Conscious Party: Community dance party

SCHOOL SPIRIT: Asheville Primary School students and teachers show off their energy in a recent photo. Asheville City Schools’ newest magnet school holds a community dance party fundraiser March 25 at The Mothlight.
SCHOOL SPIRIT: Asheville Primary School students and teachers show off their energy in a recent photo. Asheville City Schools’ newest magnet school holds a community dance party fundraiser March 25 at The Mothlight. Photo courtesy of Asheville Primary School

WHAT: An all-ages dance party and singalong to benefit Asheville Primary School

WHEN: Sunday, March 25, 3-5 p.m.

WHERE: The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Rd.

WHY: Each Friday, the Asheville Primary School’s staff DJ wheels a boombox into the hall, gets on the intercom and announces that a dance party is about to begin. Students and teachers from Asheville City Schools’ newest magnet school — which includes a pre-K-to-third grade public Montessori school and the main campus of the ACS Preschool Program — happily accept the three- to four-song invitation.

“When our custodian turns down the hall lights and the disco lights go on, the kids scream and cheer every week,” says Polly Bolding, the school’s enrollment and engagement coordinator.

“Our all-time school dance party favorites include Pharrell’s ‘Happy,’ Justin Timberlake’s ‘I Got This Feeling’ and Kidz Bop hip-hop staples like ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).’ We also like to mix in some retro tunes like ‘Funkytown’ and ‘Twist and Shout.’ Our current staff DJ, Kristine Dwyer, is great about asking students what they like and previewing tunes to make sure they’re school-ready.”

Asheville Primary’s Parent Teacher Collective brings the communal fun of this tradition to the public on Sunday, March 25, with an all-ages family dance party fundraiser at The Mothlight. The playlist has been compiled by second-grader Cora Ammerman, who took a notebook around the school’s classrooms and asked teachers and her fellow students to share their favorite songs.

“We’ve been working together to create a Spotify playlist that we’ll make public and share at the party,” says Adrienne Ammerman, Cora’s mother and a PTC member. “It includes everything from Taylor Swift to Michael Jackson to the [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles theme song.”

Asheville Primary’s first- and second-grade “bucket band” will also make its debut on plastic Lowe’s buckets, playing songs they’ve learned with local musician Laura Blackley. An active partner with the school district through the Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Schools program and Hall Fletcher Elementary School’s MusicWorks after-school program, Blackley provides students with weekly music enrichment through an experiential music education approach. She incorporates call-and-response songs to engage students in group singing, and will implement this method in leading dance party attendees in a singalong.

The event additionally includes free temporary tattoos, face painting by donation, a photo booth, popcorn and drinks for sale, a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction with locally sourced prizes. “We encourage attendees to wear whatever they like — and any day is a good day for a costume when you’re a kid, or young-at-heart,” Bolding says. “We hope an indoor dance party will make for an awesome afternoon with the kids in the home-stretch of winter.”

Proceeds go toward classroom needs for teachers, and funding free and low-cost family events to strengthen the school community. Everyone is invited to attend, regardless of their ability to donate.

The Asheville Primary School family dance party takes place Sunday, March 25, 3-5 p.m. at The Mothlight. Free to attend. themothlight.com

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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