Magazine article Dance Teacher

Kim Stroud: HELPING K-12 STUDENTS FEEL EMPOWERED THROUGH DANCE

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Kim Stroud: HELPING K-12 STUDENTS FEEL EMPOWERED THROUGH DANCE

Article excerpt

"The most exciting thing is the moment when students realize that they're the masters of this instrument," says Kim Stroud, arts director of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford, Connecticut, a magnet school for grades 9-12. "Not that they necessarily have mastery of their bodies-but they can be the masters. I love it." A former Martha Graham Dance Company member for 11 years, Stroud teaches a Graham-based modern class at the school, in addition to overseeing the faculty and curriculum planning.

Since joining the faculty in 1993, Stroud has helped the program grow from 200 to 700 students. (A middle-school program is also slated to open this fall.) She also leads community classes for at-risk youth in Hartford and directs the dance program at the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University, a summer program for high-schoolers. In 2002, she pioneered a summer arts residency in Cape Verde, Africa, active for four summers.

"I took five teachers and 10 students the first year," says Stroud. "But I told my teachers, 'We're not going to be the Americans who tell you how it's done. We're going to collaboratively teach each other,'" she says.

Stroud paired each American teacher with an African teacher, and together they taught their cultures' different approaches to dance, music, art and theater. The dance program highlighted improvisation and composition. "We'd show what our aesthetic looks like when we create dances, then they showed us theirs," she says. "Then we'd collaborate. …

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