Vote for Dr. Epps in Dancing with the Stars, Lexington

It takes two to tango, and Dr. Epps is cutting a rug for Lexington Medical Center in the Dancing with the Stars, Lexington competition on April 22, at the Koger Center.

Dr. Amy Epps, a cardiologist with Lexington Cardiology and a Lexington school graduate, is competing against 11 local celebrities in the event sponsored by Lexington School District 1 Education Foundation.

Each vote raises funds to support district programs and initiatives that are outside the scope of the district’s Annual Fund Budget, such as outfitting STEM Labs at Lexington 1 schools, equipping media centers with up-to-date technology and supporting professional development for teachers.

Dr. Epps has been training with professional dancers from Columbia’s Ballroom Company since early February, check out the video below:

Vote for Dr. Epps today!

All That Jazz

By: Shannon Shull

I am so blessed to have arts integration in my life! Recently, I had the opportunity to teach the history and moves of Jazz era dances to a group of amazing 5th graders. I worked with the Music teacher, who taught the students about the most influential jazz musicians and singers of the era, while I taught them about the popular dances that had folks all around the world movin’ to jazzy beats. What a trip! We had a great time learning dances like the Cakewalk, the Black Bottom, the Charleston, the Swing, the Lindy Hop, the Jitterbug and even the Boogie Woogie.

Flappers Dancin' The Charleston

As most of you well know, we can never stop learning! We can educate ourselves in so many ways until the day we die. With every arts integration residency or teaching gig I do, I always learn something new. I thought I knew a good amount about dance, but I tell you what, in the case of this super cool, recent residency of mine, I not only learned about these groundbreakingly popular dances from the late 1800s to early 1900s, but I now have a profound respect for the ability and talent of the dancers who jived and worked it on the dance floors of that time.

African American Jitterbug Dancers

While researching video footage of actual dancers to show the students, I came across some incredible clips.  Let’s just say, if some of these Jazz era dancers worked these moves on some of today’s popular dance tv shows, they would knock people’s socks off!  My favorite clip is of the Whitney’s Lindy Hoppers, a professional performance group of swing dancers, from the 1941 film “Hellzapoppin.” My students responded something fierce to this video! They absolutely loved it! There was a lot of hooting and hollerin’ as they watched this one. Watch this short clip and you will truly be blown away by the energy and talent of these fabulous dancers!

If you’re at all interested in dance, take some time to check out the dances of the Jazz era. Play some jivin’ jazz music and move that body of yours. You are guaranteed to have a great time! Along with my new deep appreciation for these jazzy dances, I know I certainly plan to engage in some Lindy Hoppin’, Jitterbuggin’ Swing dancin’ any chance I can!

To Dance

By: Shannon Shull

To dance is to live. I discovered this at a young age. When I am alone, I dance to release, to recover, to suffer, to survive, to tap into my passions, to feel and to heal. When I dance with others, I release in a different way – tapping into fun times, exercising or teaching choreography. Whichever way it’s done, dancing helps to keep my body and soul alive. My body thanks me when I dance because it rejoices in the movement and celebrates the actual ability to move. I can feel awful, but when I teach a zumba class, do a warm up with a bunch of middle school kids or have a private moment to dance for release, I always feel better. But inevitably, my body will smile from the inside out.

When I was a kid, I took my jam box into my front yard at night, blasted my music and danced my heart out. I would go into my own little artistic world. It was my time. My creative time to experience, survive and dive into emotion and passion or visit pretend worlds. My little front yard was my grand stage. I had the misconception that because it was nighttime, no one could see me. Around the same time, I used to walk around my back yard singing at the top of my lungs with the notion that because my back yard was fenced in, no one could hear me. One day, my mother crushed that belief when she stuck her head out of the door and asked me to keep it down because she was trying to teach a piano lesson and my singing was distracting her. As I looked up at the wide smile on my neighbor’s face, the harsh reality that others could indeed hear me outside of the weak chain length fence, hit me like a mac truck! Apparently, I had been putting on quite a show for my neighbors!

Recently, I have been a long-term substitute for the dance teacher at White Knoll Middle School. I have had the privilege of dancing on a daily basis and I absolutely love it! Not only have I been able to share my own enthusiasm for dance with these fabulous kids, but they have introduced me to new music and dance moves. I love watching them get into the groove and have such fun dancing. It’s such a treat! And to work so hard teaching them new choreography and then see a dance piece come to life – it’s great to witness!

There’s a quote that says, “Those who dance are thought mad by those who hear not the music.” There will always be people who won’t hear the music, but the best thing you can do is to let yourself live and dance like nobody’s watchin’!

Below are some of my other favorite quotes about dance. Enjoy!

Man must speak, then sing, then dance.
The speaking is the brain, the thinking man. The singing is the emotion.
The dancing is the Dionysian ecstasy which carries away all.
– Isadora Duncan

The next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle.
– Martha Graham, dancer/choreographer

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.
– Wayne Dyer

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.
– Agnes de Mille

“Let us first teach little children to breathe, to vibrate, to feel, and to become one
with the general harmony and movement of nature.
Let us first produce a beautiful human being, a dancing child.”
– Isadora Duncan, dancer/choreographer