When she asked the audience for volunteer performers, Kaslyn Harris-Jordan, dance teacher at Democracy Prep Harlem Elementary, knew that a group of parents would rise up and join her on stage.
The move looked effortless to the crowd, but the parents had spent weeks with Harris-Jordan working hard to learn choreography in time for the DPHE Winter Showcase on December 3.
“At first, we thought about inviting a professional dance group, and then the idea of creating a dance for our parents came up,” Harris-Jordan said. “We loved the idea and ran with it.”
The Parent Dance Troupe performed to a traditional African song, and were joined by their scholars on the stage when they performed a dance to Beyonce’s “Move Your Body.”
For the group of ten parents their reasons for volunteering varied from “loving to dance” to “wanting to be role models” for their children.
“We both dance at church and we both go to dance school,” said Lanee, mom of DPHE kindergartener, Kayla L. “I do believe I was one of the first to volunteer,” she says with a laugh. “I’m always ready to dance.”
For Tanisha, mom of second-grader Mag S., participating in the dance performance gave her a way to become even more involved in her daughter’s education.
“I always said I didn’t want to be one of those parents that just stands back,” she said. “I want to be a part of her extracurricular activities, and dancing is something we love to do together.”
Many of the parents were a little nervous and shy during the first rehearsal, Harris-Jordan said, but by showtime they were all ready to have the spotlight on them.
“It’s been a pleasure working with these parents,” she said. “I believe these ten parents are models of courage and hard work.”