Performing Arts Recap
The first year of the Performing Arts program at TCGIS is over.
It is a good time to review what was done, to make reflections and to think about new plans.
For me it was a busy season, constantly filled with events, but on balance a very successful year.
First of all I have to thank you to all TCGIS students for their incredibly hard work! We did a lot of performances this year which best warrants the name of the subject: Performing Arts. The effort paid off with joy and fun! Thanks again!
Thank you also to all my colleagues, the TCGIS staff! I can't imagine this year being successful without their cooperation and support.
Thank you last but not least to the TCGIS community, you dear parents, for your support and commitment! You know it better than anybody else that the Performing Arts program started because of the initiative of the parents and exists thanks to your financial support.
In the beginning of the year I set some goals for the Performing Arts program, and I'm glad to report you about the progress:
- It was possible to unite 3 focuses: music, dance and drama, and this combination could benefit every grade.
- Students were able to learn Performing Arts through the variety of cultural and historic forms. In PA classes, we literally traveled through times and continents.
- The connection between PA + German and Social Studies was from my perspective very successful. We did a lot of interdisciplinary projects that included reading German texts, writing scripts, rehearsing, performing etc. I'm looking forward to exploring new ways of collaboration next year.
- Students contributed to public work and did numerous public performances this year.
Students also made their contribution to fastening the partnership with other cultural and educational organizations such as the GAI, the GACC, the International Institute of Minnesota, Spielmannszug, St. Mark's School, and Anishinabe Academy.
- I was fortunate to invite other artists who shared their skills and talents with our students: Nicole Bachman (Belly Dance), Theresa Borgren (Tango), Little Thunderbirds (Native American Drums), Flemming Fold (Yodeling), and Avalon Rock Band.
In conclusion to this part I would like to say that it was a good start, but I also recognize that it will be a long way before we can create a well working and constantly progressing Performing Arts program.
Beside regular classes with plenty songs and dances we did with children a lot of projects:
- The 2nd graders shined on the St. Martinstag at the Landmark Center.
- The 5th grade enriched the Halloween celebration with Totentanz.
- The 3rd graders prepared German fairy tales as Shadow Puppet Theater: Rotkäppchen, Froschkönig, Dornröschen, Schneweißchen und Rosenrot.
- I was fortunate to work with Frau Grimm on the Hans im Glück project in 2A.
- The 1st grade successfully performed German fairy tales Frau Holle and Aschenputtel.
- To finish the topic fairy tales: Our little ones KB put together and presented Schneewittchen.
- The 4th grade worked on Till Eulenspiegel and could perform two scenes from this one of the oldest German printed books.
- The 3rd graders started working on the musical Ritter Rost and could show the songs from this musical. I hope next year we will continue working and present you some day a real musical.
In addition to projects mentioned above we prepared two school-wide concerts Carnival of Cultures/Karneval der Kulturen and Kinderland. By occasion thank you to the St. Thomas More School who hosted us this year! I think I don't need to tell you about these concerts because all of you had a chance to see them, but I would like to feature the fact that 5th and 6th grades put together two drama pieces and performed them in German within both concerts: Nathan the Wise by G.E. Lessing and Midsummer Night's Dream by W. Shakespeare.
I am very proud that we managed this year as well to be a part of the Festival of Nations. We participated in the German Culture Booth (4th grade) and also in the Dance Performance (dance group Blumenkranz - 4th and 5th grades). Next year that could be only better!
Initially I started the Blumenkranz in February 2011 to be able to perform at the Festival of Nations in May. I asked 4th and 5th graders to do it voluntarily, and they sacrificed their recess time and weekends to get our dance program ready. The performance was a big success, and we immediately got more requests. As a result we also performed at the Glockenspiel during the Maifest, at the Kinderland concert, at St. Mark's Childcare and finally at Deutsche Tage at the GAI. Next year, I'm going to continue this project and expand our dance repertoire. My goal is that children could discover dance as a phenomenon in diversity of its cultural, historic, ethic etc. forms.
I was fortunate to help Sylvia Oxenham with the String Group this year. In my opinion this group is one of the best features of TCGIS. I wouldn't even try to list all the performances that these kids took part in, but I know for sure that they never failed when they were asked to perform. I hope to be able to continue working with String Group and to transform it someday into a TCGIS Band or Consort.
My dream for the next year is to build a strong performing group that would be based on Blumenkranz and String Group. The primarily goal of this group would be to represent TCGIS at public events.
I didn't complete planning for the next year yet, but I can already uncover some information:
I will continue working on the goals that I pointed out. I hope to do plenty of interdisciplinary projects next year. In lower grades there will be a lot of fairy tales (what a surprise!). Because I am committed to fasten the cooperation amongst teachers in upper grades there will be some projects about the Ancient World and the Middle Ages.
As a part of Middle School Team I am going to offer an enriched German class for those who would like to be challenged in German. This would be basically a German literature course with elements of comparative literature, media-oriented approach and connection to the Performing Arts. You will see more announcements in August.
In the summer I will teach two Summer Camps at the GAI:
- Zauberberg und Wunderwald (The magic mountain & enchanted forests) June 27 - July 1
- Willkommen in Deutschland (Welcome to Germany) July 18 - 22
You are welcome to join these camps!
Thank you once again!