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School days and friends, 1980s

Submitted by Jami Simon from Ames, Iowa
  • Speech Comm (Theatre)1981, Phys Ed (Dance) 1981

A sporting way to encourage dance

Part of the dance curriculum while I was at Iowa State was a class that included teaching a dance unit in the public schools. The work with elementary students was fun and entertaining, but the day spent at Central Junior High (now City Hall?) was pleasantly surprising.

We were team-teaching and I had the lucky break to be teamed with Randy Koch, who was a member of ISU's football team. Randy also had some theatre experience and was very genuine and enthusiastic, so we decided to teach a musical theatre dance; I choreographed it to "Mack the Knife."

For each class period of the day, we worked on the auditorium stage. Randy taught the first half of the dance to the boys and I taught the girls, then we split the group in half and had them watch each other -- they were very good audiences for each other. When we happened to finish early during one class, I asked if anyone would like to come up and learn the rest of the dance. I expected maybe some girls and next to no boys to come back onstage, but to my surprise, EVERYBODY came back up and learned the rest!

Moral of the story: it really helps teaching theatre dance when you are teamed with a recognizable college football player!