– A performance called ‘Dial-up the 90s’ at Charlton Heights Elementary School taught students about 90s culture and technology through dance and VR technology.
– The program encouraged students to explore the historical context of the 90s and fostered a deeper understanding of the intersection of art and technology.
On the fateful day of November 20, 2023, Charlton Heights Elementary School traded in multiplication tables for moon-walking, and the result was something to behold. Saratoga Performing Arts Center arts educator Frankie Soldevere took the lead, navigating the school’s fourth graders on a journey back to the 90s with their ‘Dial-up the 90s’ performance. The aim wasn’t just to teach the kids the Macarena; it was to blend the past with the present in an educational soup that would make even Steve Jobs raise an eyebrow.
Holding the reins of this nostalgic ride was the art of dance. Soldevere, a maestro of movement, created a program that taught the students various dance moves alongside the cultural significance of 90s music, fashion, and pop culture. This fusion of technology and the arts saw students shuffling between dance styles with the ease of a CD switching tracks.
The twirling, the footwork, it was all very impressive. But what really stole the show was the cutting-edge VR technology strapped to the faces of these tiny dancers. Imagine being fully immersed in a world where you can have a chat with a virtual Kurt Cobain or challenge Michael Jackson to a dance-off in the comfort of your own school. It was more than just a trip down memory lane; it was about giving students the tools to interact with the past, to understand the evolution of technology and its impact on society.
But Soldevere didn’t stop there. No, she brought the 90s to life, decking out the school’s auditorium with boomboxes, cassette tapes, and Polaroid cameras. In an era where kids are more accustomed to touch screens than tangible artifacts, this was a masterstroke, sparking off discussions about our technological journey from Walkmans to Wi-Fi.
‘Dial-up the 90s’ wasn’t a one-trick pony. It was an artistic rodeo show that encouraged students to express themselves through dance and choreography, encouraging teamwork and sparking a sense of confidence in these future leaders. This holistic approach spoke volumes about SPAC’s dedication to creating a multifaceted learning environment that goes beyond the usual textbook drill.
The impact of this performance wasn’t confined to the stage; it echoed through the school’s curriculum. Kids were encouraged to explore the historical context of the 90s, tying together threads of technology, fashion, and music. This cross-pollination of subjects helped foster a deeper understanding of the world, showing these young minds that the road to innovation is often paved with the cobblestones of the past.
As the final notes of the performance echoed through the auditorium, a sense of achievement filled the room. The students had not just mastered dance moves, they had understood the harmony between art and technology. The performance was an irrefutable success, with ‘Dial-up the 90s’ standing tall as an example of how the intersection of creativity and technology can shape young minds.
In a world that runs on innovation, SPAC’s Arts in Education program has truly carved its niche. Using the past as a stepping stone, they have managed to create a learning environment that primes young minds for the future. A future that would make Steve Jobs proud.