Manheim Central High School added a dance enrichment option this year that does ballroom related dancing. The Spanish teacher, Mrs. Hoover, is also the dance enrichment teacher. She has many years of experience in a variety of dance fields and decided that dance was something she wanted to share with her students.
Mrs. Hoover’s Dancing Experience
In order to get a more in depth look at her involvement and experience with dance, I interviewed Mrs. Hoover. When asked what got her interested in dance, Mrs. Hoover said, “It looked fun and entertaining. I like to wear gowns.” She also shared about the lessons she has taken. She has received lessons from Pierre Dulain (founder of American Ballroom Theatre), Garry Gehkman (U.S Dance Show Champion and professional performer on Dancing with the Stars), and learned too do lifts while in NYC. Mrs. Hoover also said that she …”demos with a professional when he teaches group classes on workshops.”
Her experience with dance does not stop there, Mrs. Hoover has learned numerous different styles of dancing. She has had lessons in waltz, foxtrot, tango, quickstep, Viennese Waltz, hustle, swing (East Coast), cha cha, rumba, samba, bolero, mambo, salsa, merengue, paso doble, and theatre arts. When asked what kind of dance was her favorite to do she responded, “I prefer waltz, fox trot, tango, quickstep, and Viennese Waltz, as well as hustle.” She also said, “Hustle is fun and freeing. The other dances can have an elegant look. Lifts can easily be incorporated into waltz and foxtrot.” When asked what her favorite kind of dance to watch was, she said, “I love to watch quickstep. It is very quick, animated and elegant. There are intricate moves that are creative.” She also explained that she is equally enthralled by theatre arts because of the incorporation of lifts. Mrs. Hoover’s final question was about what types of dance she has not learned, but would like to learn. She expressed that she is content with all the styles she already knows, but would like to become more advanced in the styles she already knows. She said, “I’d like to work on those dances beyond the gold level.” She concluded by saying that watching professionals motivates and inspires her to reach new goals.
What do I Think?
Personally, I am impressed with Mrs. Hoover’s dance experience. Although I have dabbled in ballroom dancing, it definitely is not my area of expertise. So, I find it interesting to learn about someone who, like me, has a lot of dance experience, but in a different area. Overall, I think Mrs. Hoover is well versed in dance and it’s awesome that she wants to share that with her students. They could learn a lot from her.
Mrs. Hoover has a lot of experience and love for dancing. She has learned a vast variety of styles and has learned from a few different professionals. She is inspired and motivated to work harder to become better at what she does. Overall, I think that adding the dance enrichment was a good choice.
Manheim Central High School offers few dancing opportunities to students. Every Friday each gym class has “Dance Fridays” where the students learn simple dances as an alternative option to traditional warm-ups. The school has also recently added Salsa dancing. It is taught by one of the Spanish teachers and is an enrichment option for students. Aside from in school opportunities, Manheim attempted to create a dance team about 3 years ago, but it flopped. Overall, Manheim does not offer much in terms of dancing.
What do the Students Think?
After interviewing 4 Manheim students, it was obvious that they like having the opportunity to learn simple dances and that they would be open to trying other kinds of dancing that the school has to offer. When junior, Danaca Peck, was asked if she enjoyed dance Fridays she responded, “Yes, because it’s something different than any other day.” Seniors, Megan Fessler and Morgan Becker also said they also like dance Fridays. They appreciate having a day off from warm-ups to do something different and fun. When asked if they find Dance Fridays to be challenging, the students had varying responses. Senior, Andrew Seiverling, said,
“They are challenging depending on the dance, especially Footloose.” Morgan answered,
“Some of the dances are easy and some are difficult because of the quick movements.” Danaca and Megan both thought that overall the dances were slightly challenging, but that the level of difficulty varies from dance to dance. The students were also asked if they would consider participating in the school’s new Salsa dancing enrichment. Although all of the students commented that their knowledge base about Salsa was very slim, they all were open to trying it, except for Andrew because he prefers to relax during his advisory period. The final question for the students was about what kind of dance they think our school should offer. All the of the girls agreed that Manheim should offer hip-hop. Megan said that the school should offer
…”Hip-Hop because it’d be fun and I think people might do it and enjoy it.” Similarly, Morgan responded,
“Hip-Hop because it is more up to date and people would probably enjoy it and have fun.” For the most part, the students seemed to enjoy the minimal dancing offered at Manheim and would like it if the school had more dance available for students to take.
What do I Think?
Just like these students, I also enjoy Dance Fridays. I’d prefer dancing over running any day. However, unlike the students, I find the Dance Friday routines to be painstakingly simple and repetitive. I would prefer something a little more challenging, but of course understand that very few people have dance experience and the gym teachers aren’t dance teachers. I would also be open to trying the Salsa dancing enrichment. I have already tried a few Salsa dancing classes and thought it was fun and lively. Additionally, I think that the girls are right when they say people would like taking hip-hop. It’s fun and up-to-date. I’d say that overall, Manheim lacks a little in the area of dance and that they should add more dancing opportunities for students.
It’s obvious that not only students enjoy the dancing opportunities offered at Manheim, but would prefer to have more. Manheim is definitely lacking in the dance department and that the popularity of dance Fridays and open-mindedness to new kinds of dance is an indicator that they should offer more.