French classes go see ‘An American In Paris’

Taron Masi, Writer

J’ai du rythme, j’ai de la musique, j’ai ma fille. Qui pourrait demander quoi que ce soit de plus?

“I have rhythm, I have music, I have my girl. Who could ask for anything more?” On Nov. 19, French teacher Nicole Chouinard and her French 3 and IB classes got to listen to classic lines like this one from the cast of An American In Paris at the Wharton Center in Lansing. The show allowed the students to learn more about France and it’s language.

“I enjoyed the performance so much,” said sophomore Zoe Simmerman. “The dancing, singing and acting were out of this world. All around, the performance was one of my favorites. The actors truly brought the story to life. It was way more fun seeing the show with people from my class than going alone or with my parents.”

An American In Paris combines the energies of singing, dancing and acting to tell the story of an up and coming ballet dancer, Lise Caron. It takes place in Paris in the years following WWII. Here she meets two American men who became instantly infatuated with her and her dancing. The show blends French culture and language into their stories, which gave the French students a learning opportunity.

“I thought that the performance was amazing,” sophomore Anna Advant said. “All of the
actors and actresses were very good at singing and dancing. They portrayed their roles really great. My favorite part of the trip was being able to experience this with all of my friends from French class. It made the trip really enjoyable.”

The Students and chaperones rode on a bus to the Wharton Center of Performing Arts in East Lansing. There they were seated on the balcony of the theater to watch the professional performance.

“It was a bunch of fun,” said senior Arlo Simmerman. “Cassie Menzies and I both love musicals so we were enthralled the whole time. It was interesting to hear what everyone else had to say about the show. The big dance number between the two main characters, Jerry and Lise, was definitely my favorite but the opening sequence was a close second.”
Chouinard, has planned trips like this before. In her previous teaching positions, she took students to see Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables. As an educator, she is constantly looking for creative ways outside of school to give her students new experiences.

“Essentially we went to the Wharton Center at MSU to take the kids to see An American In Paris,” said Chouinard. “I’m always looking for fun ways to expose the kids to French culture and European culture. To be able to give them an experience they wouldn’t normally have was just a really good time. Our students totally represented Fenton well. It was an opportunity for them to go out and show what great young adults they are.”

The musical allowed students to engage in their learning outside of school. It was a new opportunity to learn about their foreign language through song and dance. Leaving them saying ‘Merci’ to their teacher.