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RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice
Students at P.S./I.S. 113 in Glendale put on a performance of their self-made musical "The Galactic Dance-a-Thon."

The fifth- and sixth-graders of Glendale’s P.S./I.S. 113 took parents, teachers and classmates on an interstellar trip through the cosmos during the performance of their play “The Galactic Dance-a-Thon.”

The kids have been working on creating this show since last October in conjunction with Inside Broadway, the city’s leading arts-education nonprofit organization, and their popular after-school theater “Create a Musical” program which was funded by the City Council through the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs under the Council’s Cultural After-School Adventures (C.A.S.A.) Initiative.

“A vast majority of our public schools don’t have many arts programs, so when you bring a C.A.S.A. program to a school, you hope to enrich the overall quality of education,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who helped secure funding to bring Inside Broadway to P.S./I.S. 113. “The kids are excited to come to school, make friendships and learn.”

The students began working with Inside Broadway teaching artist Braddon Mehrten on Oct. 8, 2015, and spent two hours after school, two times a week to create their story and learn the swing music and choreography for the performance’s six songs. The 25-session workshop also helped students become more proficient in their voice and acting skills and they had the chance to work with a scenic designer to create a backdrop for the final performance.

“This is a great age group for this performance’s skill set,” Mehrten said. “I’ve had kids that have never done something like this, to kids who felt they were seasoned pros. This is a great project to create a community among the students.”

“I learned the most from the acting games that we played,” student Anna Hochenberger said.

The performance showcased the 23 students as aliens from the planets in the solar system, each vying to win the galactic dance-a-thon on their spaceship.

“My favorite part was the singing and dancing with old and new friends,” said Jack Bonowitz, one of the performers.

“The best part was at the end when we all took a bow,” student Ruzhdi Lukolic said. “It was so worth it after all of our hard work.”

The educators at the Glendale school had nothing but praise for Inside Broadway’s program.

“The program is a great one because it exposes students to the performance arts in a new and fun way,” said Alejandro Megias, principal of P.S./I.S. 113. “It sparks in an interest in students that they previously may not have had.”

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