Learning about the world through art

Woodland School completes its latest mural


Young artists at Woodland Middle School recently completed their latest masterpiece, a mural depicting the American Theater Dance Workshop in New Hyde Park.

The mural is a painting of ballet dancer Brooke Leventhal, a Woodland student, while surrounded on stage by fellow dancers and a large audience. The mural was drawn by roughly 20 students in Dr. John Healy’s art class.

A photograph taken by Brooke’s mother Michele, during a ballet recital at the dance school, inspired the painting.

“I feel very grateful that I have had this opportunity to represent my dance school,” said Leventhal, 14. “And I feel very humbled and I’m just so amazed at how this art mural came out.”

Learning About the World Through Art is a program that Healy has orchestrated with his students for more than 20 years. He encourages his students to paint murals of various locations that exist throughout Nassau County. Last fall, the students painted the Nassau County Legislature, and the mural is now mounted inside of the county’s Legislative Building in Mineola.

County Legislator Norma Gonsalves, who was present at the unveiling, said that the mural has been extremely well received inside the building.

Healy, with Leventhal and his other students, unveiled their latest mural for the first time at Woodland on May 24. Madeline Dempster, the director of the New Hyde Park dance studio, arrived at the school to witness the finished product. “When I walked in and saw the mural, it absolutely took my breath away,” she said. “It is so beautiful.”

Dempster, who used to teach at Merrick Avenue And Brookside Schools, both in Merrick, opened the American Theater Dance Workshop in 1982. The dance school takes in children beginning at age 3, to adults, and teaches many different disciplines including ballet, Broadway theater dance, musical theater, tap dance and modern. Their famous alumni includes Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman, who trained at the studio as a child, and then returned more recently to prepare for her role in the film, “Black Swan.”

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