speak up. act out. move forward. a multi-media contemporary dance and composition workshop
Working with professional dancers/choreographers DeAnna Pellecchia and Ingrid Schatz and digital media artist Alison Kotin, participants produce a 15 - 20 minute performance piece about trusting your gut and speaking up in social situations where the norm is to keep quiet.
about the curriculum Students will collaboratively produce original movement and text through brainstorming sessions, theater and movement games, Active Bystandership and mediation training, writing exercises and group discussions. The group’s text will serve as the audio component for Alison Kotin’s motion-activated technology. Her technology (a ceiling mounted webcam and motion-tracking software) connects specific sounds to particular areas of physical space (or stage in this case) and responds instantly to movement, allowing the performers to “play” the technology like an instrument. DeAnna and Ingrid will craft a movement score with the teens using shapes, gestures and spatial patterns to move the performers through the space thus triggering the segmented audio clips and generating a rich, unpredictable sound-scape. The audience will experience an overlapping web of sounds and movements, an evolving non-linear story that is revealed over time. The structure and content of the movement/ text will address/answer the following questions: ●How do you learn to “trust your gut” and find your personal voice? ●How do you support others in being themselves/finding their own voice? ●When you witness discrimination, exclusion, or emotionally or physically threatening behavior in social situations, do you intervene? When? Why? How?
DeAnna and Ingrid’s creative process facilitates participants being directly connected to their own ideas and impetus to move. Students will be taught the choreographic skills used to craft performance pieces -– how to make movement phrases and how utilize and manipulate time, space and energy. Students will work on developing their personal ideas in small groups (solos, duets, trios, etc..) and as a whole ensemble to create specific sections. The students will collaboratively determine the order of the final piece - how sections flow, the narrative arc, how to engage the audience through performance or by breaking down the “4th wall”, what text to use in the audio component, how to juxtapose sound and movement, etc.
The lives and writings of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Ghandi, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others will serve as inspiring starting points for group discussions about the role of disobedience in social justice and the creation of inclusive societies. Beginning within each individual the spark of justice moves outward in ever increasing circles of influence. Sometimes the act of being yourself is the most disobedient act of all.
The curriculum for ACT UP. SPEAK OUT. MOVE FORWARD, created collaboratively with Ingrid Schatz, was chosen for publication in the Spring 2013 issue of the Harvard Educational Review (Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education). Pellecchia and Schatz co-authored the essay “Speak Out. Act Up. Move Forward. Disobedience-Based Arts Education” along with artist Alison Kotin, musician Shaw Pong Liu, and Urbano Project founder Stella McGregor. The essay discusses the potential of contemporary art to empower youth, provoke audiences, and foster conversations, and offers a model for the development of arts education.