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Tuesday September 3, 2019

114 fourth grade students at Rich Acres Elementary and Drewry Mason Elementary took part in Dance Español, an in-school residency presented by Piedmont Arts and Southwest Virginia Ballet, August 19 – 30, 2019.

“This is the second year Piedmont Arts has partnered with Southwest Virginia Ballet to bring Dance Español to local schools,” said Executive Director Heidi Pinkston. “The program is an important partnership that provides our students with a unique learning experience and is key to building a love of the arts and learning in our students."

Led by Southwest Virginia Ballet Artistic Director Pedro Szalay, Dance Español is a movement and dance program designed to teach fourth grade students discipline, dedication and self-awareness through dance, Spanish and science. Over two weeks, Szalay led students through daily 45-minute sessions where they improved their memorization skills by repeating dance moves in different combinations, learned songs in Spanish and enhanced their science skills by incorporating vocabulary words into songs.

Education Coordinator Becki Williams Vasquez said, "The skills taught through Dance Español not only allow students to explore dance and movement, they also help strengthen the students understanding of science, math and language, while increasing focus, discipline and self-control. The program merges SOL concepts with confidence-building exercises that are key to better performance in school."

The program culminated with a final performance at each school on August 30, where students were able to show off their hard work.

“The final performances at Rich Acres and Drewry Mason were truly amazing,” said Pinkston. “We are so proud of all the hard work the students put in over the last two weeks. They really have something to be proud of, as do our schools for supporting the arts in education. We look forward to bringing more in-school programs to Martinsville-Henry County during the coming school year."

Dance Español is sponsored by Piedmont Arts and Southwest Virginia Ballet, with the support of the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and For Alison Foundation.


Dance Español instructor Pedro Szalay (center) with students from Drewry Mason Elementary School.

Tags: Art, Entertainment, Henry County, Martinsville, Museums, Performing Arts, Piedmont Arts