Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Big school project

I have just started a new project with a technology college. It's a big challenge. I have four groups of about 25 kids aged between 9 and 15. Most of them with no dance experience. I see them once a week every week and after four months we need to have a show ready. It is very exciting and challenging. I have taught many workshops to similar kids but I never had to take on such a big project.

The show has to be about the history of the college as we will be celebrating its 140th anniversary. There is a media artist working with me. He is going to work with the kids as well. We also have the English Department involved. They will provide us with material such as poems, texts, etc. The show will be performed in the college so not on a proper stage but in a hall.

We're only just starting. I have seen the pupils three times so far. My aim is to get as much choreographic material from them as possible. It would be too easy to come and teach them every move. I want them to be creative and involved. It's not easy though. One of the groups in particular really needs to be spoon fed. So, for my next session I have decided to teach them a little choreography that they will have to transform. Other groups have been extremely creative with very little input so I think it will be easy to get something out of them.

The main reason why it is such a challenge isn't because they don't have much dancing experience. It is, I believe, because they are doing it as part of a school subject. They didn't really choose to be involved. The other thing making it a challenge is that each of the sessions are 50 minutes long. It is a very short time within which I have to warm them up and then create and rehearse a choreography. I have been talking with the teachers to maybe have some longer sessions.Creating with kids takes time.

The first three sessions went very well. I had them improvise, learn a choreography and make up their own. So from the next session on, we need to start devising choreography. The making of the show begins!

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