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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

French Teacher Megan Kirby ‘Turns’ to the Dance Studio

Dance+and+French+teacher+Megan+Kirby+instructs+Dance+1+students+on+the+proper+form+and+technique+of+pique+turns.+%E2%80%9CTheres+a+lot+of+learning+from+mistakes+involved+and+developing+skill%5Bs%5D+and+having+a+growth+mindset%2C%E2%80%9D+Kirby+said.
Aditi Salunkhe
Dance and French teacher Megan Kirby instructs Dance 1 students on the proper form and technique of pique turns. “There’s a lot of learning from mistakes involved and developing skill[s] and having a growth mindset,” Kirby said.

When dance and French teacher Megan Kirby began her career at Portola High in 2016, her classes mainly consisted of VAPA-related courses: French 1, Dance 1, Technical Theater and Drama 1. However, she stopped teaching dance and technical theater after the 2016-17 school year. Due to the expansion of the dance program, Kirby resumed teaching Dance 1 and Dance 2 this year; as well as, French 2, French 3 and AP French.

Kirby’s dance journey began in childhood. As a member of her high school dance team and the California Conservatory of the Arts, her goal was debuting on Broadway, according to Kirby. She followed her passions by becoming a dance and French teacher at Portola High, and she is now able to do what she loves, according to Kirby.

“I started taking college classes and got really invested in French,” Kirby said. “So then I decided I was going to be a French teacher and I kind of took a step back, but I kept dancing throughout college.” 

French and dance are two different subjects. However, aspects of French are applicable to the dance studio since both subjects share underlying qualities, such as similar terminologies, according to Kirby. 

“It is kind of tricky to decide if I want to say a lot of dance terms in French, like a lot of the terminology, especially in ballet,” Kirby said. “A lot of people would say them differently, with an American accent, so [I have to decide] do I go full French with the dance terminology or do I split the middle?” 

In addition, it takes creativity to both move one’s body to dance rhythms and acquire a new language, according to dance student and sophomore Saanvi Gangireddy.

“[Dance and French are] both creative. Most people here know English, and then they don’t know French,” Gangireddy said. “So, they need to use the creative side of their brain to be able to learn a new language, as well as dance, where you’re able to move your body to a certain rhythm.” 

Obtaining confidence is a shared aspect across the two subjects, according to Dance 1 student and sophomore Linh Nguyen, who had Kirby as her French teacher last year. 

“You get to really focus on your skills and I also feel like it kind of improves your confidence,” Nguyen said. “Especially with French, I felt more confident in speaking. Then in dance, I have more confidence in myself.”

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About the Contributors
Mary Lee, Staff Writer
Mary Lee is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. Unless she is refreshing her Google Classroom page to check for any announcements or assignment updates from her teachers, you can find her listening to flutist Sir James Galway and gawking at his impeccable tone and musicality. She hopes to learn about diverse perspectives on and off campus, one pomodoro at a time. Widening her writing experience is a life goal, and she is confident the Portola Pilot will bring her one step closer to reaching it.
Aditi Salunkhe, Assistant Sports Editor
Aditi Salunkhe is the Assistant Sports Editor for her second year on the Portola Pilot. When she’s not stressing about final draft deadlines, you can find her watching true crime documentaries or going on long runs with her cross country teammates. In her freetime, she often reads mystery books in bed with her favorite snacks.
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