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make your day dance

Letting go

May 29th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Tags: ·····

Today’s horoscope — Today is an 8. Write down your thoughts, even if they don’t make any sense, to make space for the new. You may discover that your skills are worth more than you thought.

On the days when I read my horoscope, my engagement with it lasts all of about 10 seconds, as I cast a thought toward whether it applies to my plan for the day.  Then I forget it.

Today, however, it sort of fits — on 2 counts. First, because writing here is something I do in order to make sense of what I do. And second, because just now I’m in the process of letting go to make space for the new.

Oh, I haven’t actually let go yet — the End-of-Year Performance, which has consumed my time these last few weeks, is still 3 days away. At this point, I’m making the program, arranging the music playlist, creating a backup on my iPod, copying the rehearsal videos onto my hard drive, and writing notes for teachers on how to prepare their class on the day of performance.

But I’m letting go of the kids’ performance. It’s up to them now. Each class has one more rehearsal, with no more changes. Critiques & suggestions have given way to “Have fun!”… “If there’s a problem, improvise!”… “Do your best!” Each class has gone as far as developmentally possible just now…

Kindergarteners… have 2 dances, both based on following musical cues. In the first, set to Pathway Puzzles* by Eric Chappelle, they use scarves for juggling, making curvy pathways & making straight pathways, melting & rising with the musical changes of pitch. In the second, they do The Shoemaker dance, with a different locomotor skill during each traveling interlude (walking, jumping, hopping, galloping, skipping, bear walk, crocodile, frog jump, crab walk, and choice dance). Kindergarteners do this dance every year, so when they start dancing, it’s delightful to see the whole audience of older kids do the gesture part with them from the audience!

This year one of the classes has been HUGELY difficult, so their locomotor skills aren’t at the same level as usual. I’m letting go of that. They’ll enjoy the performance, and next year we’ll continue refining their skills.

First graders… have 2 parts of a dance about weather. First, they sing “Rainbow Round Me” with multi-colored scarves, highlighting the colors for sky (blue), clouds (white) & sun (yellow). Then they put the scarves away & join a 4-person dance group for a very structured improv with 3 cinquains about weather that they wrote as a group:

Tall empty
Stretching reaching widening
Weather crosses the sky

Puffy wispy
Flying in the sky, bringing storms, flattening out
Clouds make many shapes

Bright hot
Rising shining setting
The sun is a star

There are 32 1st graders in each class & both classes perform at the same time.  Every single one of them has an opportunity to leap through general space, while others stay in place. Some of them skip, hop or run instead — but I’m letting go of that. They do look wildly free, which was the intent of leaping!

Second, third & fourth graders… are triple threats this year.  They’re acting, singing & dancing in a musical from the Bad Wolf Press (more about that in another post) — a first for me!  They’ve learned the words, so I’ve let go of singing every song with them.

The class that combines 20 fifth graders, 14 self-contained special ed students & 2 students from one of our self-contained autism classes… is a production including narrators, boomwhackers, ribbon sticks, an earthquake, a tsunami, 3 long sheets of blue plastic tablecloth, 14 10′ streamers on sticks, a cymbal, and 2 rolling blackboards with a village scene on one side & Namazu the Earthquake Fish on the other (painted by the kids of course). In the past week, we rehearsed it down from 45 minutes in length to 9 minutes (all having to do with having their props in the right place & knowing their cues). It’s a recreation of the book The Magic Fan by Keith Baker, and it could well fall apart if there are too many absences on the night of the performance (which is always an issue with our families who speak another language at home or work several jobs). I’m letting go of how nuts I was to allow their dance to get so complicated!

The other 5th grade group… is doing fine!  Their dance is called Night in the Wax Museum. It includes a rap, a shape museum with role models coming to life to speak about their accomplishments (5th graders did autobiographies of important figures earlier this year) , and a reversal where the 5th graders teach their historical role models how to dance “their way.”  They all succeeded at getting their choreography done! But now I’m going to have to let them go, cause they’re graduating. Most of them have been with me since they were kindergarteners doing The Shoemaker!

Anyway, it’ll all be over within a few days, with graduation & summer vacation following in a few weeks.  Then, judging by how much time has been going into the prep, there’ll be space and time for something new!  And that’s a good thing. Maybe I’ll get a hint from my horoscope about what’s next — or maybe I’ll figure it out by writing down my thoughts.

*The link for Pathway Puzzles takes you to volume II of Music for Creative Dance by Eric Chappelle, which inexplicably doesn’t include Pathway Puzzles, but honest, it’s on the CD!

3 Comments so far ↓

  • Deborah Robson

    Wish I could come watch!

  • megrm

    It was quite a spectacle! Especially the earthquake/tsunami piece, which actually worked [almost] like clockwork & came in at 9 minutes — which was the goal. Even more impressive was how the kids managed it in the evening, with 2 key people gone & no help from me (since I’m managing the stage while they’re reconfiguring for absences)! Anyway, it’s done. It took all my spare minutes today (between 5 classes) to put away the props from that one piece.

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