Spanish language is not the only thing being taught in Todd Barton’s Wayne County High School
Spanish classes. In addition to the written and verbal Spanish words his students master, they have been
exposed to some important and interesting cultural aspects.
This semester students benefited from a perk that involved more movement. It was quite a
stretch from being stationed at their computer screens wearing headsets as they translate Spanish
words through the successful Rosetta Stone web application during class.
Barton’s wife, Pili, from Jerez de la Frontera in Southern Spain in the province of Cádiz, was
joined her husband at school and shared her passion for dance with his classes.
“Normally, we get speakers from local businesses or from close by,” said Barton. “Not from
Europe and a full blooded Spanish speaking native.”
Barton, a newlywed, could not have been prouder to be joined by his wife as she shared a form
of a flamenco dance called the Sevillanas with his students. The dance is quite beautiful and very
popular in southern Spain in Andalucia.
Pili, a tall graceful Spanish-speaking woman was delighted to share the choreographed dance
and patiently teach the teenagers the steps. She has been performing the dance for nearly 45 years and
loves to teach it and demonstrate it.
During each class period, the students were put in lines so they could follow the dance steps Pili
was leading them in, making the most of the floor space in the classroom. Barton said it had been
interesting to see that the los chicos (boys) showed more emotion in their moves. Students learned the
dance steps, as well as using their arms to emulate the dance. Somewhat miraculously, the students
adapted during the short class period as they learned the first Sevillana that is composed of three parts.
They focused on the paseíllo, which was the first part of the dance.
Pili was dressed in a beautiful black lace handmade dress that she had stitched. The Spanish
dancers take a lot of pride in their costumes. The dress accommodated the fluid moves, which were
certainly not robotic. She used her arms and eyes to show expression.
“The emotion for the woman is in her hands…you’ve got to have fun with it,” explained Pili.
“She makes it look so elegant,” said Barton, as she led the students. “It is really beautiful to
The students were a bit bashful at the start of the dance lesson, but by the end they were more
confident and enjoying themselves. One boy said it would be fun to do it at a school dance. The dance
class unit culminated in a celebration event with Spanish food and dancing a few days later.
Pili is currently involved in the immigration process, so not long after volunteering at school, she
had to return to Spain temporarily. She will be permitted to return to Monticello towards the end of the
school year. When she receives her residency in the United States, she wants to teach and work with the
people of Kentucky.
While the Sevillana dance is considered a happy celebratory dance, it also reflects the Barton’s
love story. The couple met in 1986 when Barton was on a church mission trip in Spain and then lost
touch with each other.
“Thirty-two years later, we got married,” said Barton, explaining that they were reunited on
Facebook last December. He traveled to Spain and proposed last April and they married June 9. Since
getting married, they have only been together in three-month increments due to the immigration
paperwork, so they will be thankful once the process reaches completion.
Spanish teacher Todd Barton and his wife Pili Barton speaking about how men differ in the dance
(L-R) McCade Kelly, Rylee Keith, and Maggie Stinson
Pili demonstrates a position to start the dance
Students Brittany Sherman (left) and Andrew Perdew (right) keeping up with the steps
Pili Barton leads the class in the steps to the dance
McCade Kelly (left) and Lauren Antoine (right) focus on Pili's instructions
Savannah Stapleton learning a step from Pili
Parker Bell (left) and Nathan Alcorn (right) learning the Sevillanas
(Above and below) 6th peroid Spanish class concluded their dance
Pili and Todd Barton