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Last Thursday evening I was sitting in Spartan Stadium watching San Jose State play their first home football game – and waiting for 55 DAU Production Hip Hop dancers to perform at halftime on the large field.

San Jose State University Football Game

As I watched our dancers place themselves on the side of the field waiting for the San Jose State Band to finish their performance, it dawned on me that no DAU teacher or team mom was with them. I amazed at the poise, patience, and responsibility exhibited by these 7 – 18 year olds. I realized that they were confident of their dance skills and able to adjust to a MUCH larger “stage” than normal and a huge crowd of over 13,000 spectators – all on their own. At a command from the SJSU field manager, they walked into their starting positions. I noted that a group of Pop Warner football players were also playing a short 6 minute game at one end of the field, butting up to our dancers. The Pop Warner guys weren’t a worry as our dancers waited through 2 songs for their song to be played.

And then DAU began their “RiRi Style” routine. All dancers were “on it,” showing the technique and skills they had perfected all year. Oh……..there were so many proud parents, friends, and grandparents in the bleachers. But…after about 30 seconds, the music stopped!!! But not our dancers, they continued the routine, shouting out the beats and never missing a single step. After about a minute, the music came back on (the operator had punched the “pause” button), and the dancers quickly and almost unnoticeably got back into the correct position and flowed into the dance, all the way to the end. Such jubilation you say on their faces as they ran off the field. They received a HUGE cheer from the audience when they finished.

I felt a tear trickle down my cheek as I realized that these young people had just exhibited skills that are rare to find in such a group of children/teen-agers, and we often spend hours trying to teach them. “RiRi” Style dancers showed confidence, resiliency, teamwork, care for each other, professionalism and responsibility. Who would have thought that dance classes could do all of this?

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Loretta Carter
Retired Assistant Superintendent of Moreland School District

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