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Dancing With Misty Copeland

February 16, 2022 | Kristen Jordan

Last week the classroom was filled with the joy of dancing!

The Rivers Class studied ballerina, Misty Copeland as part of our Black History Month work.  They thoroughly enjoyed it!  Misty Copeland is a ballet dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. She was the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history. There have been very few black dancers rise to prominent positions in the United States.

Misty did not begin dancing until she was 13 years old (very late for a dancer), and she quickly advanced. She was considered a ballet prodigy. Her family went through some difficult times, often struggling to make ends meet.  Her dance teacher recognized her talent and helped her to continue dancing.  Misty expresses incredible gratefulness to those who helped her get where she is and to those who came before her.  She hopes to be an inspiration to bring more diversity to the world of dance, both dancers and audiences.

The children loved learning about her, watching her dance, hearing stories she has written, and dancing themselves.  In addition to doing a LOT of dancing, the children heard and looked at books about her, and engaged in several other activities in the classroom that involved images of dancers.  They had opportunities to think about posing and moving their own bodies and creating these poses with small wooden figures. Then they created beautiful drawings and paintings to reflect moving dancers!

Misty Copeland talks about how much joy she feels when she is dancing.  I think the Rivers Children would agree!

Enjoy some moments from our week!

Kristen Jordan

Teacher, Rivers Class

Kristen Jordan began helping at Mustard Seed School in 2006, after her daughter had been a student in the preschool. She substituted for many years in all grades; in 2011, she returned to the classroom and has been a teacher in The Nest ever since.

Prior to the birth of her daughter Clara, in 2002, Ms. Jordan worked in Brooklyn as a first grade teacher with the New York City Public Schools. During this time, her school collaborated with the Brooklyn Museum, and this work helped Ms. Jordan develop a real interest in the parallels between the process of making art and the process of writing in the classroom. She thoroughly enjoys teaching both art and literacy to preschoolers.

Ms Jordan’s background includes work with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. While at Teachers College, she trained with esteemed educator and author Lucy Calkins. Early in her teaching career, Ms. Jordan did not think that she wanted to teach very young children but her view has changed! She now really enjoys and takes great interest in young children and their development.

Ms. Jordan enjoys reading, working out, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her daughter and family. Although she has lived on the East Coast for a very long time, as a native of Oregon, she really loves the mountains!

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