Category Archives: Advocacy for Dance
Teacher Kathleen Isaac’s PS 165, Queens, 5th-grade dance company had the help of a choreographer trained in Chinese dances for their Chinese Fan Dance.
While the American Ballet Theater dancers were doing their cabrioles and plies at Lincoln Center, the New York City Dance Educators’ ninth annual Dance Festival was in full swing at UFT headquarters on May 23. Student dance troupes from across the city — chosen through auditions — presented a wide range of styles, most of them choreographed by their dance teachers. At the Sunday performances, the 100 or so parents attending rose to their feet cheering when teachers were asked to stand. After all, what standardized test can measure what the dancers have achieved? Julie Rubin, the dance educators secretary, stood in for Chair Allison Parsley.
Students at PS 165 in Queens performed for a crowd of 1,000 New Yorkers — including Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, and other government and civic dignitaries — at the Mayor’s annual State of the City address on Thursday.
The students danced, jumped, and waved colorful scarves in time to lively music before the Mayor delivered his speech at the new ice rink facility at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
“Experiencing my dance company’s performance for the Mayor’s State of the City Address was like giving and receiving a gift at the same time,” said dance teacher Kathleen Isaac. “It was a tremendous honor for the students to perform for this audience, and the children’s dancing filled the space with movement and color.”
The students said they loved their debut — especially because their audience was packed with distinguished New Yorkers, including members of the City Council and two former mayors, David Dinkins and Ed Koch.
“Dancing for the Mayor and City was the dream of a lifetime,” said PS 165 student Christopher Bonhomme, “This was a chance for PS 165 to shine.”
Kathleen Isaac’s innovative program was spotlighted in Dance Teacher Magazine.
New York City is often said to be the capital of art and culture but the school curriculum says otherwise. Unlike the core subjects of science and mathematics, there is no citywide core curriculum for art and music. Advocates for art are collaborating to restore the city’s many lost art and music programs, an embarrassment for a city so well known for the arts. The revival of the arts was sparked by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation. Walter H. Annenberg pledged $500 million in 1993 to education reform nationwide. A generous $12 million has gone to New York City’s public schools for academic programs in the arts. Schools around the city have since put the welcome funding toward new cultural and artistic programs for the city’s young. Elementary school P.S. 165 has in part reserved the funding for its dance program, created with the help of Kathleen Isaac, a dancer.