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RPS has professional dance company teach classes

NOTE: This story aired in November 2018.

Posted: Feb. 5, 2019 7:37 AM
Updated: Feb. 5, 2019 7:37 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The professional dance company, Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, is spending the week teaching fifth graders at Rochester Public Schools movement. 

"I learned that I can do stuff I never thought I could do, like doing a plie and moving my hands like this," Mohammed Abdelhaman, a fifth grader at Jefferson Elementary, said. 

"It's very peaceful dancing. We do a lot of slowmovement, it's calm," Jack Esau, a fifth grader at Jefferson Elementary said. 

With each jump and chasse, kids are learning more than just the moves. 

"We change minds I think. We change the concept of how powerful it is to tell your story in an expressive way," Suzanne Costello, artistic co-director of the company, said. 

It's a lesson not overlooked. The program is funded by a grant from the Minnesota State Board. 

"This is supported by the citizens of Minnesota. Therefore, we're able to bring a program like this to a school that would not have the funds to do this otherwise," Costello said. 

The dance company is teaching at Jefferson Elementary this week and will later teach at Bamber Valley Elementary, too. Students at Bamber Valley will be watching the Jefferson students perform, before their own classes and performance in December. 

"I know some of the Bamber Valley students, I've played them in sports, so it's going to be fun for them to see u," Esau said. 

"The sort of takeaway from the project besides what they learn from those two weeks, is hopefully a cross-city conversation or connection may not happen otherwise," Costello said. 

"I like to dance, they love to dance, literally, everyone loves it over there," Abdelhaman said. "I want all the people who teach dance to stay forever."

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