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Michelle Tabnick
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Students in Elizabeth, NJ Dance on the Silk Road with Nai-Ni Chen, May 23

by Michelle Tabnick
May 20, 2017
Dr Orlando Edreira Academy 26
631 Westminster Ave.
Elizabeth, NJ 07208
As world leaders meet to discuss Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal to develop a new Silk Road, a group of students in from the Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy No. 26 in Elizabeth, NJ is learning about the Silk Road and taking a virtual journey.

The school's journey on the Silk Road - a partnership between the district and Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company that began in January and included all ten grades from pre-kindergarten through grade eight - will culminate with a presentation on Tuesday, May 23 at 1pm.

This project initiated by principal Howard Teitelbaum and is led by Nai-Ni Chen Dance company and Ms. Alisha Brennan in cooperation with the entire teaching team, Visual Art, Music and Theater Departments. The school has built the theme of Silk Road into the curriculum and it is studied by all grades. On their rich and colorful ten week journey, the students met Dance/Storyteller from the Mosaic Dance Company, Azabeijian music master Jeffrey Werbock, African Acrobats, Kazak dance from Andrij Cybilk, learned geography, science, math and history from classroom teachers and teaching artists from Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.  
The presentation will showcase dance choreographed by NNCDC and performed by 4th, 7th and 8th grade students.   School band and orchestra will play music selected from China, Japan, and Persia.  Dance include Brave Spirit will be accompanied by love music by the school band.  Dragon Dance to the thunder of drumming by 7th and 8th graders.  Students will perform Lion Dance, Kaza Dance and a special dance, Dance of the Persian Market that reflects the students' imaginary journeys along the Silk Road.

Visual projections have been prepared by teachers and students, and Azerbaijan Music master Jeff Werbock will play instruments representing many countries from Asia to the Mediterranean Sea. Visual art teachers lead the students to make their own Dragon, Lion Masks and all the props in the market scene will make the presentation an truly interactive feast of experience of all senses.
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