BALLSTON SPA — Students from Malta Avenue Elementary School had the opportunity to participate in a SPAC Dance Residency program again this year. For the first time, the students performed “Sensational Soul,” which featured music by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and many others. The students also performed a choral arrangement of “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, and danced to “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher” recorded by Jackie Wilson.
As part of the program, the SPAC teaching artists also collaborated with the school’s music and art departments, allowing students to create drawings based on the soul music icons studied throughout the residency. Selected designs were incorporated into the students’ performance shirts and the Dance Recital official program.
In January, the students began working with dance professionals and former Broadway actors to learn dances during their Physical Education courses. The lessons were designed around teaching Broadway-style soul dance inspired by the music and choreography of the 1960s
Fifty-five 5th grade students from the school received instruction from SPAC’s Senior Director of Education, Dennis Moench, alongside Broadway star Alicia Albright, currently in the musical Frozen, and SPAC teaching artists Nathan Braim, Cristiane Santos, and J. Michael Zygo. Brian Melick and Alan Thomson also provided live musical accompaniment for
The program ended on February 10, 2020 with an exuberant performance for students and parents at Malta Avenue Elementary School.