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“Lets Samba!”

Idaho Mountain Samba (Wilderness Science Education, Inc.)

“Let’s Samba!’introduced samba to Cascade kindergartener through 6th graders as well as other community members through a two week school drum and dance residency, after-school workshops and an evening of Brazilian food and performance. The Cascade residency culminated with a school performance. In addition, Meadows Valley k-5th graders and jr and high school drama students took part in a one week drum/dance workshops and Taft Elementary 4th graders in Boise participated in a 1/2 day workshop.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

When is a performance judged ready to present?

Let’s Samba used the culminating performance as a focus for the residency to guide students through the following standards:

PERFORMING Realizing artistic ideas and work through interpretation and presentation.

Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work
Enduring Understanding (music): Musicians judge performance based on criteria that vary across time, place and cultures.
Enduring Understanding: Dance performance is an interaction between performer, production
and audience that heightens and amplifies artistic expression.

“Let’s Samba!” addressed these standards by having students perform music with expression, technical accuracy and appropriate interpretation. Dancers explore production elements related to using music, addressing DA:PR 6.1 k-6th.

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

Students were given writing assignments to reflect upon the residency, their music and dance performance and also about learning about Brazil through samba. Several of these writing are included in this grant report. For example: ‘I like that they showed us lots of things that we didn’t know like dancing and those cool instruments. I learned alot about South America.” Owen

“I liked the songs and I learned a lot. My little sister likes all the songs and sings them at home” Leylani V.


Eduardo and Molly discussed the day’s dancing and drumming experience with each class and focused on discussing the different ways that each class conveyed meaning with their dance/drum routines. As the residency progressed, students were able to talk about the progress they made and implement different ideas for interpreting the music/dance for the culminating performance.


What was so rewarding about this residency was how interested students were in learning about Brazil and challenging themselves to learn new dances and rhythms. Portuguese greetings were heard throughout the residency both in Cascade and New Meadows schools, and the students asked the instructors many questions about Brazil, music and dance. Students participated equally in drumming and dance and were enthusiastic about both. We had a full house of parents at our residency performance in Cascade and all students in Meadows Valley got to experience a school Samba Drum and Dance assembly performance by Brazil Arts and Education instructors. The teachers at all the schools were tremendously supportive and we believe that lessons learned as part of this residency will be extended throughout the rest of the school year. We are really grateful to have had this opportunity for our rural students.