"Poetry in Motion" Explores Poetry and Dance

"Poetry in Motion" Explores Poetry and Dance
Posted on 03/07/2019
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Dancers in the Hot Springs World Class High School Dance Program are giving poetry life through choreographed dance, as part of a “Poetry in Motion” assignment. Arkansas Artist in Education, a local poet, and coordinator of the weekly Wednesday Night Poetry event at Kollective Coffee and Tea of Hot Springs, Kai Coggin, collaborated with HSWCHS Dance Instructor, Mrs. Amy Bramlett-Turner. Students chose a poem based on a social justice issue that they are passionate about, deconstructed the language by meaning and sound, and recorded their own reading of the text. Then, exploring movement to create choreography,they each choreographed their chosen poem and cast other dancers according to their vision. This assignment required students to use specific language, problem-solving and communication skills, and develop original movement vocabulary to create a dance meaningful to them. The Student Choreography Showcase I: Poetry in Motion presentation will highlight many of the final dance projects created on March 14 at 1:30 and 6:00 p.m. at the HSWCHS Mackey Auditorium.

“This assignment was a reflective opportunity for our dancers to explore their own beliefs about social justice, practice good teamwork and intentional communication, and apply their dance and choreography skills in a nontraditional way,” says Mrs. Bramlett-Turner. “Poetry and dance are completely different creative processes, but unique similarities allow for a wonderful interpretation of movement, voice inflection, music, costumes, and any other concepts that they wanted to include. I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work and creativity from these kids. Their projects are truly inspiring.”

Project Details ...

Students followed itemized structure in order to complete this assignment including a full proposal before they could even teach choreography. Kai Coggin taught students how to annotate poetry. By recording themselves reading each of the poems, students identified where choreography was needed to convey a visual message. They were also prompted to complete an improvisation exercise that explored how movement could embody what they were communicating with their voices. Students worked with Mrs. Bramlett-Turner to create full dance compositions for each poem chosen.

Then students cast their dancers in solos, duets, or trios. Students then taught their choreography and practiced reflective exercises to ensure their intended messages were conveyed appropriately. Choreographers and dancers provided feedback to one another to improve interpersonal communication skills. Students practiced countless hours outside of class to refine intentional steps and techniques. In all, the process took almost two months to complete. Students will be assessed on each step of the assignment, teamwork and collaborative skills, effort in the creative process, professionalism, communication skills, individual effort to dance and practice with a student choreographer, and contribution to the final presentation.

HSWCHS Dance Program Overview

The HSWCHS Dance Program is among only three programs in Arkansas that are Institution Members of National Dance Education Organization and one of three secondary programs with a chapter of National Honor Society for Dance Arts. In the 2019-2020 school year, International Baccalaureate Dance Classes will be offered at the HSWCHS, which will allow for creative project opportunities like this one to continue. Learn more about our HSWCHS, here.
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