Sunday, September 25, 2011

Class Progress and Interim Reports!

Attention Parents!

Interim reports were sent home last Friday. Most of my students have returned their signed interim reports but a few are still MIA. If you have not seen/signed your child's interim report please do so and have them return it to me as soon as possible. I treat the signed interim report as a graded assignment(homework). This means it will lower your child's grade if it is not signed and returned.

OK, now lets get down to business! What's new in Theater One?

In Theater One we have continued to develop our sense of ensemble (team work) through Theater Games as well as expand upon our improvisational skills. This week my students learned to externalize (demonstrate on the outside (gestures/facial expressions) what their character was feeling/thinking on the inside. We did some wacky things to accomodate this.

First, we externalized using only our feet. Yes, you read correctly, we performed scenes where only our feet could be seen. We achieved this by raising the grand drape (curtain to the stage) a few feet leaving our feet visible while obscuring the rest of our body. It was loads of fun. Our feet stomped to show anger, jumped up and down to demonstrate happiness, twirled on our toes to show delicateness and kicked to accuse! We learned a lot and had a good time doing so.

Next we externalized using only our hands. To achieve this we draped a sheet over one of the Ballet Barres in the Theater/Dance class room. The students hid behind the sheet and raised thier hands above the sheet/barre to express their character's feelings. Once again we were creative with our physicality. Our hands and fingers performed break dancing and the moon walk, pointed a birds, took pictures, and flicked at one another in angry outburts. It was amazing!!!

On Friday we started a new project which will incorporate the concept of externaling in the upcoming week's lesson plan. Each student was given a paper plate and length of elastic to create a mask. I instructed them to decorate the mask any way they like. Make sure you check in next week to find out what we did with the masks.

Theater One is the!

What happened in Advanced Theater?

In Advanced Theater we experimented with the New School Method. With this methods the students tape recorded portions of the script/s using as much flexibilty in pitch (emotional expression) as possible. After we accomplished this the students performed their scenes using the recording. In doing this their hands were free'd from holding their scripts allowing a larger range of motion to express their characterization. This was a challenge to my students but they met the challenge and we achieved some very realistic and admirable moments of work.

Advanced Theater rocks!

What happened in Dance?

This week in dance we focused on brushing up on technique and learning, memorizing and making extended movement phrases performance ready. We accomplished this and were prepared to perform at the varsity football game against WCHS on Friday evening. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and the field was too wet/dangerous for my students to perform on. Even though we were disappointed we realized that we have other performance opportunities to look forward to (football games, the fair, basketball games). It simply was not worth the risk of an injury.
I was very proud of my student's reaction to this disappointment. While I could tell they were let down they behaved professionally.

Advanced Dance is awesome!

~ Mrs. Amy Jones

Friday, September 16, 2011

What has been happening in my classroom?

Well, for starters, lots of fun and hard work!

Theater One

We've been having a blast as we continue to bond and function as an ensemble. We still love Theater games but because we are focusing on improvisation (to create/make up a scene off of the top of your head, unscripted) right now it is only appropriate that those Theater games have an improvisational basis. The current favorite is called Party Quirks. If you are a fan of the tv show, Whose Line is it Anyway you may already be familiar with this game. In this game one party host and five party guests are selected to play/perform. The party guests work together to select 'identities' which the party host must guess once they arrive at the party. The selected identities at this time evolve around emotions (sad, happy, excited, depressed, etc...) and the host must guess correctly which emotion each guest demonstrates to win/complete the game.

In addition to emotions the students created improvisational scenes in which the players were influenced by environmental factors (temperature - hot and cold; status - rich or poor). The students selected various scenarios to improvise using temperature and status as a motivator. We had some really terrific scenes but the students who demonstrated the most growth with this exercise are Jonathan, Victoria, Taylor D and Stefany! Congrats you guys on a job well done!

Advanced Theater

This has to be one of the most creative, silly, motivated, crazy, enthusiastic and positive groups of kids I've ever had the pleasure to work with. They work hard, create cool material, cooperate and stay motivated even after I nit pick and disect every nook and cranny of their scenes. (Yeah, they don't call me Jonezilla for nothing...)

Unfortuneately, we've been so busy with character development we've had little time to play theater games but we have been very productive working as a unit in spite of this. Last week each student brainstormed physicality ideas for their character/s including a grand gesture/gestures and facial expressions. Before we worked these physical elements into our scenes we played around with them in improvisational scenes. This week we scanned our scripts for subtext (things a character implies rather than says) and performed exploratory scenes for this as well.

Finally, by week's end, we incorporated this work into our plays, The Frog Prince and This is a Test. The end result on Friday was rather successful. We made note of what worked well and what didn't, what needs further research/exploration and development and we spent a considerable amount of time polishing our rudimentary acting skills (voice, body and ensemble).

