Pace Dance Makes a Comeback
Two years ago, Pace Academy made the executive decision to cancel the dance program for the Middle and Upper School. Students who were engaged in the program were up in arms, as were members of the Pace Academy Arts Alliance. Parents in the Arts Alliance strove to keep the program alive in 2013, but the higher powers struck down those requests.
For the next two years, previous Pace dancers joined other available extracurricular classes. But, there was still a desire to bring back this performance art at Pace. “I think it is crazy for the students not to have a dance class,” said Pace alumna Symone Sommerville. “I danced all throughout high school, and it was such a good way for students in different grades to bond.” With the previous dance program at Pace, students across the grade levels had the opportunity to become friends, spending time together both in class and out.
Almost three years later in 2016, four Upper School students were nominated for Arts Laureate by their peers for dance. These nominations demonstrated that students are being deprived of their passion and art at Pace. “Pace is supposed to be a school of the arts,” said an Arts Alliance representative who wished to remain anonymous. “This includes both visual and performing arts, which should not exclude dance.”
“As a faculty, we have been talking about what to do for these students,” said Headmaster Fred Assaf. “We come to the decision that Pace is going to bring back the dance program in the Upper School.” Mr. Assaf’s announcement carried extremely exciting news for the Arts Alliance and dancers in the Pace community. “Words can’t describe how unbelievably happy I am for these students,” said Ms. Bonni Bigler, former cheer coach and dance teacher. “These students need something like this in a place where they spend most of their waking hours five days a week.”
The Middle School is buzzing with excited students who cannot wait to join the program as they rise into the Upper School. Parents of students have celebrated and applauded the faculty for finally making this decision. Over the summer of 2016, Pace faculty and administrators will be interviewing possible candidates to teach the class. Head of Upper School Michael Gannon expects to have an official choreographer in place and ready to teach by August.