Merging Identities through Hula

Abstract of Unit:

Our unit is designed for students grades 3rd-5th and guides students through an introduction to Hula and Hawaiian culture. In addition, the unit will cover topics of Identity and Teamwork to cultivate confident dancers and a strong classroom community. Students will work in small groups to create, respond to, and perform a Hula. Through this unit, your students will grow as dancers and global citizens as they embody Hula!

Gillian Popino

About the creators:

Gillian Popino is an EdM candidate in Dance Education at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Gillian completed her full-time student teaching at Union County Vocational Technical High School, Academy of the Performing Arts in Scotch Plains, NJ, and part-time student teaching at Rahway High School. Gillian interned at American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum in the Summer of 2020, where she worked with different international teaching artists while gaining insight into the dance education industry.

In May 2020, Gillian graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She accomplished making Dean’s list all eight semesters and was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Gillian was honored as a recipient of the Dance Department EdM Dance Education Student Scholarship. In the Summer of 2019, Gillian studied abroad at the Academia Dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy where she met dancers and artists from all over the globe. During her time at Mason Gross, Gillian served as Vice President for Mason Gross Student Government Association, where she worked closely with deans, faculty, and students to create community amongst the arts departments. Gillian interned for two years at the Rutgers Community Arts Center where she assisted regularly in ballet classes, auditions, and ABT Day at Rutgers. Through this internship, Gillian successfully completed the American Ballet Theatre® National Training Curriculum in Pre-Primary through Level Three.

Gillian holds a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher certification through OM Factory NYC and Pilates Mat certification through Polestar Pilates. She has taught yoga and Pilates at various YMCA’s, children’s programs, Edison Retro Fitness, and local yoga studios.

"I hope students gain a deeper understanding of their identity within a group setting through Hula and Hawaiian culture. For teachers, I hope this unit serves to build a positive classroom environment where students work together to create movement."

Cara Stine

About the creators:

Cara Stine is an EdM Candidate in the Dance Education Program at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, with an expected graduation date of May 2021. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Stine was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and graduated with Honors. She is a current member of the National Dance Education Organization and has co-presented about effective teaching in the virtual classroom during an NDEO Professional Development Webinar.

During her time at Rutgers, she completed her clinical teaching experiences at Bayonne High School (BHS), teaching 9th-12th grade students, and at Dr. Antonia Pantoja School 27, teaching pre-school students. At BHS, she developed context and history-based dance lessons as well as the creative exploration of social justice topics, resulting in the collaborative dance film, Intersections. Leadership and advocacy are instrumental in Stine’s teaching practice, leading her to the elected position of Dance Representative with the Mason Gross Student Governing Association, representing the voices and concerns of undergraduate students to department heads. In October 2019, Stine performed at the International Creative Dance Seminar in Beijing, China, with Chien-Ying Wang and Paul Ocampo representing Rutgers University with the performance of (K)Not Tied. In the Fall of 2018, she studied abroad at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England, taking courses in Release, Graham, and pedagogical techniques. Stine is a 200-Hr RYT Vinyasa Yoga Teacher certified through Om Factory in New York City, blending her dance practice with the holistic practice of yoga. With her interest in musical theater, Stine has choreographed for numerous productions including Legally Blonde with the Teen Arts Guild, Anything Goes, Mary Poppins, and A Chorus Line with Haddon Township High School, and Ain’t Too Proud with Barbara Angeline.

"My goal for the Hula Unit is for teachers and students to gain new understandings of themselves and their identity by learning about and embodying the rich and beautiful movement of Hula."