Harold Boys National School 5th Class, Dalkey
12th Dance Session, 21 May – Dance in the Schoolyard
Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland
Dance is a practice, a process, communal rite, a shared experience, passed on generally from body to body, person to person. We learn from and share with one another in real time, real space. Dance is also a performing art, a communicative act of sharing something to be seen, to be appreciated by others. Sometimes the dance we have practiced only becomes more fully itself once it is shared, seen and appreciated.
That’s for today. Thankfully it is a dry, bright morning; the schoolyard will be the stage for the 5th Class boys’ performance. We have awhile to review the two dances we worked on weeks before. They especially want to review their group free-styling to “It’s Like That”. Interesting how that part of the choreography has marinated into something tangibly repeatable. (I caution them as well that the pavement outdoors will be different than the carpeted floor we have been working on…as they have many floor movements in their material.)
Outdoors we demarcate the performing area, set where the audience will sit, and run through “Beat It”, the piece with the most spacing changes. And then it’s time! Welcoming the rest of the school, Ms. O’Carroll and I give a brief introduction.
“Fiesta” is first, being the first dance they worked on. As the opener and ice-breaker, it has a slightly tentative edge…this is a first time experience for most of the guys. But they are received with great enthusiasm and the next piece, “It’s Like That”, is danced full-on, full-out, with feeling. It includes their own group improvs – which by now are well structured – and it’s clear their audience is appreciative. “Beat It” is the final piece, the most recent and in some ways the most complex. Still they dance it without hesitation, the drama is felt, the dance is clear. Big applause. The audience want an encore! In a brief Q&A following, the boys are able to share some of their thoughts – what they liked, what was hard, how long did they worked on it.
As a wrap up back in the classroom, we discuss their favourite moments, recall what stands out in their memories. It has been a rewarding journey for them, for Ms. O’Carroll and for me. Thank you for the opportunity.