Grant funds two-week project led by Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater Company

Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater Company member Blake Nellis leads Garden City Elementary School students in an activity to prepare for their performance Friday, May 3. (Sun staff photo by Katy Zillmer)

Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater Company member Blake Nellis leads Garden City Elementary School students in an activity to prepare for their performance Friday, May 3. (Sun staff photo by Katy Zillmer)

Garden City Elementary School fourth- and fifth-grade students have spent the last two weeks learning through art and expression.

Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater in Minneapolis applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to work with the students on a project involving dancing, acting and singing. The program ends with a performance of the students’ work at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the school, 3501 65th Ave. N. in Brooklyn Center.

Staff from the dance and theater company selected the theme of the project this year to be family albums. They hosted a program at Garden City Elementary in 2012 as well.

Suzanne Costello, artistic codirector, and company members Brian Evans, Blake Nellis and Kari Mosel recently worked with students in four classes to discuss subjects such as family history, memories, music, and language.

Costello said they then developed the students’ stories by adding dance and song and combined the results from the four classrooms into one performance open to the school and community.

“It really helps their creativity and encourages them to find their own way of doing things,” Costello said.

Garden City Elementary Principal Todd Tischer said students involved with the program in 2012 looked forward to it this year.

Students at Garden City Elementary prepare for their May 3 performance. (Sun staff photo by Katy Zillmer)

Students at Garden City Elementary prepare for their May 3 performance. (Sun staff photo by Katy Zillmer)

“They’ve been excited to move beyond what they learned last year,” Tischer said.

The activities help some students come out of their shell in the classroom environment, he said.

“It’s hard not to be engaged when they’re moving around,” he said. “The energy of the artists is contagious.”

Tischer said he hopes there could be a long term partnership between Garden City and the dance and theater company. The company members, he said, have provided an example for students on how to accomplish their goals.

“It’s seeing the big picture of possibilities for their future and that it takes dedication and discipline,” Tischer said.

Contact Katy Zillmer at katy.zillmer@ecm-inc.com

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