Franklin Middle School Hoofers Give Boffo Perf At Branchburg Central Middle School

Franklin Middle School dancers performed at the Branchburg Central Middle School on May 24.

BRANCHBURG – How do you get more than 500 middle schoolers to sit still and pay attention for an hour?

You bring in the Franklin Middle School dancers to perform for them.

That’s what happened May 24, when the FMS dance troupe performed as a whole, in smaller groups, duets and solos, showcasing a variety of dance styles including hip-hop, Bollywood, modern and disco at Branchburg Central Middle School.

The students were there at the invitation of BCMS staff, who are looking to create a dance elective program at the school and, in the words of teacher Suzanne Updegrove, show BCMS students “what a really top-notch, phenomenal dance program can look like.”

And judging from the Branchburg students’ reactions, FMS students did not disappoint.

The students clapped along to the music, cheered when someone performed a particularly good move, and gave enthusiastic ovations at the end of each performance.

Afterword, a number of the Branchburg students joined the FMS students for lunch to talk about dance.

“This was awesome,” said BCMS principal Matthew Barbosa. “It was really a great experience for our students to see what other middle school students are doing in their school.”

“They really enjoyed it,” he said of his students. “I was very happy with the performance, and our students really did a great job in showing the respect to the performers.”

Franklin Middle School dance teacher Aaron Ramos said he thought the performance “went well.”

“We were able to introduce Branchburg Middle School to different genres,” he said. “I think that it’s a good collaboration between the two schools, we’re in the same county and we go to Teen Arts together, and I think it was a good opportunity for our kids to be ambassadors and represent Franklin in a positive, enlightened way.”

It was watching the FMS students at the annual New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival over the past five years that gave Updegrove the idea to have them in, she said.

“I’ve been watching these kids from Franklin at Teen Arts, every year I go, it’s phenomenal,” she said. “So I started a dialogue with Mr. Ramos, and he was gracious enough to accept our invitation and not only have his kids come dance, but meet our kids afterword for lunch who are interested in dance and have a conversation.”

“We hope it grows into something bigger between our two schools so we can do more than just dance, maybe we can do other things, too,” she said.

Updegrove said BCMS has applied for a grant that it would use to create an Artist-in-Residence program for a dance elective.

Dance, she said, is something BCMS staff think is important for children to participate in.

“I think it’s hard to participate in something that you don’t have a vision for, so we’re hoping these kids can provide us with a vision,” she said.

Following is a video of the troupe’s finale:

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