Dance teams across all three of Mount Vernon’s divisions have been practicing together since the beginning of the school year, and the members are thrilled to begin sharing their talents with the MV Community. At Mount Vernon, the dance team is a year-long commitment, with dancers meeting once a week after school for rehearsal. Many of the dance team members also study dance extensively outside of school. Each of the dance teams debuted their first public performances in December at Lower School Chapel and the Christmas Arts Showcases. In addition to the Christmas Arts Showcase, the dancers will have opportunities to perform for the Mount Vernon community at various times of the year and will also dance competitively at several dance competitions held locally in the spring.
Lower School: The Lower School team is led by Ms. Shay Jones, Mount Vernon’s Early Childhood Performing Arts Instructor, and the members, comprised of students in the third through fifth grades, include Claire Amos, Kaitlyn Cohen, Julianna Duguid, Isla Ehrlich, Scarlett Garlinghouse, Hadley Ryan Giardino, Ada Ibrahimbegovic, Elyn Middlebrooks, Ella Najarian, Lily Snyder, Addie Tabor, and Collins Zgutowicz
These wonderful dancers are learning all styles of dance with concentrations on jazz and ballet, and rehearse every Wednesday from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m., splitting their time between learning dance technique and choreography. Ms. Shay says that the Lower School team members have grown tremendously since August. She has seen them build their confidence as dancers, artists, and humans and bond and have fun as group during their weekly rehearsals. Ms. Shay’s goals for the team are “for each member to grow as a dancer in technique, skill, and experience. I want dance to be fun and a learning experience. As long as I can see that each dancer is trying, challenging herself and being a great representative of the team, that is all I can ask for.”
The Lower School dance team made its debut performance last month at Lower School Chapel on Wednesday, December 8th and at the Lower School Christmas Arts Showcases on Thursday, December 16th. Their performance brought the magic and beauty of the holiday season to life. Their competition schedule will be set later this month, with our youngest Mustang dance team members representing the school at local dance competitions throughout the spring.
Upper Campus: Mount Vernon’s Middle School and Upper School Dance Teams are led by Ms. Jasmine Roberts, the head of the Mount Vernon Dance Program. Jasmine brings years of experience to Mount Vernon having formal dance training from the Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She has danced professionally with the Dance Theatre of Harlem DTB Ensemble, Ballethnic Dance Company in Atlanta, Dance Canvas and The Atlanta Dance Connection. She has worked with Elliot Feld’s Ballet Tech, Alvin Ailey Arts In Education and at Atlanta Dance Canvas as a teacher and choreographer, as well as at various dance studios throughout the southeast.
Mount Vernon’s Middle School Dance Team has nine members on the 2021-2022 team, including Claire Brown, Brooklyn Bollier, Maya Chopra, Asiah Franklin, Caroline Kincaid, Charlotte McNerney, Lauren Reece, Audrey Parnell, Tara Patel, and Emily Thompson. The Middle School Dance Team is working on various dance genres from Jazz, Contemporary and Hip-Hop, and the members bring different levels of experience and genres to the team. During these last few months, they have really grown together with their enthusiastic energy and overall passion for dancing. They love performing! Their first performance was at the Christmas Arts Showcase where they did a jazz ensemble in Roaring Twenties attire. They are really looking forward to dancing during halftime at some of the upcoming Mustang JV & Varsity Basketball Games in January and early February.
Mount Vernon’s Upper School Dance Team has nine members including Adeline Beard, Maddy Clark, Lyndsey Franklin, Natalie Grosswald, Alexa Raines, Paige Reeve, Giselle Singh, Kezia Smith, Lily Stanford and Audrey Thompson. The Upper School Dance Team is learning a mix of dance styles, but primarily they dance Hip Hop. The members have diverse dance backgrounds with some at novice level and others who train extensively at outside dance studios.
From day one, Ms. Jasmine was impressed by the level of maturity and commitment from the Upper School Dance team. The girls enjoy creating and choreographing with one other, and Ms. Jasmine tries to include the team in every aspect of their performance, including music selection, costumes, themes and ideas. Ms. Jasmine has been focused on getting to know the team and creating a strong community in class to help build a learning environment that students not only respond to, but thrive in! She loves seeing how the girls support each other and are developing new friendships. The Upper School Dance Team will be performing at Varsity Basketball games in January and February and hopes to participate in several dance competitions later in the spring.
Both of the Upper Campus dance teams have had guest instructors teach them Master Classes. When dancers get exposure to different styles of dance and different choreographers, it helps them sharpen their skills. The choreographers enjoyed working with the girls and would love to come back and work with them again. Jasmine plans on having more guest Instructors and taking both Dance Teams on field trips to see live performances and attend/compete in local dance competitions.