Immersion Workshops Promote Summer-Long Learning, Spark Inspiration

School’s out, but Urban Gateways continues to send artists to summer programs all over the city from June through August. Featured here, two touring groups led immersion workshops to keep students’ creativity peaked during their vacation.

Pulse Beat Music

Jason Wolf and Andrew Elbert from Pulse Beat Music put on a truly energizing program for about 35 students participating in Greeley Elementary’s after-school program at Gill Park. The June 16 workshop began with a resounding half-hour performance in the gym, during which Jason and Andrew introduced the students to drum types and percussion styles from West Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Brazil. Their expert performance wowed the young audience, so that when the second part of the program arrived and it was time to circle up in the classroom across the hall, students were itching to get their hands on the instruments. The Pulse Beat musicians passed out small drums and tambourines and led students through a simple rhythm, which, once mastered, allowed them to move on to soloing and singing. Throughout the process, Jason and Andrew stressed the importance of listening and of making organized sound (music) rather than unorganized sound (noise). The resulting music (which was definitely music) had everyone in the room, after-school instructors included, jamming in their seats. Thanks to the Chicago Park District for including this program in their Night Out in the Parks series!

Click HERE or on the image to see photos by Lucas Anti:

Chicago Dance Crash

On June 29, five members of Chicago Dance Crash arrived at Pope John Paul II School on Chicago’s southwest side for a touring performance and post-show workshop of their own. About 40 students (ranging from kindergarten all the way up to 8th grade) watched in awe as the dancers showed off their skills in ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, and krump dance styles. After a full group number to open the show, the dancers explained the history of each discipline, gave an example, and then had students suggest mix-and-matches between dance and music styles – for example, the ballet dancer improvised to a hip-hop song – to show how all genres are interconnected and build off of each other. After an explosive multidisciplinary finale, students spent an hour learning dance moves under the guidance of two Dance Crash performers. Between the physical activity, the electrifying performances, and the pop soundtrack, everyone from age 5 to 14 left exhausted and excited.

Click HERE or on the image to see photos by Alayna Kudalis:

Thanks to Pulse Beat Music, Greeley Elementary, Gill Park & the Chicago Park District, Chicago Dance Crash, and Pope John Paul II School for helping Urban Gateways to provide enriching summer programs!