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Davidsen Dancers Make Theatrical Debut

It began with an idea last year.

Take a Westchase middle school and give it a new opportunity and focus.

Thus, Davidsen Middle School became an attractor school for the arts, open to every middle schooler in Northwest Hillsborough who is interested in music, dance and art.

In December, Davidsen’s new experiment burst into creative reality.

Seventy-five seventh and eighth grade students from Davidsen Middle School Center for the Arts presented their Winter Dance Showcase on Friday, Dec. 1 at Alonso High School’s Theater. Dance Director Julie V. Mac choreographed three dances for the showcase. “The dances highlighted what the students have been learning this semester. While some had taken dance in the past, it was the first time for many of them. I’m so proud of how hard they have worked and what they have accomplished in this first semester. I can’t wait to see how we grow in the future.”

Late last year Davidsen’s dance program enthusiastically greeted the completion of its new dance studio, featuring mirrored walls, a padded floor and two dressing rooms.

Yet the dance department at Davidsen is so new that Mac had to borrow costumes from Orange Grove Middle Magnet School. She is hoping to start a booster club at Davidsen to help the group with needs like costumes and backdrops. “Costumes are very important for dancers because they help the girls get into performance mode and add a professional element to the show. The right costume can help the dancer express the message of the dance. I’m hoping we’ll be able to form a booster group to help us build a costume closet and get dance uniforms for those who can’t afford them.”

In addition to the dance performances, attendees were able to bid on baskets created by each class. Each student brought in an item to include in the themed baskets. 

Dance classes at Davidsen follow a state curriculum for academics. All students learn about the history and cultural importance of dance as well as vocabulary and will have to take end of semester exams. In addition to the academic side of dance, students have four days of dance class, including ballet barre, ballet center and modern or jazz. Fridays are reserved for trying out different types of dance, including hip hop, salsa and African. One of Mac’s class periods is reserved for students with special needs.

The students’ next performance will be held at the end of the spring semester on May 7 at Alonso High School’s Theater.

This is the first year of the dance program. Davidsen was named an arts attractor school at the beginning of the school year. In addition to the new dance program, the school also added an addition art instructor. “Attractor programs such as the Davidsen Middle School Center for the Arts provide additional specialized options for students,” said Hillsborough County Schools Marketing Support Advisor Joe Humphrey.

Humphrey added, “The Davidsen Middle School Center for the Arts offers students a vast canvas for expression in visual, performing and practical arts. Students can study art, play in the band or orchestra, sing with the chorus, cook in culinary arts or build dance training into their daily schedule. Davidsen, located in the heart of Westchase, also offers a challenging curriculum including a variety of high school-credit classes.”

By Marcy Sanford; Cover Photo by James Broome Photography

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