, various styles of music and performers of all shapes and
sizes sends a clear message of inclusiveness to the middle school
audience, King Philip Art teacher Brigid Kennedy said.
"Seeing dance celebrated as the
language of movement, inclusion and diversity with our own students
is a rare treat," King Philip Principal Mary E. Hourdequin
told the audience.
For the dance company members, the
performance was an opportunity to share their love of dance with
"Whatever I can bring that I like
and they like it as well, it's a good thing," said Tristan
Drummond, 23, one of the company's dancers.
Some students found a clearer purpose
in their participation - fun - but, some said they took away important
lessons about persistence, dedication and expression from their
training with Davis' dance company and Friday's performance.
Tameria Starks, an 11-year-old sixth-grader
who performed with the dance company, summed it up her way: "Dance
is my thing."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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