For the past year, The Myrna Loy has partnered with Intermountain Children’s Home to provide hands-on arts experiences for Intermountain students. Visiting artists and local teaching artists led workshops for the group in music, dance, theatre and puppetry on the Myrna Loy stage.
Last week, I observed one of our resident teaching artists leading a dance workshop for a group of Intermountain students. One five year old girl was struggling to focus. She kept looking over at me, trying to catch my eye. Finally, I set down my notes and walked over to her. When I asked her why she wasn’t participating, she said, “Why aren’t you on stage with us?” I explained that I needed to take notes on the workshop so that we can keep improving our program. She nodded and said, “I want you to do that later. I want you to dance.” As soon as I climbed up onto the stage with her, the girl was eager to participate. She showed me her dance moves, and shared with me that some of them were Irish dance moves and some she’d learned for a pow wow. When the students were asked to share their choreography in front of the class, she was the first to volunteer. I’m always grateful when students remind me that the arts and education are both at their core, about human connection, and that connection requires being present. While I was focused on notating this child’s behavior and analyzing her hesitancy to participate, she was just looking for a dance partner!