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Spanish and hallway dancing combine on ‘Baile Viernes’

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Jamie Stirlen’s class participate in Baile Viernes every Friday.

 

If you have heard Latin music from the hallways every Friday in the foreign language wing, chances are that Jamie Stirlen’s Spanish class is dancing on the weekly occasion called “Baile Viernes,” or Friday dance. 

“I always say [Baile Viernes] is my adult version of cheerleading,” Palatine High School Spanish teacher Jamie Stirlen said. “It brings my Spanish world together, and my love for dancing together.” 

Stirlen, a certified Zumba instructor, came up with the idea of “Baile Viernes” at a teacher institute day in 2015. It started as an occasion at the end of the school year, and after positive feedback from students, she decided to regularly incorporate dancing as a class warm-up.

“Baile Viernes” was moved into the hallway because of its size and how it brings together surrounding classes in the world language and business wings to join in and dance along. Depending on the time of day, there can be as many as three to four classes in the hallways.

While Stirlen leads the dances most of the time, if students feel confident, they can lead dances too.

The activity is one of five class warm-ups for Stirlen’s Spanish classes. Some other activities include “Mapa Martes” (Map  Tuesday), where students learn about a Spanish-speaking country, and “Música Miércoles,” (Music Wednesday) in which students watch a music video from Latin artists of varying genres.

“I would say Tuesday [Mapa Martes], Wednesday [Música Miércoles], and Friday [Baile Viernes] are my favorite because it’s a lot more about the culture,” Stirlen said.

The goal that Stirlen has for her students is to show them the different types of Latin dances and the differences between each Latin subgenre, such as the distinct sounds that each subgenre has. “Everybody just thinks that everything’s salsa. Every dance has [its] own particular moves,” she said.

“I enjoy [Baile Viernes],” ninth grader Jalynn Martinez said. “It’s a great way to end your week and it prepares us for class.” 

Experiences like “Baile Viernes” can enhance class environments as it can be an activity that students can look forward to but also an opportunity to learn different cultures through dance.

 Stirlen’s success with “Baile Viernes” is a model for more teachers to find ways to successfully incorporate learning while also enhancing class experience for students.

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About the Contributor
Didrik Caleja
Didrik Caleja, A&E Editor
Didrik Caleja is a freshman at Palatine High School. When he was younger, he was interested in journalism and pursuing it as a career. In his free time, he plays video games on his PlayStation, listens & sings to music and learns song choreography. 

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