In the dance studio, the students are doing an advanced contact improvisation exercise. Cesar Fulgencio, dance teacher and program manager for D.I.T. Subtopia, instructs:
— You have to stay in physical contact the whole time, but don’t hold hands, don’t link arms, don’t carry each other and only move close to the floor.
It’s not easy to move in pairs that way, try it for yourself! But the students are making their way around and discovering new movements in all the giggling and laughter. Movements such as linking your feet together and rolling about on the floor, or rotating your torsos against each other like a pair of rollers in a mill. During their break, we meet with Fabiola, Sabra, J.P, Reni, Seher, Rawan, and Sarah. This is almost the whole dance group for this performance project.
— The theme of the show is “together”, but the script isn’t finished, Seher responds when asked what the end result will be. Reni fills in:
— The students in the drama group are writing the script. All of the eighth graders are involved in the project.
They have been divided into groups for dance, drama, music, and the backstage crew, which is responsible for sets, lighting, and sound. Everything that will end up on stage will be created by the students.
— Our dancing is supposed to fit in with the play,
– Right now, we’re warming up our bodies, but we haven’t started on the actual choreography yet, Rawan adds.
Their PE teacher Sandra explains that the aim of today’s workshop is to provide the students with inspiration and tools that they can use in their choreography. An aspect of working with the show that Sandra and Cesar both find important is being brave, and having the courage to try new things. When asked if they have danced before all of the students say yes, and mention street dance, dancehall, break-dance and hip hop. But what they’re doing today is new to them.
— Doing something you’ve never done before in front of others takes courage. Daring to fail is a kind of success, because that’s how you grow. This is important for kids to experience in general, I think, says Sandra.
When the students are asked if they are learning anything important from working on the show, they all nod.
— We learn to cooperate, says Rawan
— And today, we learned this great movement, says Sabra and shows us with her arms.
From Magasin Subtopia #8. Text Elin Borrie.