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¡Olay! A Dazzling Dance Project

Photo+Credit%3A+Jose+Lamela
Photo Credit: Jose Lamela

Photo Credit: Jose Lamela

Photo Credit: Jose Lamela

Jacob Faierman and David Peng

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For the past few weeks, sophomores in all Honors Spanish classes have been preparing dance projects led by SHS Spanish teachers Jose Lamela and Francisco Ormazabal. The dances derive from Hispanic cultures and include salsa, flamenco, merengue, and bachata. In this project, every student has to gather a dance squad, practice the dance, and eventually, present the dance to their class and a panel of judges. These judges included teachers who wished to learn more about Spanish culture. “I think it’s very interesting that the Spanish classes are doing this project because it allows you to practice Spanish while having fun. It gives Spanish class another dimension; instead of just learning about the language, it also allows us to learn about the culture,” said Vladimir Asriev ’20.

This popular project was put on hold for several years but finally resumed this year. “For you to speak Spanish, you have to leave your comfort zone. So what’s more uncomfortable for teenagers than dancing in front of other teenagers? If you’re able to do that, speaking Spanish in front of classes is like, eh, no big deal,” said Lamela. He believes that there should be more school projects that revolve around a fun educational environment. A number of physical education teachers have already reached out to him, expressing interest in merging the Spanish dance project with their own PE dance unit.

In the end-of-the-year student survey in Lamela’s class, Lamela found that his students from previous years often chose this project to be the most memorable. “In the beginning, kids hate this project. But in the end, it turns into a fun project that’s different and out of the box,” noted Lamela.

Photo Credit: Jose Lamela

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¡Olay! A Dazzling Dance Project