Stewart Elementary Celebrates Latin Heritage with Ballet Folklórico
The entire school filled the auditorium at Stewart Elementary to enjoy
an event that has been a campus tradition for more than a decade. Each
year, students in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth celebrate Latin
heritage with Ballet Folklórico.
Students from each
grade level apply for the privilege to participate, then are chosen
randomly to perform a traditional dance from a Latin country
representing the heritage of Stewart students and teachers. The young
entertainers wear native costumes that have been created and collected
by parents and staff members over the years. This year, Mexico, Cuba and
Argentina were featured. Two teachers from each grade level selected
songs and dances from their home countries and the home countries of
their students and worked with students throughout the month of May to
perfect the performance.
Nearly 250 students dazzled
their audiences during an afternoon show for their teachers and fellow
students and an evening display for parents and community members.
Stewart Elementary Principal Dr. Britani Moses sees the benefits of
participating in the event. “Students have the opportunity to learn
about the music and dance of other countries,” Moses said. “Because they
memorize the words of the songs, they are exposed to vocabulary and a
language other than their own.”
The effects also reach
the students that make up the audience. They too gain an appreciation
for music and dance, as well as knowledge about other countries and
cultures. Seeing the confidence and stage presence of their classmates
also serves as encouragement for young viewers, many of whom elect to
participate in the event the following year.
believes that the influences from events like Ballet Folklórico reach
far outside school walls. “When our students know more about other
heritages and cultures, we see kindness, caring, compassion and a
willingness to reach beyond themselves to make a difference in our