Putting On A Show

Riverside Elementary teachers add Carnival Prep to lesson plans


Jessie Weiler

Ariana Matt, left, and Kaylee Oubre, right, lead elementary students in dance practice for this weekend’s Carnival Ball.

Jessie Weiler, Elementary Editor

Every spring, Riverside Academy’s preschool and elementary teachers have to prepare an extra lesson plan in their day — dance practice. It’s all part of the Riverside Carnival Ball tradition.

Each year the school hosts the Krewe Bord de L’eau Carnival Ball, a dazzling two-night spectacle with Mardi Gras royalty ruling over the Riverside Academy gym in glittering costumes. The junior court presentation will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 and the senior court will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m..  Besides the presentation of the royal courts, guests are treated to a full slate of dance numbers performed by the elementary students.

That’s where the teachers come in.

The Pre-K through fifth grade teachers are tasked with choosing an appropriate song to go with the overall theme, then choreographing and teaching their students the moves. Some teachers get help from members of the Southern Sweethearts dance team and elementary secretary Brandi Wheelahan assists with all of the above.

For the teachers, it’s both fun and chaotic.

“It’s fun, chaotic and a little bit crazy, but overall the kids love it,” said kindergarten teacher Kailee Bivens. “It really benefits the school, so it is worth it and I do enjoy it.”

Bivens said, she made up the dance this year so it was a little more stressful, but she had a lot of input from her charges.

“I kind of just went how they led me,” Bivens said. “I felt like some of the things I thought of went over their heads. They actually asked to change some of the moves and do something that they liked better so I found that made them enjoy it even more because they helped put it together.”

Senior Southern Sweetheart Ariana Matt said she had two first grade classes to teach this year.

“It’s very fun because they love dancing,” she said. “You have to have patience. Even though we have to do it, you have to love to do it.”

The Krewe Bord de’Leau will “Explore the Coral Kingdom” on Friday, Feb. 3 and 4 in the school gym.

Paxton Wheelahan will reign as King Rebel the XLIV and Chloe Arceneaux will be Queen Dixie the XLIV in the Junior Court Presentation on Friday, Feb. 3. Joining Wheelahan and Arceneaux other court members include: Prince Brody Vicknair and Princess Avery Cashio; First Duke Will Rauch and Maid Emerson LeBlanc; Second Duke Owen Guidry and Maid Ryleigh Edwards; Third Duke Cruz Cambre and Maid Emma Babin; Fourth Duke Eli Guidry and Maid Brinley Roccaforte; Fifth Duke Pierre Rauch and Maid Miley Loupe; Sixth Duke Andrew Babin and Maid Cameryn Diamond; Seventh Duke Byron Evans and Maid Kayla Rummel; Eighth Duke Brock Brisset and Maid Payton Williams; Ninth Duke Jett Barraco and Maid Jenna Rummel; Tenth Duke Dale Shadell and Maid Paisley Molina.

Taye Drake will reign as King Rebel XLIII and Madison Oubre will be Queen Dixie XLIII in the Senior Court presentation on Saturday, Feb. 4. Joining Drake and Oubre other court members include: Prince Mason Meyer and Princess Hailey Millet; First Duke Craig Matt and Maid Ariana Matt; Second Duke Emile Graugnard and Maid Kaylee Oubre; Third Duke Caden Millet and Maid MaKayah LaRose; Fourth Duke Noah Trepagnier and Maid Lea St. Pierre; Fifth Duke Thomas Mazzella IV and Maid Anna Mistretta; Sixth Duke Mason Smith and Maid Sydney Knoy; Seventh Duke Daniel Juneau and Maid Ava Fernandez.

Tickets are $7 for one night and $10 for both nights. They will be sold in the school office through Wednesday, Feb. 1. Tickets will be sold at the door. All tickets are general admission.