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They say all good things must come to an end, but of course we wish our Duck Truck Residency Program at St. Mary’s Academy could continue infinitely! After six weeks teaching at the all-girls school in Inglewood, our residency concluded with an exciting performance by 30 St. Mary’s students and four HDDT company performers who presented an excerpt of At the Oasis.

Though only our first time at the school, the St. Mary’s staff, faculty, and students made us feel right at home. The support was especially tangible at the final performance, which the entire student body attended! That’s right! These brave students created and performed their original choreography in front of 250 peers and faculty members! Dancing to a Mary J Blige song of their choice, the students performed as one large group, both utilizing the features on the school grounds (including traffic cones and tree planters!) and our Duck Truck. The girls ended by improvising in smaller groups and taking a bow for the applauding crowd.

After our company performance of At the Oasis, we opened up the floor to questions from the large audience, who challenged our teachers Kristen Holleyman and Aaron “Duece” Cook to improvise on the spot, and asked insightful questions about how and when to start dance training. HDDT performer Danny Dolan shared his experience with starting dance well into his twenties, telling the crowd that it is never too late to follow your dreams!

Principal Nancy Portillo was impressed by the students’ performance and expressed their need for more dance programming at the school. We are so excited to discuss more ways we can stay involved with the St. Mary’s community—while we’ll miss these awesome students, we have a feeling we won’t be gone for long!

We’re also not that far away! After the performance, the Duck Truck traveled two miles down the road to Warren Lane Elementary School. Now in our 4th year visiting the school (thank you California Arts Council!), our teaching artists Ryan Walker Page and Aaron “Duece” Cook are excited to get site-specific with a group of 30 third graders in the next six weeks! Some of the students remember our performance last year and are getting very excited to perform themselves! We can’t wait to see what they create on May 25th!