By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
There were plenty of smiling faces to go around on Thursday evening as a crowd of parents and family members enjoyed an evening of dance and entertainment at Ute Perkins Elementary School. More than 200 people gathered in great anticipation on the playground of the school at 6:30 that evening as the annual Spring Dance Festival commenced.
The Perkins student body was seated in class groups around the performing space and facing the large audience. There was excitement and anticipation on their faces as the time approached to perform their long-prepared dances for an enthusiastic audience.
“This represents so much work and effort from the kids,” said Perkins Principal Holly Lee. “It is so wonderful to see their accomplishments and see the smiles on their faces to be able to perform for everyone here. And it is so good to see all the support from the community that is here in the audience tonight. It is worth all the efforts.”
The evening began with a special presentation. Darin Leach, Store Manager of Lin’s Marketplace in Overton, presented the school with a check for nearly $7,000 from its School Cents program.
After that, the dance program was off and running.
The Patriot Rockers took the stage and performed a high energy and colorful dance to get the evening started.
Next the Early Childhood students charmed the audience with a spirited performance of ‘Dinosaur Stomp.’
The Kindergarten class then performed a foot-stompin’ barn dance performance of Alabama Girls.
With colorful hair and makeup to match, all a reference to the kids’ movie “Trolls”, the first grade class performed a dance to Can’t Stop The Feeling from that movie.
The fourth graders brought out their dance poles to tap rhythmically on the ground in the traditional favorite, the Tinikling dance.
The second graders danced a spirited Cha-Cha and the third graders showed their strength and fitness in a dance entitled Break Free.
The program ended with the traditional braiding of the May Pole done by the outgoing 5th grade class. The fifth graders effortlessly braided, and then unbraided, the Maypole by themselves to start the segment. Then they were allowed to invite a special guest to help them do it a second time.
The kids quickly canvassed through the audience looking for their moms, dad, brothers, grandparents; whomever they chose to be their special guest. Then the action continued around the Maypole.
It didn’t look quite as effortless with the complexities of all the added guests. But the teams quickly got the job done amid plenty of laughter and fun.
New to this year’s festival was the story-telling skills of two Perkins students. Sierra Wolfley and Beverly Potts have been preparing to participate in the CCSD Bristlecone Storytelling Festival this year. In this program, students are taught the basics of storytelling, including the skill of selecting appropriate stories suitable for sharing aloud, and then presenting them in an entertaining way for a varied audience.
Potts told a story about a girl who had such a strong love of wearing numerous bracelets that it eventually got the better of her. Soon she was covered from head to toe with bracelets.
Wolfley told a folktale explaining why the Rooster crows before sunrise each morning.
Both stories were well told with enthusiasm and excitement that urged the audience to be engaged and entertained.