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Dancing Through the School Year

Caroline B. and Kensington Z.

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Notebooks, pencils, computer, and dance shoes. Some Westminster students fill their backpacks with these items everyday.

The Middle School provides many choices for fine arts electives including chorus, art, band, orchestra, and drama. One of the newest additions to the arts curriculum is dance, which has recently come back as an offering to students for the past two years.

Dance class is a semester long and is taught by Jennifer Finlayson. She said, “I love teaching dance because it empowers young women to build their confidence and enjoy dancing.”

The middle school dance class was previously taught by Lee Harper, founder of Lee Harper Studios. Ms. Harper first came to Westminster to help choreograph some of the shows and then was later solicited to teach the dance program.

A few years later, the dance program was struggling with numbers and wasn’t practical anymore, so the course dropped off the list of choices. In 2015, Jennifer Finlayson was hired, bringing experience in dance, drama, and cheerleading. Leslie Ann Little, Assistant Head of the Middle School for Academic Programs, said, “I really give credit to Mrs. Finlayson for reviving the dance program. Now we have more students interested than we can take.”

The class is taught in the middle school dance room, which was built to help make the arts program more well-rounded. The room features a wooden dance bar, a dance floor, and a wall of mirrors.

The Middle School is the only level that offers dance as a course, as the Upper School only has a dance club offered for students.  

On Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m., students from the seventh and eighth grade dance classes, along with the Upper School Dance Corps, came together to perform at the Dance Showcase.

A dance club is also offered for all students, not just people in the class. The showcase was originally going to feature a dance choreographed by students in the dance club, but the students decided against it because they weren’t ready.

Eighth grade girl Kappi J. said, “I think the showcase went really well, and I had lots of fun preparing for it and performing in it.”

Mrs. Finlayson agreed. She said, “I know the girls worked really hard on their performance, and it turned out well.”

The dance class focuses on daily modern dance, ballet technique, flexibility, history of dance, and strength training. Eighth grade girl Janie C. said, “Dance is my favorite class because I really like Mrs. Finlayson, and I have enjoyed learning more about dancing.”

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Dancing Through the School Year