The Harrison Hot Springs Elementary school gym was a chaotic whirlwind of movement on Monday afternoon (May 6), as students danced with Surrey high schoolers who had come out to the community for a day of sharing.
Frank Hurt Secondary’s competitive dance teams have travelled to elementary schools in B.C. and Washington State in an effort to share the love of dance with the younger generation. Although they had danced in Seattle, Victoria and Kelowna before, this was the first time the team had come to Harrison.
“We just thought we’d do something different,” fine arts teacher Paula Johnson said. “We’re kind of breaking it in, and kind of share it with everyone back in Surrey, and you might have other schools now come forward and come through.”
Normally, the Surrey students are preparing for competitions with other schools, practicing outside of classroom hours to prepare their Bhangra, break dancing or hip hop routines.
“We come from an inner city school, so there’s all different backgrounds, and diversity and income levels,” Johnson said. “Not a lot of kids would have the opportunity to dance outside of school and pay for ballet classes.”
But the best thing about the program, she said, is the community that it builds. And not only with the students in the dance program.
During the Harrison assembly on Monday, Surrey’s high school students got a chance to interact with the younger elementary school kids, laughing and dancing during the open dance circle in the gym.
“It’s the best thing ever,” Johnson said. “You’re breaking them through to seeing older kids, and giving the older kids a chance to be leaders in the group.
“It’s just a way to transition them and see what they can do in the future. Open the doors and creating a bigger community.”