Magazine article Multicultural Education

European Dances in the American Northwest: The Gregory Heights Middle School International Dance Ensemble

Magazine article Multicultural Education

European Dances in the American Northwest: The Gregory Heights Middle School International Dance Ensemble

Article excerpt

The Gregory Heights Middle School International Dance Ensemble is composed of students from the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at Gregory Heights Middle School in the Portland, Oregon, Public Schools. The students meet both during regular classes and in weekly extended sessions to practice and dance a rich repertoire of international dances, including those from Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Israel, Russia, Poland, and Italy.

The ensemble began last year at the initiative ofboth the school's principal, Ron Hanlon, and the Ensemble's director, Rodica Bordeianu, who has been for many years the solo dancer with the internationally reknown Moldovan National Dance Ensemble "Joc." Besides having a vast experience as a professional premiere dancer and choreographer, Bordeianu is also an exceptional teacher.

The purpose of the Ensemble has been to open the interest of American and immigrant students to the art of international dance. The ensemble includes students from all racial backgrounds, resulting in an ethnic diversity which creates a perfect mosaic of the rich fabric of American society. The students come originally from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as the United States; those born in the United States include Caucasians, Asian Americans, and African Americans.

Even though the Ensemble has not yet completed its first year of existence, its members have already put on a series of very popular performances at their pwn school, at the Portland Public Schools Fair, and at Portland State University. The Ensemble has received acclamations, applause, and praise from enthusiastic audiences at all of the performances. Observers have also been impressed by the group's high professionalism, cultural sensitivity, and authentic artistry in representing the dances and the cultures of origin represented in the dance repertoire. …

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