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Timber Trail Elemetary dubsteppers wow audiences

Timber Trail Elementary fourth grader teacher Tony Greene (center) dances with the entire fifth grade class at the school’s annual variety show. The dance exposed students to a hip-hop style called dubstep.

Article and photo by Lisa Crockett

Fifth graders at Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) performed a dance last month that took them nearly an entire school year to learn and took them around the globe in the process. In a newly-established tradition, the entire fifth grade class participates in the finale of the annual variety show at TTE. Last year, fifth graders performed Michael Jackson’s classic, “Thriller.” This year, class members voted to do a style of hip-hop dance called “dubstep,” a distinct style of street dance characterized by robotic movements and music with an electric sound.

“The kids decided that this was what they wanted to do, so I started researching,” said TTE art teacher Wendy Wilson, who coordinated the effort with TTE music teacher Cindy Berndt. “I found several things on YouTube and we got to work.”

In her research, Wilson found inspiration in the chorography of Dima Maryanovsky, a professional dancer and owner of the BeStreet Dance Studio in Israel. Wilson wanted permission to teach his choreography to her students and contacted Maryanovsky through Facebook.

“Dima was so great and really encouraged us to use his work,” said Wilson. “The kids really wanted to talk to him, so we found a way to make that happen.”

Following their performance, fifth graders gathered in the school’s library to ask Maryanovsky questions about his work – connecting the students to Israel via Skype.

“This has really brought so many things together,” said Wilson. “It required team work and dedication, it taught the kids an art form that is also good exercise, and it helped them broaden their worldview by exposing them to someone from a different part of the world.”

All four fifth grade classes participated, led by a team of 14 lead dancers who practiced for months during their lunch break. Though it took hours of work and effort, Wilson is enthusiastic about the benefits of the project.

“Kids are really designed for movement,” she said. “It’s great to teach them something new that helps them express themselves through music.”

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