I gave my theatre appreciation class their final assignment. They nearly had a nervous breakdown.
Student: I’m not creative. I can’t possibly do this. I’m a softball player.
Me: How do you know? You haven’t even tried.
Student: I know me.
Me: Do you listen to music?
Me: Have you ever designed sound before?
Student: I don’t even know what that is.
Me: Right. How about you research what a sound designer does before you decide if you can do this. I purposely gave you choices in this assignment so that you could find one which you were most comfortable accomplishing.
Student: (forlornly) Ok…
Although she gave me a forlorn look, I know this young woman well enough to know she’ll try.
My goal is for these young people to see theatre as more than a bunch of actors in films. Luckily this semester,, they enjoyed most of the videos I showed them. And they enjoyed seeing a live production as well. Several students even attended productions on their own (okay, it’s a class requirement, but still…)
One of the outcomes of course is to explore “the collaborative nature of theatre”.
I thought an assignment (set, costume, props, or sound) for a particular play (in this case, “The Importance of Being Earnest”) would be an excellent way to learn about the process of creative collaboration.
The students must research the responsibilities of their chosen designer position, create powerpoint, design, find fabric swatches or paint chips, choosen pre and post show music or make two props. Lastly, they must present their project to the class.
They will evaluate their learning near the end of the semester. That’s when the project will do its magic, I’m hoping. Let’s see if the kids notice any differences in themselves after the project. I’m hoping they’ll come away from it
What they don’t know yet is I plan to throw a kink in the works next week. As the director of the imaginary show, I gave them my concept and color palette. I haven’t decided what I want to throw at them, but they need to learn to be flexible and open minded.
Besides, I hold the gradebook (mwahhaha….)
These students are mostly high school kids, graduating very soon, who are taking the class for college credit. They want absolutes and to regurgitate the information through a series of tests. They have seniorities like crazy. Right now they are hanging on by their fingernails.
I could feel the stress level rise when I assigned this project.
They don’t like changes. They grow impatient with I change due dates or chapter assignments even though I’m very understanding when they were confused and didn’t turn in their work on time. (My fault, really.)
This will be an interesting couple of weeks.
I’ll be back to share the students’ evaluations of the experience. Wish us luck.
Whenever I awaken in the wee morning hours (and that’s a lot!) and can’t fall asleep again, I visualize ballet dancers dancing. Sometimes I’m one of them which is pretty funny since I only attended ballet classes for one semester in college.
First, I see a lovely dance hall with large windows facing the south and east. The walls of the room are a soft pink with white woodwork and of course a golden colored wood floor. Then I hear music playing in the background.
It’s usually some classical piece of music I know well, such as Strauss’ “The Blue Danube Waltz” or Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. Maybe it’s something else such as Beethoven’s “Sonata for Piano No. l”.
I’ve discovered this method of relaxing works equally well if I’m needing an afternoon nap. I search my IPad for the piece of music I like, play it, close my eyes and imagine my dancers.
In my mind’s eye, I see a ballerina in a lovely gown chasse’ across the floor diagonally from corner to corner. Usually, a young man is follow along and catches her ever so often and lifts her into the air. She floats serenely, landing softly on her precious toes. Then up again, so forth and so on.
The next thing I know it’s morning.
I can’t imagine the world without dance. I bet many people can’t either. Dance speaks to us.
Losing the art of dance would be as terrible as losing your ability to express your emotions. What if you simply could not express joy, fear, pride or sorrow?
Dance is a tremendous vehicle for expressing emotions.
Pantomime is movement with no words. I was six years old when my family traveled to Europe. In Paris, we were lucky enough to see Marcel Marceau perform. Wow! My most fond memories are of his mime, The Mask Maker. That was fifty-four years ago, but I remember the performance as if it was yesterday.
If you are thinking I’m some stuffy old lady, I’m not. There are many current performers who sing marvelously. In my opinion, one of the best is Bruno Mars. Some of his lyrics are inappropriate for children, but what a talent. And what great dancing!
A toddler dancing is one of the best testaments to the joy of dance. If you watch closely, you’ll notice they are in their own zone–somewhere else in their mind even with their eyes open. Children will free form it with no concerns about how they appear to others.
This little girl knows the answer to “How meaningful is life without dance?” without even knowing it. Our sweet, perfect granddaughter is always moving. She adores music, too. She’s still a baby, but I think she will express herself through dance, too. I can’t wait! Maybe we’ll have our own video of her boogying. If she’s anything like her momma or auntie, our DVD shelves will be lined with her videos.
I don’t know how humans would cope if we didn’t have the dance. I think I agree with this quote, “Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health — it rusts your spirit and your hips. ~Terri Guillemets”.