Last spring, Beyond the Books awarded Cedar Ridge Elementary a grant for a large cross-curricular program revolving around The Nutcracker. The money will be used for busing all students in grades 1 through 5 to attend the Twin Cities Ballet Company production of the Nutcracker on December 6th. In P.E., Amanda Zehr and Jeff Wolter are teaching a unit on dance, with the assistance of the LBS1 teacher, Marielena Gozur. In music, Michelle Hardwick will teach a unit on the Nutcracker Suite. In the library, IMC Specialist Patricia Ziebart will be reading and helping students to compare two versions of the Nutcracker story.
The grant included funding for a substitute for one day to allow Marielena Gozur to teach a few ballet basics to all 1st through 5th grade students in P.E. In addition to teaching at Cedar Ridge, Marielena is a dancer, and she teaches dance at the McLean County Dance Association on Saturdays.
On Monday, October 28, Tricia Weidman and several members of the Twin Cities Ballet Company visited and were decked out in full costume. They introduced students to the Nutcracker storyline and characters. Students then had the opportunity to try several basic ballet steps after viewing each character’s dance.
Special thanks go to Julie Weidmann of the Twin Cities Ballet Company for helping to arrange the event and for arranging the purchase of the tickets for the Nutcracker Ballet. Thanks also go to Greg Merriman, Instructional Assistant Professor at Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Classical Ballet. Loyd Kirby of Illinois Central College also provided advice and support through the process.
According to Lyndra Webb, first-grade teacher and grant recipient, “The students and staff are very thankful to Beyond the Books for allowing them this exciting opportunity!”