Students promote healthy lifestyleWORTHINGTON — Incorporating exercise into our daily routine can be a daunting task for anyone.
WORTHINGTON — Incorporating exercise into our daily routine can be a daunting task for anyone.
The winter season doesn’t help our efforts any. Lethargy is unavoidable during these dark, cold months, but students at Worthington Middle School attempted to get up, get moving and get fit while participating in a week-long residency with the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (EDE) this week.
EDE, a premier dance company based in Michigan, presented “Healthy Kids” to sixth-graders at WMS and students in grades four through six at St. Mary’s.
Each day they discussed a different healthy concept. Topics included the food pyramid, learning how to read and understand nutritional labels and conceptualizing serving sizes.
Taking a more hands-on approach, EDE caters to various learning styles by emphasizing auditory and visual learning in their activities.
“We don’t spend very much time talking about it,” said Mary Bischnoff, Director of the EDE Center for Dance where she is in her ninth season as an instructor. “Our main focus is to get them moving.”
Bischnoff is one of six dancers participating in the Worthington residency. A well-traveled, critically acclaimed group, EDE travels to schools throughout the U.S. bringing various arts education programs through creative movement.
Although their residency will end after today, Bischoff hopes students will continue to practice the concepts they learned this week.
“Ultimately we want them to understand that it’s important that they treat their body like a machine,” she explained. “They need to fuel in a healthy way. It can be fun to be healthy, and we want them to understand some of the basics about healthy eating.”
The ensemble hopes this week has helped students gain a better understanding of healthy living, as well the different realms of dance.
“We really want students to have a new idea of what dance can be,” Bischnoff added. “It’s not always just ballet, tap, jazz and modern. Dance is about using your ideas to create anything.”
Their creativity was also shared with students at the Kay Williams Prunty Dance Academy this week.
Teaching a routine choreographed by EDE owner, Laurie Eisenhower, the ensemble presented students with new techniques and shared their diverse experiences as dancers and instructors.
“Working with dancers of this caliber is just remarkable,” said Kay Williams Prunty, owner of Kay Williams Dance Academy. “They represent the world of dance so well. They’re one of the top modern dance companies in the whole Midwest, so it’s great that one day our dancers can look back and remember they danced with such an amazing group.”
Prunty believes EDE’s influence on her dancers will extend far beyond this week, and she has seen an immediate impact within her class throughout the week.
“This has been a life-altering experience for many of my dancers,” Prunty said. “My dancers have really connected with this group, and they (EDE) have been so gracious. The dancers teach at the university level, and they’ve been talking to the kids about pursuing dance in college and the various scholarships that are available. They truly are making the kids think and look forward to their futures.”
Prunty considers dance to be an activity that transcends cultures, which has made having this residency such a benefit to Worthington’s diverse community. She credits this unique opportunity to the efforts of the Friends of the Auditorium.
“I just want to thank Margaret and the Friends of the Auditorium for bringing these types of dance groups to Worthington,” Prunty said. “It’s so great for a small rural community to see art at this level of this performance.”
The EDE residency was sponsored by the Friends of the Auditorium, as well as the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation, Inc. and a grant provided by the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council.
“We want students to come to the realization that the arts are part of their everyday life” said Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh, Memorial Auditorium manager. “The goal of the Friends of the Auditorium is to help people, whether they are of school age or adults, realize that the arts can be incorporated into everyday activities.”
The Memorial Auditorium will feature the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble at 7:30 p.m., April 28. Dancers from the Kay Williams Prunty Dance Academy will also perform their routine choreographed by EDE.
“I hope a lot of the kids will come to the performance,” Bischnoff said. “I think they will be really excited to see us. We will have a relationship with them this week, so we’re all really looking forward to the performance.”