A Winter Wonderland in April
At South Shore Fine Arts Academy, playful and exuberant voices carry throughout a small classroom bustling with children. Amidst the sounds a black scarf is tossed into the air, and a girl watches the scarf with keen eyes as it softly floats down in contrast to its chaotic environment. She jumps up to imitate the scarf, and plops back down to the floor. Then she freezes her movements and mimics the cloth that she sees at rest. As they work in partners for their classroom exercise, another student twirls a brown scarf around like an airplane’s motor propeller, and his classmate runs in circles to keep up with him.
At first glance it seems like the students are participating in one of my favorite childhood pastimes of Simon Says. But it’s actually an exercise intended to help the students learn about dance movement within Elisa Foshay’s dance residency through Urban Gateways. This activity in particular is called “Magician and Dancer” and was one of the many exercises the students used to learn about dance.
Students at South Shore participate in “Statue Garden”
Elisa explains what the students accomplished in this activity: “One [student] manipulates a scarf while the other has gone under the spell of the scarf, their body doing exactly what the scarf is doing. The partners trade roles throughout the activity.” In addition to this exercise, they also participated in a similar game called Statue Garden where students pretended to be statues and their partner copied the same exact form of their classmates.The students’ fun with dance didn’t stop there.
They also did another great activity called “Slowland, Fastland”. In this exercise the room is divided in half using blue cones. On one side of the cones were the Fastland dancers. These dancers pushed their limits by twirling around to see how fast they could actually go. On the other half of the room were the Slowland dancers; these dancers tested themselves to see how slowly they could dance, and their movements were so slow it looked as if they were attempting to resemble someone suspended in space. Some students chose to sprint back and forth behind the cones.
The students definitely demonstrated a lot of hard work, but they made the most progress in being able to remember all of their dance moves for their winter showcase performance, according to Elisa. She mentioned that,
“It’s not a perfectly executed dance by any means, but I think it shows an improved amount of focus and ownership of the movement from the dancers. Re-watching the video now, I notice especially how much less coaching I am doing on what move to do and when.
[In the video below,] you will also hear the high-pitched jingles from the bell bracelets the students wore as a costume piece for the performance.” Overall, the students were able to gain a better understanding of movement within dance by participating in the activities that Elisa offered to them. In their rehearsal video, you definitely see a lot effort on the student’s part to do their best. You will also notice a good amount of enthusiasm as Jingle Bell Rock begins to play, and they jump into place to begin practicing their choreography. Their confidence throughout the performance shows just how much hard work they put into it.
Check out how well the students did in their rehearsal video for the winter showcase!