With a flick of a scarf and a do-si-do, hundreds of elementary and middle school students took the stage on Feb. 16 for Vancouver Public Schools’ 19th annual Dance Festival.
Hosted by Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, the festival included performances by classes from Roosevelt, Sacajawea, Walnut Grove, Harney, Ogden, Truman, Hazel Dell, Marshall, Salmon Creek, Felida, Anderson and Chinook elementary schools; Fruit Valley Community Learning Center; and McLoughlin and Thomas Jefferson middle schools.
This year’s festival was coordinated by Sheyla Mattos, a dance teacher at Felida and Sacajawea. She and other dance teachers from around the district selected a variety of styles and songs to represent different schools.
While every elementary and middle school in the district offers dance classes, the experience of appearing before a large crowd “was a little bit scary at first,” said Damian, a performer. “But then you know that you’re comfortable and you just go with the flow.”
Some students found a unique opportunity for expression at the festival. Said Allie Snead, a third grader at Felida Elementary, “You can speak your mind in dancing. There really is no limit.”