Quest Elementary will host inaugural Family Folk Dance Night


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Quest Elementary School students Riley Ondo, left, and Natalia Roman demonstrate what they'll be doing on the school's first Family Folk Dance Night later this month. The event is for Quest students, their parents and friends and family of Quest.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Quest Elementary School fifth grader Natalia Roman can’t wait to show her parents a few dance moves at the school’s first ever Family Folk Dance Night.

That goes for her younger brother, too.

“My brother, he loves music so he’ll be happy to learn this, too,” Roman said. “My brother is 4. He’s in Pre-K. I’ll be going home and I’ll be showing him.”

The event, which is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6 in the school cafeteria, has been put together by school music teachers Kimberly Haggard and Laurie Foote.

Haggard, who has been teaching for 12 years but is in her first year at Quest, said she used to do similar events at her previous school — Fairglen Elementary in Cocoa — and that “it was really successful.”

“Folk dancing is a big part of the music curriculum,” Haggard said. “Laurie and I are both (Zoltán) Kodály-inspired teachers. He’s a Hungarian composer who did a lot of work and research in music pedagogy.

“Some of his thoughts on the subject were that you should teach the music of the people to the people and that you should help share folk music and folk dances to help students learn more about who they are, how they relate to the world around them and how they can interact with each other in respectful ways.

“We do lots of play parties and singing games. Folk dances and using music from other cultures are a great way to introduce that, especially at this school. There’s a lot of diversity.”

The hour-long event is expected to feature at least six songs. Because it’s being held early in the school year, students will not have had a lot of time to practice all of the dances, but there should be a couple of songs where they will have a chance to show their parents what to do.

“I’m excited,” sixth grader Riley Ondo said. “It seems like a new opportunity to have a chance to do something different.

“When they were giving the presentations and stuff, we saw some pictures and a short video. It looked pretty cool from what I was seeing.”

Haggard said she has created visuals so that even the most challenged dancers should have an easy time picking up the steps.

“We’re just looking forward to bringing the community and the kids all together, interacting with music,” Foote said.