Arts in Ed kick-off with music, dance

a bearded singer uses microphone in front of a blue screen and points upwards as he emphasizes a point for students in the audience


Rows of high school students join two professional dancers on their school stage just before learning a danceThe Arts in Education kick-off for this year’s One Book, One Community initiative, a year-long look at the Katherine Applegate book Wishtree and its themes, was more like a blast off! Special guests rocked the gym and the MPR at the same time as students in all grades dipped their toes into music and dance.

Recording artist Jared Campbell returned to O V with a full band sound and a big hearted performance for our youngest Vikings. Beginning with the “Rock Star Way,” students jumped into singing, clapping, laughing, and listening to Jared’s big ideas about compassion, inclusion, being a superhero, and more.

In the MPR, students viewed an interactive program presented by the Reaction Dance Company, professional dancers from New York City who did more than perform. Juliette and Kayla taught Vikings about how music and dance collide and adapt as music, culture, and new ideas move across the world in a way that you can see on dance floors and stages. They featured contemporary dance styles that emerged from Jamaica, South Korea, and India, and students heard about connections across the globe that inspired new moves and new sounds. The invitation went out to students to come on stage and learn some dance routines that they might still be practicing at home!

Keep celebrating compassion and curiosity, Vikings, and get ready for Wishtree!

See more photos of all performances in an album posted to the district Facebook page, here.


Jared Campbell is an award winning singer-songwriter from upstate New York who has recorded 4 studio and 3 live albums, and played for thousands. His music was featured on MTV and he’s shared the stage with Jason Mraz, Gavin Degraw, Journey, and others, but he now focuses on work in schools and business so he can stay close to his young family. You can learn more about Jared here, and visit his YouTube channel here.

Reaction Dance Company NYC is based in Queens, and they travel everywhere to celebrate dance as a tool for education, inspiration, and joy. The company’s staff/choreographers and dancers come from all over the world, and they delight in dance fusion that shows how dance style boundaries shift and flow across time and places of origin. “Stay curious and find common ground. That would be epic!” – Juliette Nieves-Becker

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