In February, I was able to take my platform, Raise The Barre, at two more elementary schools in Rochester.
The students at Franklin and Gage Elementary did such a great job dancing and creating their own movement through my Raise The Barre workshops. "Smart dancers" has been a phrase I've heard for a long time growing up dancing...honestly, it's because dancers are
"Students who study an art are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and 3 times more likely to be awarded for school attendance."
I loved teaching them some ballet and dance terms like, "batment" and "chane turn." The students giggled because they thought "batment" sounded like Batman. I explained that ballet terms are all spoken in French, so some of the words are tricky to pronounce. They performed both dance movements wonderfully, with a little help from me along the way.
These students were so creative with the improvisation and choreography activities I
challenged them with. One of their favorite activities were our "themed dances." I brought along pieces of paper with big letters on them to do a word scramble. I had some students volunteer to hold up a letter and show their classmates. The class had to re-arrange the students to figure out what word would be our theme of the day! The word was "Fire."
I had the students form small groups of six and stand in a circle. As I went around to each group, I asked them, "How would you dance or move if you were holding a ball of fire?"
The students moved quickly, turned, jumped back and forth and described fire as: hot, rapid, passion, smoke, rolling, red and orange, and wild.
After our group activity, I had the class sit at the front of the gym to form an audience. I asked them, "What do we need to do to be good audience members?" They knew right away to be respectful, listen, and observe. It's so important to show students how to listen to each other, even when we are dancing and communicating through movement. A small group volunteered to go center stage to
show their class a presentation of "fire."
Afterwards, students raised their hand to describe what movements they observed. They included level changes, speed descriptions. the weight of the movements, and what kinds of shapes they found interesting.
Dancing and creating movement isn't easy; however, describing movement quality is just as hard. These students did such a wonderful job participating as dancers and audience members.