When people come up to me and tell me they can’t dance… I tell them I don’t believe them. It only takes one person to give you permission. I started Olive Tree’s first dance club with exactly that in mind, opening the hearts and minds of children through
movement to discover dance with no experience necessary.

On June 19, I produced Olive Tree’s first Dance Recital, and it was an exciting success. I had 8 enthusiastic and curious primary students who are now are the founding Dance Club members! The club was launched in January 2019, rehearsing for only one hour a week. Even though we had no formal studio with mirrors or ballet barres, that did not stop us from creating. Each week we danced with the natural sunlight from the garden illuminating us, and little by little our dance studio began to bloom, sprouting new ideas, movement, and memories. From the first week, I was immediately impressed with the ability of the girls to pick up and retain choreography. The more I challenged them, the more they challenged me. They were little dancing sponges, and by Easter Break we had 3 choreographic works in process.

For my concert, I wanted to educate the girls in teaching various styles of choreography which would allow for interest and intrigue. We explored a sassy jazz number to bring out their personalities, smiles, and energy. Second, we created a number where the emphasis was exploring deeper emotions in the movement of struggle, fear, and sadness. It was a piece where we explored and discussed the unfortunate lives of children refugees all over the world. We dedicated our work to these children with hope of bringing them light and love in times of displacement through war. Finally, I brought them a slice of ballet history with a movement from the 1870 ballet Coppellia. The girls were all different toy dolls in a workshop dancing and being mischievous until Dr. Coppelius discovered them and put an end to their playful ways!

What a wonderful opportunity it has been to be a part of a school that places such a strong emphasis on the Performing Arts as Olive Tree does. Incorporating the arts for children on a daily basis allows for self-expression in building confidence that permeates into all areas of their lives. In launching this dance club, these young girls embodied an inner strength and enthusiasm that was a treat for me to witness. With their smiles and hearts wide open their light shined through! Let’s keep on dancing Olive Tree!

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