Isn't it always the way? Before going on holidays I was overwhelmed by all that had to be done and just wanted to rest. Now that is all in the past I seem to have heaps of undirected time. So what do I do? Think of dancing all the time! And go over the year to sort out what worked best and how I can improve on the rest.
The photo is of a sweeping dance activity in a pre school class during the year which they loved.
For the last classes of the year I ask for requests. Usually there are many old favourites that come to the fore and I make sure the class contains them.
This year something interesting happened with the pre-teens. For years this group has asked for activities like chairs or going to the office (tucking a cushion under an arm as if it is their lap top and going down straight corridors, up spiral staircases or waiting at the lift). Some how it just didn't do it for them anymore. They have grown out of these scenarios.
Other much requested tasks are- design with jewels, "It's Me!" (a trust exercise where I call a number and that dancer says in a loud voice "It's Me" and all the others rush to support her as she falls to the floor.), different areas of the room have different movements and motor bikes (holding gold tubes in front like handle bars and swerving in between each other).
An other request is for the circle dances for our picnic...great ways to warm up at the time of the year when you just want fun and games without the intensity that is usually part of the class.
What are your students favourite activities? I would love to hear?
After all that work it was over in 2 days and we were packing up the scenery and folding the costumes for another time.
The hours of effort by everyone that go into the production are a labour of love for those involved. One wonderful parent painted each bone on 14 skeletons! Others gave up their time to make dresses, capes,shirts, skirts, pants and wonderfully atmospheric costumes. All totally appreciated by me who hyper ventilates at the sight of a sewing needle.
So what will it be next year? Something a little simpler. Something that does not require mixed groups and no soloists that need to be woven through the story...the logistics of the enterprise are just too difficult with the time available unfortunately.
Slowly the other parts came together. We added Fish (Grade 1/2)
then on dry land the Pirates met a band of Little Pirates (Prep)
who helped them on their way to find the treasure.
They had to travel through the Jungle (Teenagers Contemporary),
meet The Tinkers (Grade 2/3/4),
be introduced to the Parrots (Kinder)
who showed them the way to the Swamp (Teens again)
to be frightened by the Skeletons (Grade 2/3/4)
before finding the Jewels (Grade 5/6)
in the cave where the Treasure Chest
was hidden before they are rescued having done a Horn Pipe!
Almost there! But I felt I need one last very up dance and who better to do it than the teenagers....as if they didnt have enough do already. They came up trumps with a great fun, high energy piece, totally created by them,that many loved the most.
Now I had to create a story. If there was a shipwreck there had to be a storm. This gave me a chance to use large fabric as the calm sea rolling down the stage then small pieces broken up representing the sea as the storm intensified before the ship sank. Good, one dance sorted, eleven to go! Mermaids could rescue the Shipwrecked Pirates but it seemed a good idea to have the teenagers create a dance inspired by the currents beneath the surface before they did. Pre teens with a bit of attitude seemed the best group for the Mermaids. The youngest groups were perfect for Parrots and bands of Small Pirates and another group could be jungle elf type creatures inspired by Tinker Bell but this only was about 30 minutes of dancing.
By July I was in a bit of a panic. It seemed impossible that the small numbers of groups in the school could do enough dancing to make the performance fill the time I wanted. Concern I would be asking too much of the dancers combined with the reality that rarely were the groups complete due to various reasons such as illness, school commitments and birthday parties, plus the three soloists were incredibly busy with other performances, made me even more despondent. Would we be able to make it happen? How would we all feel at the end of the year? And winter seemed to go on forever!
Now the holidays are finally here I think it is good to catch up on the last tumultuous term and write about the process of creating our performance this year.
Sometimes the idea or theme is quite clear and almost formed in my mind but not this year.
My initial inspiration was the fact that my 5 year old grandson was very much into pirates and there was a TV commercial (what it was about I cant remember) that showed a line of youngsters on stage dressed as pirates. In the back of my mind I kept seeing a silhouette of a sailing ship in a similar vein to our previous year's performance. I knew if there was a shipwreck there could be mermaids, the sea, desert islands, jungles, bands of pirates, creepy swamps and treasure. But how to draw it all together? What subject would be appropriate for each class or group? And could it be made to last a hour?
Walking along the beach last summer I started to make up a story in 4 scenes- the sea, the jungle, the swamp and the treasure..............
This is one of my kinder students getting ready back stage and looking as if he is just a little bit excited!
During the rehearsal of the bows he put his hands over his ears when he heard the clapping. I told him he had better get used to applause as he was going to hear lots of it and I was right. Who got the greatest roar from the audience at the performance?....you guessed it.... the kinder Parrots!
Wonders of wonders the weather held off so we could have our Dance Picnic in the park. It looked as though we would have to cancel but the rain stayed away and the sun even shone now and then.
Team arrived as Mr Titch this year and entertained everyone with an interactive Tai Chi demonstration before leading a a rather unusual version of Tai Chi Sword Form.
Then we ran through all our circle dances ending with a spiral that morphs into an archway before becoming a circle again. It is so delightful to see everyone from littlies with their parents through to my super cool teenagers....well I think they are anyway...... joining in together in the simple dances like Negun Itik and King of the Fairies.
It is a lovely way to end the year as the performance is just a memory now and we need to have sense of completion of the year.
Having been very tardy in writing this blog this term due to a feeling of being total overwhelmed by all that has been going on in my life I am going to, now I have some space, review the performance etc in the coming days. So look out for some great photos as it was quite something!