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Fancy footwork in Snoqualmie school Skakespeare visit

Snoqualmie Middle School students Katelyn Sundwall and Sabrina Hill, in  teacher Rene Peterson’s seventh grade language arts class, learn how to dance a pavane during a workshop held Wednesday, April 28, with the Seattle Shakespeare Company. - Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Snoqualmie Middle School students Katelyn Sundwall and Sabrina Hill, in teacher Rene Peterson’s seventh grade language arts class, learn how to dance a pavane during a workshop held Wednesday, April 28, with the Seattle Shakespeare Company.
— image credit: Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Students at Snoqualmie Middle School took dance steps invented centuries ago, as a member of the Seattle Shakespeare Company visited the school Wednesday, April 28, for a trip back in time.

Language arts teacher Rene Peterson invited the company to teach her seventh grade students about Renaissance dress and manners.

Receiving a grant from the SMS parent-teacher association, Peterson asked Michelle Traverso, education director at the Seattle Shakespeare Company, to teach a two-day workshop that included learning two dances common to the era.

“They teach my students the stuff that I would have a challenge teaching,” Peterson said.

Dressed in capes and skirts, the students danced in pairs and were given a choice to partner with a fellow girl or boy partner. Traverso then taught them a pavane, a slow piece of music where dancers usually step forward, lift up their legs and point their toes.

“It’s a little awkward, but other than that, it’s fun,” said student Issac Mullins.

The company’s lessons on dance and dress make the students spring Shakespeare comedy performances that much more authentic, Peterson said.

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