Monday, September 8, 2008

Coming Full Circle.

This summer I had a wonderful opportunity that I thought would be fun to share with all of you.

In June I was contacted by my old pre-school/kindergarten and was asked if I would like to come and teach for their arts camp in August. I was very apprehensive at first, I had never taught anyone that young before, and I find trying to keep the attention of middle-schoolers to be a challenge, I could only imagine what it’s like with kids of that age!

After some thinking, I decided to agree, both because it’s something new and challenging, and because that school is where I took my very first dance class. It was taught by Kasandra Gruener (OBT’s current director of Education and Outreach, and a fantastic teacher) and was a part of the various programs we could choose to do through the school. It was the class that began me on my long road to where I am today and I felt that, even if no one from that class would ever want to become a professional dancer, at least I would open their eyes to a new possibility.

After agreeing, I talked with Kasandra about various exercises to do, what music to use, and how to keep the kids attention. I wanted to give the class more of a “ballet” focus as opposed to simply “creative movement”, so that figured into my planning as well. In the end I created two half-hour long classes that seemed like fun and would have some continuity from the first class to the second.

I was SO nervous the first day. Like I said, I’ve never taught pre-schoolers, and it’s been years since I’ve even babysat anyone around that age. In the end, I think it was probably the highlight of my summer! The kids were all so wonderful and attentive. I even had a few of them (both boys and girls) tell me that when they grew up they wanted to be a ballet teacher just like me and they wanted to give the exact same class that I had given them. I know they are young, but still, it kind of melts your heart to hear that. :-).

I had one of the class aids take some pictures on the second day for me to post here. The last picture is of a banner that the kids made me as a thank you. I put it up in my apartment firs thing when I got home, and it still makes me smile whenever I look at it.


Getting everyone lined up to go across the floor.

Telling the story we are going to dance, "The Pixies in the Garden." It sounds silly, but it's pre-school gold.

Flowers growing out of the ground.

The banner. :-).

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