Every day, a photograph, a poem. Today’s poem is in response to today’s Daily Create #tdc3882 in which we viewed and choose a discovery of “found in library book” items of the Oakland Public Library. I found a ticket stub from a high school dance recital called “In the Spirit of Dance” directed by Dawn James.
I do not think the high school has the Skyline Visual and Performance Art Academy in it any more. The websites are no longer available. But I did find this site about the staff and students from the school from about 2012: Performers Skyline Gold in which they celebrated 50 years of the performing arts with past students sharing their successes. Here’s an invitation to that, in which you see images of past student performances, probably including Antoine Hunter who became internationally famous as a dancer.
Watch an interview with Antoine here: Feeling the music: How Oakland native Antoine Hunter dances professionally while being Deaf.
“Life is like a dance for me. Everything is moving. For me, if you don’t move, it’s like you can’t breathe.” ~Antoine HunterFeeling the music: How Oakland native Antoine Hunter dances professionally while being Deaf
In the article dancing-out-loud-antoine-hunter-uses-dance-to-express-the-deaf-experience, Antoine Hunter explains how dance saved him — yes, the dance program in his high school.
“And dance, the art is alive. It has the power to heal, you know. It saved my life. But because I learned to do dance to save my life, I want it to save other people’s lives. And give other people a voice.” ~ Antoine Hunterarticle dancing-out-loud-antoine-hunter-uses-dance-to-express-the-deaf-experience
Imagine that: schools with performing arts should be part of every school. It’s truly transformative for many students whose worlds are more than academics and athletics.
And now, Antoine Hunter shares his passion through his Real Urban Jazz Dance to “show the world that no matter who you are, your dreams are possible.” He’s one member of The Ford and Mellon Foundations Disability Futures Fellows cohort for 2022.
How? Because his high school had a Performance Arts Academy at that time. Imagine if all schools offered that opportunity. And how sad that the department does not really exist anymore.
Our school, mostly Native Americans, offered students the opportunity to dance traditionally. And, in 2011, I wrote this poem. I wrote this poem because, for so many, the dance — so much a part of the culture– filled their souls with pride and accomplishment and hope. They could dance their heart out and connect past to present to their futures.
And so I remix the original image and poem to honor those who honor the talents of students beyond the testable, beyond academics, to that which touches the soul.
Dance Your Heart Out
The beater poised up
Drummers’ eyes lock
Lead drummer nods
His beater drops.
Ears tuned in
The beater drops.
Drummers join beats
Song echoes –sweet
All beaters drop.
Fluid with grace
Dance with the beat
Dancers’ feet hop.
Drum and dance
Honor the past
Dances won’t stop.
Drum and danceSheri Edwards, originally written 09.24.11
Sing the future
Sing for Elders
Dance, dance nonstop.
Found in a library book @oaklibrary In the Spirit of Dancegrammasheri
School Program Ticket & dancer Antoine Hunter learned
“dance, the art is alive. It has the power to heal”
so Dance Your Heart Out
1278 days of posts in a row
Geeky Gramma ~~
Retired Middle School Language Arts/Media Teacher ~~
Writer and Thinker~~
Art from the Heart