Teaching Dance to Underprivileged Kids

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Teaching Dance to Underprivileged Kids

Once prejudices enter the human mind they are not likely to leave it again. In the short story “Teaching Dance to Underprivileged Kids” the main character Carrie Lerner is a good example of this. She cannot let go of her prejudices against black people and this leads to an irrational fear of them. The short story takes place at a dance institute in Newark, a city in the state of New Jersey. Newark is described by the narrator, Carrie Lerner, as a city of poor and underprivileged people. Most of the students at the dance institute are black and they are also described as underprivileged. Carrie Lerner is 22 years old and has just graduated from a big and prestigious women’s college, known as Mount Holyoke, where the students were predominantly white people from the middleclass. She is an ambitious and goal-directed person who wants to be a great dancer; actually she wants to be the best. After her graduation she takes the job as a dancing teacher at the dance institute in Newark because she has no money and nowhere else to go. She also wants to attach signification to her work and Carrie believes that she has something to offer the underprivileged students at the institute. She decides to teach them the possibilities of art, but she gets very disappointed and upset when she sees her students for the reason that they are terrible dancers. Carrie gets to know the music coordinator Andy, who is black man, and he cares a lot about Carrie. But the activity program coordinator, Lorraine, is keeping an eye on Carrie and Andy and it seems that she disgusts them being together. The fact that Andy gets quite close to Carrie and even more that Lorraine is watching them suddenly makes Carrie much aware of Andy’s skin colour. Formerly Carrie had divided people in two groups: dancers and those who didn’t dance. But know she starts to think of people as either black or white and she realizes that the majority of her students are...
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