I have started a new blog for the 2010-2011 school year: Artists in the Classroom (10-11)
I have also created a new site: Artists in the Classroom I feel like this site might eventually evolve into a resource and hub for anyone connected to or interested in the arts and public education:
Have a beautiful school year!
A performance, in a any school setting, should be first and foremost for and about the students. I believe this deeply. It is about giving everyone an equal opportunity to experience the production process: brain storming, play, creating, rehearsing, fine tuning, performing. It’s not about who has the most “talent” or about making the school or teacher look good - it is about supporting students through a new experience, giving them a quality taste of (in my case the performing) arts so they at least have the opportunity to decided for themselves what role dance, for example, will play in their life, both directly and indirectly.
That being said, I think it’s also possible to make pieces, at the elementary level, that an audience will actually WANT to watch - not just because it’s their child up there, or student, or friend, or family member, but pieces that people want to watch because they are in and of themselves dynamic, and interesting, and impressive, and are being performed by invested performers who are showcasing their unique talents.
I have been to many school performances this past year, many shows, many programs, many graduation ceremonies. And the most spectacular thing for me is to feel the shift that happens to an audience when they go from humoring the performers to being genuinely interested in and captivated by the performance. It’s absolute magic. And everyone can feel it. Especially the students who are performing. That, I think, is an arts education experience of the highest caliber - when students know what it feels like to be an integral part of something important, something that is bigger than they are, and something that made a real impact on the most important people in their lives.
That’s my goal for next year. To try to approach this ideal. At every school. With every student.