Chapter Two: Alabama Black Bear

This morning, my sweet dancers and I got to be involved in a very special performance at Bryan Elementary School in Morris, Alabama. This was my old elementary school, and I sat in those same gymnasium bleachers not too long ago. This performance was made possible by a grant from ALABAMA 200 and is a part of my Sweet Home Storytelling Dance Series.

This series of dance performances and educational sessions is to celebrate the bicentennial of the state of Alabama! This Friday, December 14, is Alabama's 199th birthday and so we wanted to kick off this birthday week with an educational performance about the Alabama Black Bear!

Did you know that in 1996 the black bear was made Alabama's official mammal?

I am always happy to create, curate, and participate in performances, but I am even happier to get the chance to have over 880 elementary school students excited to be LEARNING something special about our great state and seeing how movement and dance can be used to tell stories and share information. One moment that particularly poignant from today's performance was when a young boy raised his hand in the Q&A session and wanted to show his school his own dance moves.

I allowed him to show his own movement and explain why he made the choices he made and he said that he was thinking about how bears fight to protect their families and so he thought about how a bear might do that.

I went on to expand on how other movement and gestures can mean certain things and all the students responded excitedly.

My heart is full, and in that moment I thought... “They get it." They get that dance can be used to pass on our stories, and they’re only kids! I hope that they don’t forget the power of the art of dance…

I can't explain what that experience did for my soul.

Thank you Alabama Bicentennial Commission and Rebecca Recke of Bryan Elementary School for making this possible.

To schedule a performance at YOUR school, or inquire about school performances and material to cover relevant to your curriculum send an email to me at