Breaking it Down at Highland Elementary

MN Joe Tran in front of the classroom

MN Joe Tran in front of the classroom

Toprock, footwork and powermoves. Doesn’t sound like your typical 4th and 5th grade classroom, but for Highland Elementary that’s exactly what they were served when Teaching Artist MN Joe Tran came to visit! For most students, breakdancing was unfamiliar territory. Though inexperienced, they were eager to start learning the elements of breaking.

“(Breaking) gave the kids a chance to try something new,” says Regina Skoy, the 5th grade teacher at Highland Elementary. “It’s a great way to understand their bodies and push themselves to try something out of their comfort zone.” 

MN Joe has been breakdancing for 17 years now and is also a member of BRKFST Dance Company. Even throughout his extensive experience he still remains excited to teach new learners.  

“While breaking is quite difficult and physically demanding,” MN Joe explained, “I was inspired by the students willingness to get out of their comfort zone and try new things.”

 At the end of each day, the kids were allowed to show-off their new found skills. “I had a couple kids stand out with their breaking skills and shine…” Regina raved. “I had a handful of students go into the middle of the “breaking” circle to show off the moves they learned. I was impressed by their courage and the support of the students in the outer circle.”


And for any teacher considering bringing in a COMPAS Teaching Artist Regina gave some preparatory words. “Get ready for your kids to experience some fun. Joe was an engaging artist who had a good balance of new material without overwhelming students that had little background and underwhelming students that have a background in dance.”