The Waco Elementary School line-dance team traveled to Glenn Marshall Elementary on Monday to strut their stuff.

However, dancing in front of their peers has more rewards than the students may realize, said Demetria Rogers, Waco’s family resource director.

“Of course the students get so excited when we travel anywhere to dance,” she said of the team of 30 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students. 

The students have a lot of fun showing the dances they have been practicing since early September. And while performing in front of any group can be nerve-wracking, performing in front of an entire audience of your peers can be even more emotional, Rogers said.

Regardless, after the students leave the stage, the confidence they gained from the experience is something that cannot be taught, she said. 

Seeing the Waco Elementary Students perform also is important for her Glenn Marshall students to see, said Kendra Arnold, the school’s physical education teacher.

“My students will be learning cultural and Appalachian dances at the end of April,” Arnold said. “For them to see kids their age successfully dancing with one another helps them see what it’s all about... It helps drive that dance culture even further into our own school.”

The line dancers stepped to a number of songs, including some traditional Appalachian pieces as well as some contemporary music. 

The Glenn Marshall students without being prompted clapped to the rhythm of “Cotton Eye Joe” throughout the dance’s entirety.

For her students to see their peers dancing with the opposite sex is also important, Glenn Marshall’s Arnold noted.

“When you start teaching partner dances, you realize the boys and girls are scared to death of each other,” she said. 

By watching the Waco Elementary line dancers shift smoothly between partners, the students watching realize it’s not such a big deal, Arnold said.

The Waco dancers will perform three traditional numbers during Irvine’s Mountain Mushroom Festival in late April.

Reach Machaela Ballard at mballard@richmondregister.com or at 624-6623.

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