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Around the World with Dance and Drum

Cascade Cultural Arts Center

Around the World with Drum and Dance was originally an in-person school residency of Taiko and Samba instruction.  However due to COVID, Cascade School District suspended in-person instruction, and we pivoted by creating an on-line ZOOM and YouTube Samba residency with Eduardo Mendonca from Show Brazil for students and community members in Cascade, Donnelly and New Meadows.

Video instruction for elementary school students was created for k-1, 2nd-3rd and 4th-5th grades.  An on-line music performance and ZOOM Brazilian cooking demonstration rounded out the program.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do musicians improve the quality of their performance?

Creating video music instruction where our Samba instructor, Eduardo Mendonca not only taught rhythms, but also the history and culture of samba music, students were able to integrate that knowledge into their own music practice.  In addition to creating video content, Eduardo also created a class outline for each video for teachers.

Eduardo emphasized easy to learn and practice techniques using items found in homes as percussion (i.e. cooking pots, buckets).  He also taught easy to sing portugese songs.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

We all thought it was great to be a part of the experience and be connected to everyone. It was wonderful to be a part of a positive fun and experience.  Thank you! ~ Russ, Theresa, and Harmony Perry, Cascade Community Members


Eduardo Mendonca is a talented teacher and performer.  His enthusiasm and love of music, particularly Brazilian music was communicated over video.  We hope to have an in-person residency next year and the videos he created are perfect pre-residency pieces for teachers to use to pique student interest.  The blend of music instruction, culture and language learning was fun and engaging for participants.

5 videos were distributed to Homeschoolers and K-1 grade teachers/students at Cascade Schools, Donnelly Elementary, Barbara Morgan Elementary in McCall, Meadows Valley School in New Meadows, and Council School.


I have been teaching at Cascade Schools for twenty years and have had the pleasure of participating in person with Eduardo and his program several times. I was disappointed that we would not be able to this year due to the closure of schools because of COVID-19. Surprisingly, Eduardo stepped up and taught a great week of drumming, language, dance, rhythm, and culture to us in spite of not being here!  I think this shows his dedication and commitment to providing learning to children everywhere!   ~ Crystal Rosen, Cascade Schools PreK-K Teacher