School District 23 dances in harmony tim van Brummelen, Education week feature: March 2013
J.K. Rowling penned these words, "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." On February 6, 2013, School District 23 came together united to celebrate our culturally diverse community on Harmony Day 2013.
In assemblies and classrooms all across the Central Okanagan, we stood against racial discrimination and explored each other's unique stories. We stood against bullying and judgment and spoke for understanding, mutual affirmation and acceptance of people from all streams of life. We stood as ONE!
And …. we DANCED! Students, staff, teachers, administration and trustees busted out their best dance moves to demonstrate their unity and celebrate cultural diversity. The excitement was captured at each school on video and edited into a singular joy-filled expression of harmony.
Energetic middle school students twirled and turned in choreographed unity. Bundled up elementary students swayed their arms as snow fell gently from the sky. Secondary ballet students glided across their school's dance floor. And even our Superintendent and Senior Administration line danced in, well, almost perfect choreographed style in front of the School Board Office!
When the idea of a school community dance video was presented at a district Harmony Day Committee meeting, there was a sense that the video would perfectly convey the message we needed. We knew the vision had to become reality. Social Justice Representatives caught the excitement for the idea and went to work, developing dance moves and capturing the choreography on iPhones and video cameras.
Garry Schyman's South Asian influenced melody flows over Western dance rhythms and instruments, creating the perfect stage for a dance video celebrating cultural diversity. Schyman, an award winning composer, graciously released the song, "Praan" ("Stream of Life") royalty-free, as he caught the vision for the video.
History tells us that ethnic, religious and racial differences have often resulted in broken relationships, divided communities, fighting, and even war. On February 6, School District 23 celebrated our differences, shared our unique stories and DANCED as ONE!