Weave Dance Company’s first year as artist in residency teaching instructional and rehearsal hip hop and other dance styles at Orchard Knob Elementary School culminated in an end-of-year recital involving over 100 students.
Assistant Principal Jennifer Brownlee said, “Everyone is so proud of the students who showed off their amazing dance skills. They have had such a fantastically fun time this semester learning from Weave Dance instructors who are so passionate and gifted in this beautiful art form. Having Weave Dance Company at Orchard Knob this semester as artists in residency has been an exciting experience for our entire school. I am excited and hope this program will continue at Orchard Knob, and that other Title 1 schools in our area will seek out opportunities to invite local artists in residency.”
Weave served as artists in residency by providing onsite instructional and rehearsal classes beginning in January. These classes were available to over 100 students from K-5th grade at Orchard Knob Elementary. Dance classes occurred 3-4 times each week during the regular school day. In total, the program’s taught 44 sessions with a focus on hip hop dance styles.
“Part of our mission at Weave is to make the arts accessible to those students that would normally not have the opportunity to participate. We want to open the doors for all students to participate and practice movement arts in a positive way while developing their God-ordained talents,” said Travis Upton, co-founder and creative director of Weave Dance Company.
The artist-in-residency partnership with Weave Dance Company is the result of a grant to the school offered by Weave (grant is through the federally designated Opportunity Zones program). No school funds are used for the dance program, and participation is voluntary. The Uptons said they wouldn’t want it any other way.
Students received instruction from the Weave Dance Company in a variety of hip dance styles that emphasized pop & locking (hard-hitting), grooving (soft style), and commercial hip hop (performance-minded). The Orchard Knob students also learned the origins, conceptions, and influences of hip hop dance over the last four decades.
Students also explored other dance genres such as contemporary, jazz, improvisation or ballet. All students were given the option to perform at the year-end showcase on May 15.