Experiencing Interruptions?

Toe the Line: Arts Education for Life

An at-risk student desperate to "be somebody" enrolls in a public high school dance program created by a former Rockette. Toe the Line sheds light on the true value of arts education as it follows Tasha Gaye and her peers through four years at an underfunded urban arts magnet high school.

  • Barbara S Copithorne
  • Joan Sheary
    Key Cast
    "Choreographer, Dance Program Founder"
  • Kellie Shea
    Key Cast
    "Choreagrapher, Teacher"
  • Barbara Copithorne
  • David Copithorne
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 19, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    125,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Barbara S Copithorne

Barbara Copithorne was a book and magazine editor for 20 years in New York City, Boston, and San Francisco before switching to visual storytelling. She founded Aquarius Video in 2009.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

My 27-year-old daughter has danced her whole life. The discipline of dance has instilled in her a work ethic, focus and self-confidence that she carries with her every day. When she went to summer camp in 1999, I met Joan Sheary, her dance instructor there. The production of Oliver that Joan put on with kids aged 9 to 16 was unforgettable.

Fast-forward ten years, and I'm a film-school student who has to create a documentary. So I asked Joan if I could observe her public-school dance program in Worcester, Massachusetts. I hoped to catch some of that magic on film so I could create a five-minute short to complete my class requirement.

But once I started shooting, I couldn't stop. Joan and her students allowed me to embed myself in their classroom for more than five years. Through the camera lens, I watched Joan mentor and challenge them to perform and excel beyond their own expectations. And I came to understand how and why dance-or theatre or music or any other art form-gives you the resilience and skills to succeed in life.

As a passionate believer in, and advocate for, public arts education, I am convinced that the arts are a vehicle for children of all ages to achieve academic success. As a filmmaker, I am blessed to be able to bring you this story.