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From the Bottom of Their Soles:
Arts, Education and Achievement in
an American Public High School

What happens when an entire city says “The Arts matter”? This film unveils a public-school model built on a foundation of civic, cultural and educational values that consider education without the arts incomplete. In Worcester — a typical midsize, multi-ethnic, working-class city in Central Massachusetts — every September more than 100 students show up in the Burncoat High School dance studio. Every May they perform to a sold-out audience at the Hanover Theatre, one of the top theaters in the world. In the nine months between, they learn more than just how to dance.

The dramatic arc of the film follows the 2011-12 school year from opening fall classes through the climactic spring dance concert to graduation in June. Four years of filming telescope back into previous years' classes, rehearsals and performances but also forward into graduates' lives today, where they are using the skills they learned in Room H15 — skills such as perseverance, teamwork, problem solving and “thinking outside the box” required for success in our “innovation economy“ and in life.

From the Bottom of Their Soles highlights the cause-and-effect links between arts education, creativity and achievement that should be possible in any American public high school.


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