MIRAMAR — Voices rang out loudly and clearly as more than 1,200 students took a stand against bullying during two performances at an educational program hosted by the Miramar Cultural Center/ArtsPark.
Students in grades four through eight from schools in the Miramar, Everglades, West Broward, McArthur, and Flanagan zones of the Broward School District first viewed the anti-bullying dance program Through the Red Door, and then simultaneously recited the Silence is Participation anti-bullying pledge.
Through the Red Door was co-presented by Nest of Living Arts’ (NOLA), comprised of students ages 12-19, and the city of Miramar.
The performance, an original concept created by NOLA founder and director Nolwen Lalanne, used dancing, acting and the spoken word to educate and raise awareness about the bullying epidemic taking place in schools.
The performance also included personal testimonials from the student performers to the audience about their bullying experiences.
“I created this program because combining movement and acting with dialogue is a such a powerful visual expression of emotion and one which I felt would engage the students much more strongly than just a lecture about bullying,” said Lalanne.
Miramar Mayor Lori Cohen Moseley and Commissioners Yvette Colbourne and Wayne Messam also addressed the students.
According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and the Florida Department of Education, almost 20 percent of students nationwide said they had been bullied in 2011, and approximately 256,600 Florida public high school students, about 33 percent, have experienced some form of bullying, teasing, or name calling.
“Our educational programming is committed to placing a key focus on the arts and its position in learning,” said Miramar Cultural Affairs Deputy Director Camasha Cevieux. “This commitment promotes education through theatrical productions, music, dance, art exhibitions and other event activity. When the center engages the valuable contributions of schools, local artists and arts organizations with student experiences, its purpose is realized.”
This is the second year the center has hosted Through the Red Door and officials say plans are to bring the program back next year.