Thursday, May 25, 2006
Dancing Returns to Fairhope
Title's a bit dramatic, I realize. There has always been quite a lot of dancing, of all kinds, in Fairhope. It's only that lately there hasn't been much of it at the Marietta Johnson School.
With partial funding from the Alabama Council on the Arts, the school has a new project called Creative Movement, which will be seen in public for the first time this afternoon at the end-of-the-year sendoff ceremonies for eighth graders. Ballet expert Sherrylea Bloodworth, who has extensive experience teaching and dancing with such companies as the San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey in New York, has translated her ballet and choreography skills to the school in a way that boys and girls alike are dancing joyously and learning movement and rhythm without thinking of it as ballet.For one who attended the school when Folk Dancing was a daily class and a source of pride for the school, it is heartening to see it return in this way. The grant will continue until the end of September, which means that there will be more dancing next year, and will become a staple in Fairhope through our school once again.
There is something unique about the Fairhope approach to dance, particularly as it is practiced at the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education. Mrs. Johnson felt that dance and music were natural to all children and should not be the province of a selected few (in fact, her whole theory of education was that nothing should be offered to a select few -- that in childhood all children should be exposed to everything a school could offer. Specialization would come later, out of natural interest.) This approach to folk dancing through ballet is a contemporary way to present a difficult art to an unsuspecting student body. And they are loving it.