At San Jose Elementary, Students Experience a Variety of Art Forms

Article excerpt


The woman in the flamenco costume arced her hands and stamped her feet, the nails on the bottom of her black-buckled shoes tapping out a staccato rhythm in a classroom at San Jose Elementary School.

"Who likes the flamenco?" dancer Kimberly Morlesin asked the students. "You can take out your emotions. It's pretty and it's fun."

In the media center, a harpist played Greensleeves and other songs. In the auditorium, the St. Johns River City Jazz Band performed while on the school grounds, a student demonstrated karate and a saxophonist blew sweet notes.

Welcome to the recent Art Day at the St. Augustine Road school. Music teacher Debbie Liles said research shows children are more successful if arts are part of the curriculum. Liles said she's grateful to Principal Deborah Cobbin for letting San Jose devote a day to celebrating its forms.

During the festivities, students made triangular-shaped fish for an ocean mural, indulged in face-painting, did Japanese artwork and painted a picture.

Art teacher Audrey Campbell put together an Asian art display in the media center with items loaned by the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

For second-graders Genae Davis, Lavoria Merritt and other students, it was an exciting, fun-packed day. They watched enthralled as Morlesin did a spirited flamenco and taught them to play the castanets. They asked questions ranging from why she tapped with her feet to where she got her dress, which was made by her mother-in-law.

Morlesin, who has a child at San Jose, said she started taking ballet and flamenco in high school and now teaches dance. She's not from Spain but her father-in-law is.

At another station, the Rev. William Reister played the harp, which he said is the oldest instrument in history. …