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Lighting Fires in Kids Eyes

By Lyne Pringle

There were many sleepless nights in Dunedin! Here’s the deal. When you apply for the Otago University Caroline Plummer Fellowship – Community Dance, you have to put forward a pitch.

I found a poem Caroline had written about finding solace in the ocean - St Kilda and St Clair beaches to be exact; this was a possible theme for a project. I thought up the components: a brass band, a school, a surf lifesaving club and local residents’ stories. Inspired by the film of Royston Maldoom’ s and Simon Rattle’s Rite of Spring project  I imagined that the whole of Forbury School would be on stage performing with the brass band.

There were two waves or phases to the project.

• Phase 1 St Kilda St Clair Project and Forbury School residency

For five months I spent three days a week at Forbury School, working on dance with 145 pupils and their teachers exploring oceanic themes and finding ways to express this in movement.

• Phase 2 Ocean Wave Project

The community concert Ocean Wave, held on September 2nd 2011, brought together the other threads of the project. 

An after school contingent of Forbury pupils performed a 12-minute dance to a Gareth Farr work, Waipiro, played by the St Kilda Brass Band. Professional dancers from the University’s Dance Lab and Ake Ake Theatre performed a reconstructed surf lifesaving drill from the 1950s.

The Forbury kids, sat through the entire Ocean Wave concert as their item was last, and in the end it felt as if the entire project was for these diverse 15 children.  The looks on their ecstatic faces in the curtain call and the tears in the eyes of many audience members said it all. Simply beautiful!

Read the full article (iss. 26) Lighting Fires in kids Eyes


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