Students to dance through decades Thursday

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Hunter Lee, on the left, Grace House and Treyton Pokorney are the 2019 Kingsland Decades Project managers. They're ready to invite the public to the "Live Through the Decades" dance-themed study of the years 1920 through 1999.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Kingsland sophomores will go dancing through the decades as far back as the 1920s during a project open to the public on Thursday, May 9.

“The 1920s were a long time ago. I learned they didn’t have a lot of the same stuff – they didn’t have television, and they didn’t have a lot of the same foods, and also, they invented a lot of candy in the ‘20s, which was cool. Their dances are hard to learn, though,” said Kingsland High School sophomore and 2019 Decades Project co-manager Hunter Lee, describing the decade he was assigned to study for the annual history revue teacher Scott Mulholland uses to immerse his students in history.

The theme this year is “Live: Through the Decades,” and it features dances representing each decade, noted co-manager Treyton Pokorney.

 “There will be four dances for each decade, and we’ll do the 1920s through the 1990s,” said Lee. “Our class has 35 to 40 people, so that’s why we had to drop the 1910s, but there are four to five kids to a decade.”

Co-manager Grace House, who stood before the Kingsland School Board and informed its members that they’d be learning the “Hand Jive” during the April board meeting, commented, “In the ‘80s, the dances had pretty simple moves. I learned that a lot of bad things happened, but that a lot of new things happened, too.”

Pokorney pointed out that his decade, the 1940s, was an era that changed the world due to the events of World War II. “I learned how World War II affected the media – TV and books, and about the war,” he said. “The dances…there was a lot of swing and ballroom dances in the ‘40s.”

As is customary with the Decades Project, each decade the costumed students have researched will be featured in a dedicated booth showing the current events, clothing and some artifacts of the time and the accompanying side booths will have further information and artifacts "to showcase different parts of the decade,” said House.

“Each side booth will be different than last year’s,” Lee added.

The students have grown up visiting previous classes’ Decades Project events – an opportunity for them to gradually acquire knowledge of the preceding century’s current events, fads and dances – and have gotten to make this year’s presentation their own. Pokorney, House and Lee took on the role of project co-managers this past September, and their task has been keeping other students on task within each assigned decade group.

That’s posed some challenges, as Lee cited, “The hard part is keeping your group on track and not letting them get sidetracked in one direction.”

Pokorney agreed, “The challenge is managing everything you need to get done.”

House concurred, “It’s all about time management and how you plan things.”

Lee is ready to present, perform and be able to look back on the good memories because of the effort put into the project, and to some extent, his classmates feel the same, though they shared their different perspectives.

“There’s a lot of stress, especially as it gets closer, and we want people to know how much work we put into it,” House said.

“I’m excited to show what we put into it,” Pokorney stated. “I’m pretty proud of the stuff we’ve done.”

The trio issued an invitation to their families, friends and the public to stop in Kingsland High School’s gymnasium this Thursday to do some foxtrotting into the past.

“Everyone will be dressed for their decade, and it’ll be like going back in time,” House said. “There’ll be a place to learn the dances at each booth. I’m most excited to see the dances and side booths because we kind of know what’s at every main booth.”

“I’m excited to see what their interpretation of it is,” Lee added. “People can revisit their childhood.”

Pokorney summed up the occasion, saying, “It’ll be interesting for people to see the decades. I don’t know of a lot of other schools that do projects like this, and I think it’s a really cool way to experience history.”

“Live: Through the Decades” is set to take place this Thursday, May 9, in the Kingsland High School gymnasium from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and in the evening from 6:45 to 8 p.m. Visitors are to enter through Door 17, between the gym and cafeteria.