Shall we dance, South Pasadena? If you’ve got a youngster somewhere in the age range of kindergarten through 2nd grade, Claire Kucera has created an interactive scavenger hunt through town that is both educational and fun. And, may I add, quite informative, especially if you are new to South Pasadena. Although I personally learned a new South Pas fact on the hunt even after living here over 27 years! Parents and teachers can jump on the Discover Dance – South Pasadena site to sign in and start the hunt, which you can do remotely or in person. Everything is close together and walkable so of course doing it “live” is more fun and great to get that exercise and Vitamin D!
Kucera is a 4th year dance/education double major at UC Irvine and recently received a grant to create something that combined her love of dance with education. Kucera was longing to work on a dance project having spent the past 18 months locked down like the rest of us, dancing and taking classes remotely. When she called her fellow SPHS dance alums to see if they wanted to join her, they jumped at the chance to create something together in person.
“I had a vision of dancing in different parts of South Pasadena because I think they’re so beautiful and this project was a way to bridge both dance and education,” Kucera explains. “I read that only 2% of students in California public education are receiving access to dance classes. For me, that’s heartbreaking. This is a way to engage students in dance who may not know anything about it and present it in a fun way.”
The Discover Dance Scavenger Hunt begins with clues that lead you to five locations in South Pasadena. Once arrived at the location, the participants then watch a dance video recorded at that location and learn some fun facts about it and are asked questions or asked to move in some way that has to do with what they’ve just watched. “They may be asked to move their arms or engage rhythmically,” says Kucera, “very easy, fun things.”
At the end of the hunt there is a very short survey for parents or teachers that will help Kucera with her research. “The survey will help me assess what was effective in this dance integration lesson” she explains and says she will eventually present her findings at a symposium.
Kucera tells us “teaching dance is like performing for me. It gives me that adrenaline you get when you perform. There’s a bit of improv that you do when you teach; like the students are your audience and you have to know how to please them and there are always moments when something’s not going right and you have to change it on the spot.” She was exposed to dance at a very early age, fell in love with it and kept it up through high school and of course now in college. “I love to share my love for dance when I teach and I get to do what I love while sharing it with as many people as possible,” she explains, “that’s my hope with a project like this is that kids may find that they love dance. But even if they don’t, they’re getting exposed to it and hopefully will have more appreciation for the art form.”
Kucera laments that dance is currently dying, especially here in Los Angeles, where dance companies struggle, which isn’t surprising given that only 2% of students are getting any kind of dance education. “People can’t appreciate dance if they’re never exposed to it,” she says, “so hopefully this kind of exposure can help with that.” And don’t forget the education piece. Kucera’s videos were created with the K-2 curriculum in mind that has to do with social studies, your community, jobs and transportation. So, if you’re a lover of our community and want to learn more about it while getting some movement in, grab your kicks and head on out on the Discover Dance South Pasadena Scavenger Hunt!
Visit cmkucera.wixsite.com/discover-dance to start the hunt or scan the QR code here or on the Discover Dance flyers you’ll find around town. The hunt takes approximately 30-40 minutes to complete.