June 22, 2022 -- In the gymnasium at East Linden Elementary School, a group of rising fourth grade students kicked off Columbus City Schools’ Summer Experience program by practicing their dance moves.
Dance educator Meghan Patijarevich with BalletMet started the morning by showing them several dances, inviting them to follow her movements and dance along. But by the end of the hour, she had handed off the spotlight, and the students were center stage. They had the chance to show off a dance move they came up with and have other students follow their lead.
For Amyiah Patterson, a rising fourth grader at East Linden who enjoys dancing at home but doesn't always have an audience, this was a chance to perform in front of others and show off her unique style.
“It was kind of fun when we got to make our own moves,” Patterson said after the practice.
Patijarevich said students don’t always get the chance to participate in activities like this, and she is excited to extend that opportunity to CCS students.
“The majority of the kiddos don’t have this experience, so I think it’s really rewarding to come out and be able to give that experience where they wouldn’t necessarily have it (otherwise),” she said.
She hopes experiences like this one will help to give students an appreciation of the arts.
“If they’re exposed to it, if they like it, then they’ll be wanting to do it in the future, which is cool,” she said. “Most of these kids are not going to be professional dancers of any sort, but maybe they’ll develop a love of the arts, which is really neat.”
Patterson said she would be interested in doing an event like this again, and she may have the opportunity. BalletMet will be doing various events with the students throughout the summer, including yoga and ballet.