At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 270 scholars from Success Academy elementary, middle, and high schools will join together on the SA Union Square stage for the first ever Success Academy Performing Arts Showcase.
Dance, music, and theater teachers have been working diligently with scholars in grades 1 through 9 from SA Bronx 2, Harlem 1, Harlem 3, Harlem 4, Harlem 5, Harlem Central, Harlem East, Harlem North Central, Harlem North West, Harlem West, Williamsburg, and the High School of Liberal Arts to prepare for this celebration highlighting the outstanding talents and artistic abilities of the children in our schools.
The scholars – selected by their schools as the best dancers, vocalists, and actors in the network – will present acts ranging from African drumming and hip hop dance to a full-cast multi-school student choir singing Motown, pop, and show tunes. Special guest artist King Salim Ajanku, co-founder of Creative Strategies for Change, has contributed his talents to creating the showcase’s opening and finale, featuring all performers.
Below, scholar and dancer Lala Diallo discusses her love of dance, the impact it has had on her school experience and the excitement of preparing for and dancing in the Performing Arts Showcase.
Tell me about yourself and why you like dance so much.
My name is Lala Diallo, and I am 12 years old and attend Harlem Success Academy East. I like dance because it allows me to express myself through movement and facial expressions. Dance makes me feel proud and shows me I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
What is your motivation? Who has inspired you?
My motivation is my future. I would like to be a professional dancer and choreographer. I am continually motivated by my dance teacher, Ms. Gosselin, as well as by my best friends who are also interested in being dancers. I also love watching dance videos as a source of motivation. In addition, dance companies such as Alvin Ailey with their beautiful movements and dynamic choreography have inspired me to continue my dance training.
Do you want to dance professionally? Do you feel encouraged to do that at SA? If so, who encourages you? What opportunities have you had here to learn more about dance?
I would like to dance professionally and become famous one day like Alvin Ailey or Martha Graham. I feel encouraged because of the dance friends I have made in class and performance opportunities I am given in school. My dance teacher, Ms. Gosselin, really encourages me, as does my principal, Mr. Noah, who let me and a few of my friends create a dance crew. Our crew meets every day at lunch. We choreograph dances and are interested in developing our group through social media including a dance website. We are all dedicated to furthering our dance careers, and this is a step in the right direction.
Are you excited about the Performing Arts Showcase? What do you expect to get out of it?
I am very excited about the Performing Arts Showcase. I expect that it will be a great experience for everyone involved. I am ecstatic because this is my first time performing in front of 1,000 audience members and alongside other schools.
How does dance affect your school day?
Dance affects my school day by making me happy to go to school. Sometimes, I have a bad morning, but when I go to dance elective it changes my whole outlook toward school. The chance to dance literally makes my day!