LITTLE FALLS - Students in a fitness through music class at the Little Falls Community High School were introduced Friday to modern ballet dancing.
About 25 students in an elective music class taught by Jane Haas, Little Falls physical education/health teacher, viewed on Friday the James Sewell Ballet in Minneapolis from the school's auditorium. Students watched the professional dancers through video conferencing technology used in partnership with The Minnesota Shubert Center in Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Shubert Center offers the educational dancing sessions to students of all ages in the state. Students in Little Falls have been involved in three sessions with the center including ballet, hip-hop and swing dancing.
Brandy Drong (left) and Sheri Zylka listened to James Sewell of James Sewell Ballet of Minneapolis on Friday in the Little Falls Community High School auditorium during a video conference with The Minnesota Shubert Center in Minneapolis. Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Melissa Ferlaak of the Shubert Center said the program allows students to have access to top performing artists from Minneapolis without leaving the comfort of their own school.
Ferlaak said the Shubert Center is a new center for dance dedicated to providing a performance, rehearsal and administrative home to more than 15 Minnesota art organizations. The center's mission is to provide high-quality art education to students throughout Minnesota.
Haas said the Shubert Center contacted her about the educational sessions, which she thought would fit perfect with her elective fitness through music class. Haas said there was no cost to have the video conferencing because the school already had the necessary technology.
"This partnership is nice because kids in this area may not be able to see ballet or hip-hop at a higher level," said Haas. "This partnership provides them the exposure of seeing different types of dance and to watch the professional artists."
Sewell, who founded the James Sewell Ballet in New York with Sally Rousse in 1990, and relocated the company to Minnesota in 1993, and his dancers presented contemporary ballet choreography to the students and introduced ballet partnering. The students also learned how communication, coordination, cooperation and discipline apply to the art form of dance.
Janaya Johnson (left) and Philip Hochsprung worked on a ballet move while watching a dancer in the James Sewell Ballet of Minneapolis on Friday in the Little Falls Community High School auditorium. They watched the ballet through video conferencing technology via a partnership with The Minnesota Shubert Center in Minneapolis. Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger » Purchase reprints of this photo.
On Friday, an audio problem caused some communications problems between the dancers and students.
Haas used her cell phone to communicate with the dancers because of the glitch.
"Usually the dancers interact with the kids the whole time," said Haas. "At the last session the students learned a five-minute routine. It's too bad, but at least they were still able to see how the dancers do ballet."
Little Falls senior Kayla Bergland, who has been in ballet since age 5, said the educational session was interesting because she got to learn about modern ballet.
"I do all classical ballet and the differences between the two are big," said Bergland. "The way they choreograph their arms in modern ballet is different."
Jane Haas, a Little Falls Community High School physical education/health teacher, used her cell phone to communicate with the dancers because of an audio glitch during her fitness through music class in the high school auditorium. Her class was involved in a video conference with The Minnesota Shubert Center in Minneapolis. Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Lindsey Tretter, a junior, said the ballet was "artistic, cool and exotic looking."
Seniors Zak Klosowski and Erik Hedman were interested in watching the professionals dance and took the elective dance class to learn more about different types of dances.
Haas said at this time they have no more sessions booked with the Shubert Center, but she hopes to have one more session before the end of the year.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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