Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Poetry in Motion at Union County Academy for Performing Arts

I started Poetry in Motion at Scotch Vo Tech at the end of December. From the moment I began working with the students, I found them to be very open and determined. This was surprising to me considering they were in ninth grade (I really had no idea what to expect). The ideas for movement and dance were created from their own poetry that was guided by the poet Arthur Wilson. Actually the most challenging part of the project was choosing which of their poems to create to; to really narrow in on a few ideas from a huge pile of others words. We then divided the students into different groups, one with me and one with Arthur (the poet, who created a great script for the students).

Through out the next couple of months I met with the students about eight times. Each time I would warm them up and then give them different improv exercises. I wanted them to feel that the movement was coming naturally from themselves. In fact a lot of them had never danced before and I felt inspired watching how organic their created movement was. And for some of the trained dancers, I could see that it was a bit more challenging for them not to stylize their movements. Though in time and with constant reminders of what they were supposed to be imagining or feeling, each and everyone of them was dancing and creating from the inside out.

The most rewarding part of teaching dance to me is seeing how much your students grow. I feel very blessed to have seen this every time I worked with them. It was amazing to watch them trust themselves and each other more. After eight long rehearsal of constant searching and creating, through their willingness and determination, they shared a very powerful performance and grew tremendously as artists.
-Teri Miller (company dancer)

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