P.S. 69 celebrates Lunar New Year with traditional show

To ring in the Year of the Monkey the right way, first graders at P.S. 69, the Vincent D. Grippo School, treated parents, teachers and even some visitors from another Brooklyn school to a Lunar New Year show on Friday, February 12.

Performing traditional numbers, including a fan dance, a long and short ribbon dance, a chopsticks dance and a tambourine dance, the school’s entire first grade class learned the routines months in advance with help from choreographers from Arts Connection—an arts organization geared toward bringing the arts to New York City public schools.

“More than half are English language learners and about 80 percent of our children are of Chinese heritage; so we honor their cultural celebrations by making it our school wide cultural celebration and welcoming the Year of the Monkey this year,” said Principal Jayne Capetanakis.

“We also, as part of our arts instruction, we’ve partnered with Arts Connection to bring in the Chinese cultural institute to help teach the children and their teachers some of the traditional native dances.”

The students also adorned the entire auditorium with hand-crafted decorations that reflected the traditional Chinese holiday.

“All of these decorations are made by the children in first grade,” explained Tammy Castellanos, an ESL teacher. “Everything that you see on the walls is all made by the children. Each class took part in preparing something and it’s all traditional, like the cherry blossoms and the lanterns.

“This school is very big on the arts,” she continued. “[The students] prosper through the arts because they can express themselves.”

Since the school is also a Showcase School of the Arts, students from a Brownsville elementary school came to watch the students perform the show for a second time.


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