Dance: A Wonderful Way to Express Yourself
The All-County Dance program will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Paisley IB Magnet School. Admission is free. At the program, groups from each participating school will perform. The grand finale of the program will be a dance performed by a group made up of three dancers from each school.
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
NOVEMBER 4, 2019 – For members of the Dance Honor Society at North Forsyth High, the love of dance emerged early on.
“I was 5,” said junior MacAyla Butler. “I started in church.”
And she never stopped dancing. Butler went on to become a member of the Greater Vision Dance Co. These days, in addition to participating in dance at North, she teaches ballet to young students.
Butler likes the range of emotions that can emerge while she is dancing and the ability dance gives her to portray many types of people.
“You can be anybody when you dance,” Butler said.
Senior Sumer Stanley’s mother told her that she started dancing soon after she learned to walk.
“As a child, I danced all the time,” Stanley said.
If she standing in line at the grocery store or waiting to get into a car, she might break into a spontaneous dance.
What does she like about dancing?
“It allows me to express myself,” Stanley said.
When Maria Granados was 4, she saw The Nutcracker ballet for the first time. Right then, she knew she wanted to learn become a ballet dancer. After studying ballet, she went on to learn other types of dance.
“I love that I can express myself through dance,” said Granados, who is a senior.
Each Wednesday after school, the members of the Dance Honor Society work with the dance teacher Danielle Kinne. In recent weeks, they have been focusing on the piece that they will perform at the All-County Dance program on Nov. 16.
Called “Looner Eclipse,” it’s a piece that Kinne first choreographed for a summer dance program that she teaches in Michigan. She has modified the choreography to highlight the gifts of each the dancers in the Dance Honor Society.
Kinne said she enjoys adding a touch of “organized chaos” when choreographing a dance and she did that with this dance.
All-County Dance is a two-day affair. On Friday, Nov. 15, all of the participating students will work with Danah Bella, a noted professional choreographer. Three students from each school will also work with Bella on a dance that serve as the grand finale of the program on Nov. 16.
It’s a wonderful opportunity for her students, Kinne said. In addition to working with a professional choreographer, they will be able to connect with other dance students throughout the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system.
And the show, which is free, is open to everyone throughout the community.
Sara Crater, the school system’s Dance Education Administrator had this to say:
“The All-County dance event is the pinnacle of what dance education should strive to be. We select the top students from each school in the county and a professional choreographer comes in and creates a piece based on their talents.”
“The choreographer has two days to complete this lofty task. To complete the show each school has an opportunity to showcase their students completing a piece of work that the teacher has choreographed. The All-County Dance process is one that I am blessed to be a part of every year and the students blow me away with their abilities to showcase the art form we have grown to love...dance.”
Kinne has really enjoyed working with this group of students.
“They are amazing students,” Kinne said. “I feel a great sense of community with this group of kinds in particular.”
They are all focused and like-minded in their approach to dancing, she said.
Before coming to North, Kinne taught at Carver High and Mineral Springs Middle.
Dance has always been a satisfying outlet for her.
“I can feel comfortable in my own skin,” she said.
And she likes passing on what she has learned from dance to her students.
“I want them to find that safe place,” she said.
Butler participated in All-County Dance last year. She found it a really satisfying experience so she is looking forward to going back.
Butler stays busy. In addition to all the dancing she does, she has a business selling sour hard candies called JollieLollies.
Butler would like to pursue dance as a profession. She likes envisioning a time when she becomes so well-known as a dancer that, when she is walking down the street, someone might say, “Oh, my gosh!....”
Stanley is also looking forward to participating in All-County Dance, in part because she expects to learn more technique and is looking forward to seeing the different styles of dance that others use.
In addition to participating in the Dance Honor Society, Stanley serves as the captain on the North Forsyth Valkyries dance team. The team practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays and performs at football and basketball games.
Stanley is also a member of the school Art Honor Society and her art has been on display at such places as the Dixie Classic Fair.
“I’m busy, busy,” she said.
As much as she loves dancing, Stanley doesn’t envision becoming a professional dancer because she didn’t have formal training early on.
“I don’t have all the technique most people do,” she said. “If I had the experience, I would want to try.”
She plans to become a dental hygienist because it’s a way to help people.
Asked how she feels about participating in All-County dance, Granados said, “I am excited, and, at the same time nervous.”
Paisley is in a new building, and Kinne pointed out to the students that the stage does not yet have curtains.
That means, Granados said, that even when they are not dancing, they will always be visible to the audience and will have to be aware of how they hold themselves.
“We are always on stage,” she said.
In addition to dancing, Granados enjoys acting. She is president of the school Thespian Honor Society. She is also a member of the National Art Society. As much as she loves the arts, she doesn’t plan to pursue one of them as a career.
She plans to major in international business in college and envisions hers as a director of marketing for a company that does business in many countries one day.
The members of the Dance Honor Society are:
Ashley Dominguez Garcia
Maria Granados Pelaez