Dayton arts group putting on free ‘virtual field trip’ for students

“Step Afrika!” will appear at the Victoria Theatre for the first time on March 3, 2018. SUBMITTED PHOTO

While most field trips are off this school year during the pandemic, field trips don’t have to be a thing of the past thanks to some creative thinking.

Dayton Live is offering a free “virtual field trip” opportunity for local students happening from Nov. 30 through Dec. 13 featuring a performing arts group that performed at the Victoria Theatre in 2018, Step Afrika. Five Days with Step Afrika! is made up of five videos that can be watched anytime in the two-week period.

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Access to these interactive videos is available by registration, which is now underway. Educators may register at Instructions to access the videos will be sent after registration.

Parents of individual students are also able to register their child, even if the student is not in a class that’s participating.

“Even during this challenging time when classrooms look different across the Miami Valley, our belief that arts education is an essential component of every student’s academic journey has never wavered,” said Gary Minyard, vice president of Education & Engagement for Dayton Live, in a news release.

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Videos will cover an introduction to the style of dance, a stepping tutorial, an opportunity to meet the artists and two performance videos. A resource guide with even more educational information will also be available.

Step Afrika! is the world’s first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping — a polyrhythmic, percussive dance form that uses the body as an instrument. Based on the company’s award-winning arts education programs and more than 25 years of performing and teaching students, Five Days with Step Afrika! supports the academic environment as well as the challenges of virtual learning, according to a Dayton Live release.

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“By providing free access to this virtual field trip to teachers, students and homeschool groups, Dayton Live Education believes students will develop a new and inspiring appreciation for this particular genre of dance.”

The program is targeted for all students grades K-12 and is of no cost to students and educators.

“We know this school year has been a challenging one so far — for both students and teachers,” Minyard said. "As teachers plan for the coming weeks, we hope this free virtual field trip in early December will enhance their curriculum and benefit students and teachers alike.

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