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Performing Service Through Dance

| Jessica Wicklund

Sydney Rabata

With 12 years of dancing experience, the performing arts have been a cornerstone for growth in Sydney Rabata’s life. The choral education major was asked to participate in a collaborative theatre workshop between the Baraboo Theatre Guild, Creative Alliance of Baraboo and the Parks and Recreation Department of Baraboo.

“It was a really big undertaking. I volunteered my time to teach the kids about the beauty of theatre and drama, basic vocal and choreography techniques.”

The three Baraboo organizations hosted a month-long workshop which would introduce youth to the performing arts and prepare them for a live performance at the end of the workshop to a live audience. Over the course of the month, Sydney worked closely twice a week with 30 children ranging in age from seven to 12.

“The main job was the choreography which was really fun. I created six different numbers for the final performance which was Jack and the Beanstalk. I was also the stage manager, helped with advertising and attended budget meetings and music direction.”

“It was really exciting to see all that goes on behind the scenes. I realized how much energy and time actually goes into creating a production. It taught me a lot about time management and patience,” Sydney said. “I learned how to adapt quickly in situations when an idea doesn’t work as well as I had planned.”

The workshop provided Sydney with a clearer understanding of her passion. “It reinforced my feelings about teaching. At that age, you have to repeat things over and over in order for directions to stick. But it was great getting a chance to work with kids, especially experiencing their positive response to the workshop.”

Sydney explained why her service-learning project made a difference in not only 30 young students from Baraboo. “Keeping the arts alive is a crucial need for communities all over the world. The arts are one of the purest expressions of the human experience, and to be able to give children an outlet to express themselves is absolutely vital, because it helped me a lot when I was younger.”

“I know service-learning is a requirement for graduation, but it is really rewarding to do anyway. I still want to keep volunteering after this experience, because it is beneficial to everyone. I also learned about the importance of collaborating with other people. This would have never happened if the three groups hadn’t worked together.”