Friday, March 7, 2014

Rainbow Performances/Process-Based Learning Through Performance - The Rainbow Flower and The Rainbow Dance - STEPHANIE

Part 1:  Constructing
The girls spent a bit more time figuring out their groups.  After several brainstorming sessions, the girls reorganized and new groups emerged.

Five of the girls, including (L, E.K, A.L, M, T) began storyboarding “The Rainbow Dance” - a play.  There was lengthy discussion about the story line and the girls fleshed out the main components as they worked.  When the girls finished their storyboards, I took their dictation.  Because they had collaborated so closely with one another their stories had very similar elements.
E.K., M, & T collaborate on their storyboards.
Storyboard Dictation:

E.K.:  I call Aphrodite.  She comes in.  She was born in a clamshell under the water.  Then we have cookies and milk and talk.  Then she leaves and goes to get her sister (A.L.) who is Iris.  And they conference.  She says she can’t go back to the castle.  Then I come along and send Iris to the farmer and the bunny.  And I send them a message that they need rain for the crops.  And then we use A.L.’s idea for a rainbow bridge to show how a rainbow is made.
L:  E.K. is there in the palace with a peacock.  And then she says, “It’s dinnertime.”  So I come into the house and I eat dinner, then I go back outside inside and I say to one of my sisters, “Iris, do you want to go to the other palace?” And then on the way there, E.K. gives her a message to go down to earth and we meet. 

A.L.:  So it’s easier.  It’s kind of like L’s in the first three things. So Hera, the queen is going to be calling Aphrodite to come in and then they’re going to chat and Aphrodite’s going to leave.   They chat for a while and they say bye-bye.  They are chatting about what to send Iris down the rainbow bridge.  Hera calls, “Iris”.   I come and we talk and she tells me what message and I go down and deliver the message.  We use the light and the light bulbs from the ceiling and then jars of water where the rainbow is supposed to be and which will be on a bear block and we’ll cover it with like fabric.  And I know that sunlight and water make a rainbow!

Meanwhile, a second group - Group #2 (E.S. and N.B.) - decided they would work on an interpretive movement piece.   N.B. drew out her plans for the choreography and I observed the girls practicing the moves.  I checked in with the girls.  E.S. expressed that she wanted to be more involved in the process.  The girls talked through some of the ideas that E.S. wanted to bring to the piece.
N.B. & E.S. working on their movement piece.
Movement Sequence - E.S. & N.B.
Description of Movement Piece - E.S. & N.B.
Initially P. wanted to create a song but was hesitant to share this idea with the class.  We had many conversations on the matter privately, but she was still undecided about how to best pursue this course of action.  We did give her the space to test the waters and to think about how to be true to her creative self.  Of her own choice, she ultimately decided to join the other girls.  Even though she came back to working with a larger group, P. developed an understanding that she can safely explore taking creative risks when the time is right for her.

And A.C. was already working hard independently on her Rainbow Flower play.
A.C.'s storyboard

Like P., A.C. wasn’t sure where to find her place within the work of the group, and decided to try striking out on her own.  This made things a little easier for her in that she did not have to manage the delicate process of negotiating with others, but it also made her work much more challenging – she had to be all the characters within her play, rehearse and remember her lines all by herself, and process feedback about her work on her own….and perform by herself, which can feel overwhelming in and of itself. 

PART 2:  The Value of Collaborative Work

When we met again, there would be yet another re-alignment of groups.  As N.B. & E.S. began rehearsing, I could hear frustration in their voices.  I sat with them to check in. 

N.B.:  I just don’t think there is anything we can add to this piece (the movement piece). 

N.B. looks at the written description of the movement piece.  She seems visibly frustrated.

As she is sitting I notice she keeps looking at the list of characters for the other girl’s group (The Rainbow Dance).

N.B.:  I’m starting to think that I still really want to do this piece with E.S. but I am thinking that I want to join this other group on their project.

N.B. wanted to stay true to the original artistic vision she had developed with E.S., but she began to see the potential value of working with the larger group and became drawn to being part of that experience.

The two girls approached the larger group to inquire about how they might join in, even though the others’ storyline and characters were already fairly established at this point.  N.B. & E.S. still wanted to perform their movement piece but wondered if there was a way it could be incorporated into the others’ performance.  The group identified a place in the play were a rainbow bridge is created and unanimously decided it that it was a perfect place to weave in the movement piece.  Additionally, the girls suggested that N.B. & E.S. take on secondary roles in the later half of the play ensure they got enough lines. 

The girls working through a revised script.
P. was also considering joining the larger group, but wasn’t sure how she might fit in.  The girls suggested she take on the role of Persephone – to perhaps tell more about the role of the seasons and maybe even take on the role of narrator.  At first, P. was very hesitant about this opportunity.  She expressed some concern at taking on the role.

P:  I don’t know, I think that everyone might laugh at me.

This decision held risk and promise for P.  It would take courage to go for it.  I sensed her vulnerability.  I asked P if she would like to read through the story that the girls had created so far to see if she wants to take on this challenge.  It was rewarding to see her reaction after we read through the story.

P looking through The Rainbow Dance script.
P:  I like this!  I think this might work, it seems like it could be really great.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I am so struck by the girls' deep commitment to their project; by the sophistication of their vision, choreography and writing; and -- above all - by their embrace of the hard work of collaboration. It is not easy to collaborate in the first place; to repeatedly incorporate new members in an established group, and to willingly collaborate with these new participants in a project that already has a shape and a coherence -- that is impressive. It demonstrates a level of flexibility, an openness to others, and a commitment to process that many older children and adults might not be able to achieve.