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Sallie B. Howard School dance festival tonight

Sallie B. Howard School is holding its annual dance festival tonight at 6 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.

The festival is in its 10th year. This year, students, parents and community members will have the chance to see students from East Carolina University’s Dance Department perform some jazz and contemporary pieces.

The festival is also a chance for Sallie B. Howard’s staff to highlight the work its students in Grades 4-8 majoring in dance are doing.

Those attending the festival will see a variety of dance performances ranging from jazz and ballet to contemporary and hip-hop. The school’s mime team will also perform.

Younger students in kindergarten to third grade participating in the school’s ballet classes offered after school will also perform during the festival.

Alepha Foster, dance instructor at Sallie B. Howard, encourages those with tickets to arrive early so they can secure good seating. She also encourages people who do not have tickets but who are interested in attending the festival to call the school today and check on ticket availability.

Foster and fellow dance teacher, Michelle Hickey, have about 40 dance majors they are working with this year at Sallie B. Howard.

Foster pointed out how the festival has greatly evolved over the past 10 years in terms of the students and their increased abilities. Younger students have older students they can look up to and learn from in class. Foster also thinks the performance level and performance quality have improved over the years.

Hickey added that the school’s dance majors now go to dance competitions and compete against other students, which she thinks encourages the dancers to reach for the next level.

Foster and Hickey are both graduates of East Carolina’s dance program so both are pleased about being able to showcase East Carolina’s program to their own students.

Hickey said the students will get to experience what a college program looks like and see the caliber of the dancers. It also gives the younger students a chance to learn from other instructors.

A dance professor from East Carolina will be holding a master dance class with Sallie B. Howard students as part of the visit.

Foster explained that they chose to invite East Carolina’s dancers to the festival because they want to show students the high-caliber talent that is close to home.

Overall, the teachers hope that students, even if they’re not dance majors, are inspired each year by the guest dancers that are invited to the festival.

On Friday at 10 a.m. there will be an encore presentation of the festival at 10 a.m. School leaders have invited children from area day care centers and nursing homes to attend. Remaining seats will be filled by students from Sallie B. Howard. Students unable to get into the auditorium will be able to watch the performance Friday morning on monitors in their classrooms.

Tickets for the festival are $3 each for adults and $1 each for students. Call 293-4150 for more information. | 265-7822
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