McKinley Middle Advanced Dancers Prepare for the Big Stage at Walt Disney World
- Jan 16, 08
Destiny LeDuff and her dance partner Thomas Daniels rehearse choreography for an upcoming performance.
Eighth grade advanced dancers at McKinley Middle Magnet School will take part in a performance at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida in March. Dance instructor Robbye Thomas is leading the group of talented movers and shakers. Thomas sought out the opportunity for the students to take part in the Disney Magic Music Days, after consulting with their parents. “I knew I had children in here that could dance at that caliber,” she said. The 30 plus years teaching veteran says she has been working with most of these students for three years and she is confident their extraordinary talent will open other doors for them. Jamal Wade is one of the experienced dancers. He attends dance classes outside of school and plans to attend Baton Rouge Magnet High School next year and take ballet. Wade says there is a misconception among young men about how challenging dance really is. “To me this is more challenging than football. It’s mentally challenging and physically challenging,” he explains. The rehearsals are tiring and filled with stunts such as double cart-wheels and lifts. Wade says trust plays a big role in the group’s success. “I think all of us have trust. We can work with each other and lift each other, do different stunts with each other. Because if we didn’t have that trust, then we would not be as good as we are and be as far as we are now.” The performance is scheduled March 21-22 at the Galaxy Place Theater, located in Tomorrowland inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Thomas says the choreography theme is Swing era and New Orleans Jazz. “We can bring some of our own state’s flair to Disney,” she says. Jo’Quisha Hilliard, also an experienced dancer, is confident the group will perform well. “Everyone is pretty focused and we know when to work,” she says. Hilliard also attends dance classes outside of school. She says her dance days began very early with ballet and church performances. Thomas says a group of talented art students will also attend the Disney World performance. They include a pianist, a tap dancer and actors.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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