News

Kids, Sarah Jessica Parker dance for Michelle Obama at White House talent show

May 20, 2014 at 7:29 PM ET

Sarah Jessica Parker and students from Martin Luther King Jr. School in Portland, Ore., perform at the White House Talent Show on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
Kris Connor / Getty Images
Sarah Jessica Parker and students from Martin Luther King Jr. School in Portland, Ore., perform at the White House Talent Show on Tuesday.

It’s not every day that Sarah Jessica Parker pops in for a cameo performance at a talent show with elementary- and middle-school children.

It’s also not every day that a student talent show takes place in the East Room of the White House.

But on Tuesday afternoon, that’s what happened. First lady Michelle Obama hosted the elaborate — yet down-to-earth — talent show to highlight the importance of arts education in public schools.

First lady Michelle Obama dances on stage with student performers as she and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) host the ...
Carolyn Kaster / AP
First lady Michelle Obama dances on stage with student performers at Tuesday's White House Talent Show. At the event, Mrs. Obama said 6 million children do not have access to art or music instruction in their schools.

The event showcased the work of the Turnaround Arts program, which helps low-performing schools increase student achievement through access to arts education. Major artists — including SJP herself — have adopted schools across the country as part of this effort.

During the show, actress Alfre Woodard led a raucous student brass band, while Sarah Jessica Parker joined an all-girl group performing "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" from the musical "Annie."

NowThis News video: Watch part of Sarah Jessica Parker's dance routine with girls

At the show’s opening, Mrs. Obama said the arts help students get excited about taking their seats in class because they are thinking about the next musical they're performing in or the instrument they can't wait to play.

"But if they're not in their seats then we can't teach them anything at all," she said. "The bottom line here is very clear: Arts education isn't something we add on after we've achieved other priorities, like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It's actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place."

Students from Savoy Elementary School in Washington, D.C., perform at the White House Talent Show on May 20, 2014.
Carolyn Kaster / AP
Students from Savoy Elementary School in Washington, D.C., perform at the White House Talent Show.

In a surprise appearance, President Barack Obama made his own pitch for arts education.

"It is necessary for these young people to succeed that we promote the arts," he said. "It's a priority."

Image: First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Talent Show At White House
Alex Wong
The first lady looks as sophisticated in designer dresses as she does in outfits from J. Crew.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.

TOP