Artist in Residence Visits Penn Brook

Thanks to music teacher Brian Fanning, the students at Penn Brook were treated to a day of contra dancing . In his previous school, Mr. Fanning met a husband and wife musical team  Allison and Hunt Smith and was so impressed that he brought them to Penn Brook. I had the pleasure to visit for a couple of classes and have to say it brought back fond memories of my childhood, As I was growing up I had my father as my physical education teacher for many years. Every year, we learned different cultural dances and I particularly liked contra and square dancing which is a lost art in today’s schools. It was fun to see the students learning to move alike do si do and dance together  to the music of the fiddle and the keyboard  played by the Smiths. There was definitely a sense of fun and engagement in the air and it is no small task to make this happen with 120 students at a time. One of the other unique and special things about this activity was that along with the dances themselves, Mrs. Smith told the children the history behind the dances and a favorite story she told was about was how George Washington was  known as one of the best dancers of his time. It was a nice enrichment activity that gave students the chance to learn and experience a new way of dancing that was more common in years gone by. Thank you Mr. Fanning for offering this to your students and to all of the other adults who helped to make this event so special.