Well, thinking I would actually get a post out last week was somewhat ambitious. One needs time for that! Here goes for this week – even busier, but let’s see. One thing is for sure – it will be loooooong.
Coming back from the break, a new group of classes began.
Grade 1 is working on developing creativity through improvisation. Students started by talking about their understandings of what creativity is and when people can be creative. They were encouraged to write, draw, discuss and share. They then began thinking about how to move in their space in creative ways. Quick, spontaneous movements were encouraged to remove constraints – not “this is what I should do”, but “I’m doing THIS!” The next few lessons involved movement with and without a partner, exploring how their body could move in a variety of ways. A couple of lessons had to be re-planned due to the loss of the dance studio for sports requirements and some lessons are to be rescheduled as I was the person in charge of an Artist in Residence (read – no breaks for any reason), but overall the theme of creativity has been maintained. Over the next few weeks, improvisation will play a key role in assisting students to understand, appreciate and willingly explore movement.
Grade 3 is looking at how dance reflects cultural values, beliefs and expectations. They were invited to answer the questions “Why do people dance?” and “What does dance show about culture?” Ideas included dance tells stories, shows faith, entertains and teaches. From there, students started watching dance clips that showed just those ideas and then were invited to explore ways in which they would move to show these ideas. This will be the bulk of their exploration over the next couple of weeks, before they start to choreograph. A day was taken out of regular lessons for the Artist in Residence – more on that below.
Prep students were asked for their ideas on the coming Spotlight in April. As they now know the 8 qualities of movement from Laban, we have started working on dance elements, (use of Body, Space, Time, Energy and Relationships in movement) incorporating Laban into those elements. The first week the focus was on use of space – above, below and around. Large and small groupings in their space was investigated. This has been followed by locating their place in space consistently. Further greeting songs with related actions have been shared. Instruments are currently being rested as they were a large focus in recent months.
The Young Americans came! This year they worked with grades 6 AND 5. Mrs Butler was the teacher in charge and literally worked from dawn to dusk ensuring the days ran smoothly and efficiently. The YAs come from a performing arts university in the States and tour the world as part of their programme, teaching younger children in multiple countries. CDNIS has had a long relationship with them and it is wonderful to see them return, getting our students moving, creating, singing and dancing with joy and confidence in an intense two or three day programme. Grade 6 had an evening performance for their families and Grade 5 an afternoon show.
The Artist in Residence for G3 and 4 was the Cris Derksen Trio. A performing group from Canada, the Trio was here in Hong Kong performing in different events around the city – and we were lucky enough to have them for their final day. In a word, they were AWESOME. Ms Derksen played the cello and showed the students how she made interesting sounds using her cello and electronic equipment to create loops and echoes. Mr Osawamick showed the children how to do basic Pow Wow steps and wowed his audiences with the grace and complexity of his hoop dance. Mr Baird showed the children how drumming matched the heartbeat and how they could all drum in unison while Ms Derksen played and Mr Osawamick danced. You can see more about them here: https://canadacouncil.ca/spotlight/2017/01/cris-derksen and photos/film can be accessed here.
The ASAs have had a few disruptions due to breaks and learning reviews but the US ASA students completed their number during an extra rehearsal this week. The students blew me away with their dedication. Look for them on the live stream or come to the dress rehearsal on Wednesday Jan 30 starting at 2.45pm
The LS ASA due to disruption has yet to complete their number and the final 30 seconds or so will be a focus in the coming week, with some rehearsals during their lunch break (and mine). I spent Learning Review days making their antennae and blinging up wings in between the 40 odd interviews. I have to thank Mr Ko for ordering resources (including custom made leotards as per the girls’ wishes), Mrs Butler for sewing on the wings, and Ms Rubaiya for her ideas and suggestions during wing-bling time – and of course the girls for happily providing their wishes during the design stage. Several parts of their dance has been self choreographed – see if you can spot which parts!
Due to the intense amount of work hours lately, I am running slightly behind with photo and film uploads. However, keep an eye out as footage is going up, albeit slowly.
Our featured image shows two third grade students’ thoughts on dance.