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Kids Report (Dance Video And Etc)

John Liu
9 years ago

Not much cooking to report here, but lots of kid stuff going on!

At my son's arts magnet middle school, each kid prepares and performs a personal capstone project in his or her art form as part of completing 8th grade. The theatre kids write and perform short plays, the music kids perform and sometimes compose pieces, the dance kids choreograph and perform dances, the visual arts and writing kids do likewise in their arts.

He choreographed a short dance with a ghost dancer. To make the ghost, he videotaped himself dancing in black clothes and socks, with a black towel over his head, against a white background. I inverted the video and maxed the contrast, using iMovie. The ghost is projected on the wall behind him during the dance. They meet, interact, and walk off the stage and out of middle school together. The music starts with to 'Iron' by Woodkid and 'To Be Alone' by Ben Thomas.

He actually performed the dance twice, once at the capstone presentations and again at a different venue at the school's 8th grade promotion ceremony. At promotion, he was given the choice of delivering the class speech or performing his capstone, and he chose the performance. I was glad, because I had trouble videotaping the first performance - partly a mistake by the person running the projector (see if you can catch it) and me (I know nothing about using my ultra-cheap camcorder, and didn't realize how much of the stage he would cover). With a second chance, I was able to get enough video to stitch together the whole dance. I did have to convert to B&W and high contrast, to mask the discontinuities from the different stages and lighting.

This has been an incredible middle school experience for him and his classmates. Imagine three years doing the art form you love most for two hours each day with 450 other kids from every walk of life, brought together by a common interest in music, art, dance, and theatre. Despite budget pressures, they have good facilities, professional level lighting and sound equipment, and a great teaching staff. They still get core writing, math, science, etc, and four hours a day is plenty when that curriculum is taught efficiently and well. He's going on to a good public high school, where his sister just graduated with a very good education. I feel lucky: my kids' schools really are an example of the best in public schools.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fall Out performance

This post was edited by johnliu on Sat, Jun 14, 14 at 12:23

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