Everyone did a great job this week. I feel like the kids are really getting the hang of This is a Test quickly. My super stars for the week are Aleccia and Isaiah because they are already well on their way to having their lines memorized (which makes it so much easier for them to focus on their characterization and ensemble needs). You guys are awesome!

Advanced Dance

Advanced Dance has been busy brushing up on technique, studying choreographic manipulations (a way to create new movement by manipulating existing movement with a specific process) and learning and creating choreography.

Last week we focused on retrograde (to reverse the concepts of a dance phrase. fall, spin, hop = hop, spin, fall) and canon (to perform the same movement at different times... like Row, Row, Row Your Boat, except with movement). The students were introduced to these ideas with a modern/lyrical dance phrase I taught/demonstrated. After being guided through the process the students were split into groups to create their own phrases/manipulations using retrograde and canon.

This week we focused on chance method (to create a movement phrase by random chance using a number system), ABA and Sequential Phrasing (ABCD => DCBA). Again, the students were introduced to these ideas with a modern/lyrical dance phrase I taught/demonstrated. After being guided through the process the students were split into groups to create the own phrases/manipulations using chance method, ABA and Sequential Phrasing.

The students have been very successful. We have three solid choreographic works in progress. If you would like to see some of the projects the dance class has been working on please come out and see them perform at the Football game next Friday night at SCHS (September 23, 2011). Go Stallions!

Thank you to my team captains, Lauren, Rachel N, Katie and Chrisshonna for keeping your squads together and productive!

- Mrs. Amy Jones

Friday, September 2, 2011

This week in Dance and Theater Arts!

My class room was a very busy and engaging place to be this week (as usual). Here's the scoop!

Theater One

I first would just like to say that my Theater One class this semester at South Columbus is awesome. You guys and gals totally rock! This week in class we continued to develop our sense of unity as a class, establish trust with one another and delve into the art of improvisation.

Class unity, team work, or ensemble, as we Thespians (Thespians are people who participate in or possess an appreciation for the art of Theater Arts) like to call it, is a number one priority in the TA class room. We develop this skill by playing Theater games. Theater games are designed to encourage cooperation, concentration and focus. Some of our favorite games right now are:
Kitty in the Corner
What? You haven't heard of these games? Just ask a Theater One student. They can tell you all about it.

Trust - At the beginning of the week we performed trust exercises (catching each other, guiding one another blind folded) to increase our sense of trust in one another. Some students felt more at ease with this than others and this is typical. All of my students did a great job. I was very proud!

Improvisation - When you improvise you make something up off of the top of your head with out any prior preparation. We used improvistation starters as a structure for this activity. I gave my students three categories to choose from:
1 - Teen/Parent Conflict
2 - Teacher?Teen Conflict
3 - Peer Relationship Conflict
By weeks end each student in the class improvised a scene with a partner and was evaluated by myself and their peers. Great job everyone. I saw some really great scenes this week. I especially enjoyed Mariah and DaShaun's scene.

Advanced Theater Arts

My veterans are back and ready to blow your mind, dazzle your soul and tickle your heart with their mad skills on stage. This week we've been developing ensemble with Theater games (Ultimate Ninja is a favorite) and collaborative activities. We finished reading and discussing our scripts for Play Festival (The Frog Prince and This is a Test). We discussed the social, emotional and physical aspects of each play and character and selected roles for auditioning/casting. Each student was permitted to audition for 3 roles from each play (cast lists will be posted soon). By week's end we cast both plays and began brainstorming about physicality (gestures, movement, body language).

Congrats to this class for a successful week! I especially enjoyed Lantz's performance of the voice and Maxine's performance of Solitaire.

Don't forget to turn in your resumes and head shots!

Advanced Dance

This dynamic group of dancers really impressed me this week. We focused on jazz technique and interpretive movement this week. In the beginning of the week I taught them a technical jazz dance combination. The last phrase in the combination would vary depending on skill level. The first combination was the most difficult and worth 3 points. The second was somewhere in the middle in terms of difficulty and was worth 2 points. The third combination was the least difficult and was worth only one point. I allowed the students to select the last phrase for performance. I was pleasantly surprised when none of them chose the 'easy' combination. Already they are challenging themselves and I was tickled pink.

We also focused on interpretive movement. The students were assigned a group project. This was there assignment:
1 - describe yourself with 3 adjectives
2 - create 3 movements to represent your 3 adjectives
3 - piece the 3 movements together into a short dance phrase
Incorporate your phrase with another student's work
Incorporate your new phrase (created with your partner) with another partnership

By week's end my students had choreographed and polished their work for presentation/assessment. Everyone did a fine job! I especially enjoyed the work created/performed by:
Rachel, Desiree, Kaitlynn, Jordan, Sarah, Shonna and Destiny.

~ Mrs. Amy Jones