Partnership Between Kenmore, Bowen McCauley Pays Off
by KRISTEN ARMSTRONG, Staff Writer
|Kenmore Middle School students
interested in learning the art of modern dance have been in luck this
Since the start of the school year, Kenmore has partnered with Bowen McCauley Dance, an Arlington-based professional dance troupe, to offer a free after-school program for students interested in modern dance.
It's been a fabulous opportunity to offer high-quality dance instruction to students who are interested and motivated, said Shauna Dyer, who coordinates the school's extracurricular arts activities and who helped to organize the partnership.
While previous experience was not required, students had to audition to be in the Bowen McCauley Dance Junior Company. About 20 of the 35 students who tried out made the troupe.
The dancers practice once a week for about 90 minutes, and work on routines choreographed by their instructor and Bowen McCauley Dance artistic director Lucy Bowen McCauley.
They also work with the senior company's outreach coordinator Ronnie Vavalluzzi and dancer Bobby Sidney.
I try to pick musical choices they'll respond to and I teach dance and stage terms, Bowen-McCauley said. I try to push them all. The goal is to build their confidence and make them look good.
I like learning material for the performance, said junior company member Audrey Bowler. I think Lucy is a great choreographer.
The junior company performed at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in November and have an upcoming performance at Kenmore in mid-April, where they will share the stage with Bowen McCauley Dance and the Maryland Youth Ballet. They also will perform at the Lubber Run Amphitheater in June.
What I've liked most about being in the program is getting to perform in places I'd never usually perform at this age, said junior company member Rebecca Scruggs.
Although working towards the performances is a key part of the program, building self-esteem and life skills also is a very important component.
All things that lead to success in dance - discipline, practice and team work - lead to success in life, said Bowen McCauley Dance's executive director, Mary Hynes.
You can use dance to teach a whole set of ways to work well together, said Hynes, who until last year served on the School Board and is running this year for County Board.
I hope I can be a good influence for the students and help them in their maturing, Bowen McCauley said. I think there is a lot of confidence-building, and there are a lot of skills they learn.
Performances will be Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m.
For more information on the Bowen McCauley Junior Company's upcoming April performance, call at (703) 524-4641 ext. 102, or see the Web site at www.bmdc.org.
Kenmore Middle School and the Bowen McCauley Dance Company have formed a partnership that offers Kenmore students the chance to receive instruction from professional dancers, and to perform at venues such as the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Lubber Run Amphitheatre.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)