Second-graders Do-si-do at Barn Dance 

Published 11:36 am Friday, December 18, 2015

Students in second grade at Valley Elementary square dance at the school’s annual Barn Dance Dec. 18. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

Students in second grade at Valley Elementary square dance at the school’s annual Barn Dance Dec. 18. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— Clad in cowboy hats and boots, the second-graders arrived at Valley Elementary School Dec. 17 ready to square dance and Do-si-do.

The Barn Dance at VES has been a tradition of 12 years as the culmination of the school’s dance unit, which begins in December. Physical education teachers Ginger Aaron-Brush and Brian Hundley lead the unit and coordinate the dance.

“It’s a big activity for them, and it’s so much fun,” Aaron-Brush said. “We’ll have older siblings who will come back to this event. They will remember the dances, and they will jump in and dance. It’s a fun family night.”

Aaron-Brush explained that dance is part of the course of study standards in Pelham, so teaching different dance styles helps them stay on target and reach those standards.

They teach the kindergarten and first grade students aerobic and folk dances, and they introduce square dancing to the second-graders as a dance that began in the United States.

“There’s a lot of history behind that and there’s a lot of terminology that our students learn,” Aaron-Brush said. “We explain to them how square dancing is a lot about listening, working together and things like that. You would think second-graders wouldn’t enjoy square dancing, but they do. They love it.”

Because Valley Elementary is just a kindergarten through second grade school, Aaron-Brush said they do the Barn Dance as a way to highlight the “seniors” of the school.

“This is one of the things they hear about as kindergarteners and first-graders or their siblings have done it, so they really look forward to it,” she said. “In fact, at the beginning of the year one of the things that they will ask us is, ‘Are we going to do the Barn Dance?’”

Aaron-Brush said the students have been excited to show their families the moves they have learned in class. The evening began with the students being partnered up and put into sets of eight students.

The students presented three dances for their families, and then the family members were invited out to dance as well.

“It will just be a great night of dancing,” Aaron-Brush said before the dancing began. “We’ll do square dances and then we’ll end with some aerobic dances. They absolutely love it.”