Music floats through the air of building two and the phrase “Five, six, seven, eight!” echoes through the hall. Fourth-grade English language arts teacher Natalie El-Amrani, affectionately known as Ms. E, demonstrates dance moves for a group of young girls. This is Cultural Expressions, a dance club at Melrose Elementary school.
“Cultural Expressions is a great way for girls to get to be girls and learn to be classy young ladies,” said El-Amrani, who has been leading the club for three years.
The club is called Cultural Expressions because El-Amrani uses the club as an opportunity to teach scholars about different black cultures, like dances found in the Caribbean islands or Africa. “Dance is a way to express yourself with your body,” said El-Amrani. “It’s given me the freedom to be myself and tell a story with my movements.”
According to El-Amrani, she started the club for girls who might not be able to afford dance classes. “Dance lessons are expensive,” explained El-Amrani. Cultural Expressions provides young ladies around Melrose with the opportunity to learn dance without the cost.
“Ms. E is an excellent dancer,” said Ozi’yana Morton, a fifth-grader and member of Cultural Expressions. According to Ozi’yana, Cultural Expressions is a club that is full of “positivity” and an environment where scholars believe they can accomplish their goals when they “put their mind to it.”
Like all school activities, Cultural Expressions operates with Covid-19 in mind. Scholars still wear masks and stay spread out during routines.
Cultural Expressions takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays at 4 p.m.