Manhattanville Dance Program Featured on PBS's "Let's Learn"
PURCHASE, NY, May 1 – Manhattanville College dance students Jessica Bessler, Danielle Chu, Alexa Rivera, and Paije Pasols, in addition to Professor and Program Director Shawn Bible, recently had the opportunity to develop an educational segment for the PBS program “Let’s Learn.”
Professor Bible was approached to work on a segment for the show and put together content for a pitch script and test footage. He soon heard back from PBS that the segment was approved, at which point he recruited a small, diverse group of four dance students to represent the college and the program.
The group worked together in the on-campus dance studio during January and filmed footage to educate kids aged three to five on the connection between spatial awareness and math. This was new territory, especially for Bible, who has taught college-aged students for his entire career as an educator. Senior dance student Jessica Bessler says the experience was “was very different, especially given our younger audience. It was an interesting process learning how your mannerisms, the colors you wear, and the way you speak effect our younger viewers as well as the simple and steady process in which they learn.”
While this was a new experience for the students, they were prepared for the process
after taking courses tailored to dance outside of the theatre space, most notably
“Dance on Camera.” Senior Lexie Rivera took this course, as well as several digital
media production courses through the communications and media program. She felt “the
process was like what we experienced in the classroom. This project took it to the
next level, but it helped to have that background to understand how everything works
and what we needed to do to get great footage.”
Bible felt it was “such a wonderful opportunity working with PBS. It was even more incredible working with our students in a different professional capacity. Our dance majors are so professional, prepared, and represent Manhattanville to the highest caliber.”
For dance student Paije Pasols, it felt like a full circle moment. Pasols watched PBS frequently as a child and now believes “when you’re that young, your mind is so sculptable. It so cool that the roles are reversed and I, along with the rest of the dancers, get to be the ones who hopefully spark something for at least one kid.”
The most significant part of this opportunity to Bible, however, was the opportunity to live the college’s social justice-based mission outside of campus life and give back to the community. “I always believe that we have to give something back,” Bible says. “These students have been blessed with a gift and a passion for this art form, and now they get to share it with young kids who will have the opportunity to fall in love with it and want to be like them.”
Dance student Danielle Chu is also a Clark Scholar on-campus and volunteers with several programs that work with youth groups in the community by participating in games and educational activities. Chu sees a natural connection between movement and education, and she is “grateful to be using dance to help educate my community... [it] provides a universal language for everyone to learn.”
The segment will air as part of episode 1211 (“There’s a Silent ‘e’ in Kite!”) on Thursday, May 25 in the WNET viewing area. The episode will also be available online at https://www.letslearn.org/episodes/ by May 5. To learn more about dance at Manhattanville, visit https://www.mville.edu/programs/dance.php.
About Manhattanville College
Manhattanville College is a small, private liberal arts institution dedicated to academic excellence, purposeful education, and social justice. For two years in a row, the U.S. News and World Report has ranked Manhattanville the number one private, non-profit institution in New York among Top Performers of Social Mobility in Regional Universities North. Located 30 miles from New York City on a 100-acre suburban campus in the heart of Westchester County, Manhattanville enables easy access to entertainment offerings, educational resources, and business opportunities for its primarily residential and diverse student body. The college serves more than 1,500 undergraduate students and nearly 1,000 graduate students from more than 44 countries and 33 states. Founded in 1841, the college offers more than 75 undergraduate and graduate areas of study in the arts and sciences, education, business, and creative writing, as well as continuing and executive education programs. Graduate students can choose from over 70 graduate and certificate programs. Extracurricular offerings include more than 45 clubs and 20 NCAA Division III teams.
Manhattanville has also been recognized by “U.S. News and World Report” for Ethic Diversity. The college has earned a designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education which has allowed it to recruit more Latinx students. For the sixth consecutive year, Manhattanville has been named to the Colleges of Distinction list which recognizes colleges that excel in student engagement, great teaching, vibrant communities, and successful outcomes. This year, the college is also among those that have earned the Equity and Inclusion badge from Colleges of Distinction, while continuing to be recognized for excellence with Business, Education, and Career Development badges. The school is also one of the few to offer an undergraduate certificate in design thinking, giving students a leg up with employers looking for critical thinking skills.
To learn more, visit www.mville.edu.
Cara Cea, firstname.lastname@example.org, 914-323-1278 or 914-906-9680.