Harold National School Class B Session 2

At the end of the session we wrote the blog as a group:

Last week we met puppets and wrote a story about who we thought they were, where they come from etc. and discussed them.

We read out some of these stories, and looked at some of the themes and ideas that came from them:

Theme of family problems: intergenerational disagreements, Alzheimer’s, missing out on daughter’s childhood due to overwork, “tension between father and a daughter’s wishes for future” etc

“I really liked the idea of the family arguing so I made two siblings be arguing like real life”

“I liked the ways you could find ways to link the stories and tie them together”

“I found it difficult to create something from nothing by myself” 7 students agreed with this.

But 5 “knew straight away what I was going to do”.

We drew out pictures of scenes inspired by this discussion and by last week’s work.

We shared them with the class. We hung similar scenes together and made connections between them. Then we split into pairs and developed storylines around some of the ideas.

We started planning our story and what we are going to do for the next while. We drew storyboards in pairs.

Harold National School Class A Session 3

This week we looked at some artists’ work for inspiration. I also saw some of the class’s previous work on land art. We then continued brainstorming and developing our ideas from the previous week in new pairings. We added some new ideas and developments to our list:

names and leaves etc pressed into concrete in yard?

Picture of year use to paint this onto a wall

Scrabble / crossword with our names, added to each year on a wall? in yard?

Festival / Fun Fair Day: Bouncy castles, food trucks obstacle course each leaving class puts a splat of paint on wall and year

Put on a puppet show, about?

School animal farm run by an adult

Hand print with name on it

Eating in yard

pen sculpture with our names in it

Tips / advice book for 5th class maybe added to every year

Games in the yard

Fun building

Alternative “sports” day

We then collaborated in groups of three or four to explore one of our favourite ideas by constructing a model of it from mixed media. We didn’t finish this yet so will return to it in the next session.

Harold National School Class A Session 2

Brainstorming, Remembering and Dreaming

“We summarised stories in a sentence

We made up stories for Niamh’s puppets which we worked with last week

We remembered, then drew / wrote good memories of our time in school. 13 in the class really liked this.

Ideas of what we would love to do together to leave for the school when we go. 13 in the class really liked this.

We wrote the blog.”

The class agreed choices from all the brainstorms of what we would love to leave behind in the school :

  • Names and leaves etc pressed into concrete in yard?
  • Picture of year, use to paint this onto a wall
  • Scrabble / crossword with our names, added to each year on a wall? in yard?
  • Festival: Bouncy castles, food trucks, obstacle course, each leaving class puts a splat of paint on wall and their year eg: 2019
  • Put on a puppet show, about?
  • School animal farm ( run by an adult?)
  • Hand print with name on it
  • Being allowed to eat in yard
  • pen sculpture with our names in it
  • Tips / advice book for 5th class, maybe added to every year

Harold National School

“Hello” and Research day

I met all three classes together for an introduction where I shared some of the ways I work and took questions from and asked questions of them. I then worked with each group for half an hour each. In the half hour I asked them to dream up stories / lives for some puppets I had brought, and also asked them to individually dream / brainstorm how they imagined we might work together over the next 3 sessions I will have with each class, and the final shared session with all three classes.

Glenageary Killiney NS 2nd Class, Artist Robert Connor, Teacher Nicola Cummins, Seventh Dance Session – 11 February, 2019

“Today we learned a sequence for Uptown Funk:

Attitudey bop

head nod

funky guitar 2 step

walk forward, back, right and left

knees and arms – point on “city”

sweep, hug, kiss

melt – 4 beats, walk 4 beats  x4

A and B move and hold for 4  x6

all move

1,2 double thumbs

touch, touch arms shake

Low, middle, high stop”



Glenageary Killiney NS 2nd Class, Artist Robert Connor, Teacher Nicola Cummins, Fourteenth Dance Session – 13 March, 2019

The objective for today was to work a bit more with the song “Titanium” and to introduce a new song as at the last session the students expressed interest in both ideas. So we did the Warm Up straight through and in fact it was really impressive how everyone was moving together. In taking this sequence first thing every day throughout the residency as a practice, the whole class is moving very well together, and with confidence. We also did some slow stretching squeezing circling and waving and followed that with the shoulder circle, parallel swings and long lunge stretches.

I took a moment to review how we have analysed the structure of the song Titanium, and to recognise the beat even in the parts where it isn’t as prominent. We worked with moving in a very slow, large, sustained quality for the first section of the music and then for the second section, to continue to move sustained, and large and very slightly faster, but still in slow range. In contrast to this we tried moving with staccato quality for the very rhythmic chorus – moving broken, sharp, strong and rhythmically on the beat. Like the energy of ‘punch’, each movement is quick but also stops, change the body part that moves and change direction, e.g. high, low wide, forward, behind. Not having to memorize the movements, but be clear, change body parts and be rhythmic.

We tried this with the music, the structure of which meant we cycled through each stage several times. So we were changing the tempo and energy of the dance relative to the music.
Once the students got the hang of this, we went into pairs, with an A and a B. Both took a starting shape standing that is open, with lots of space. With the B holding their shape absolutely still, the A moves in a very slow sustained quality around over under their partner’s shape, for 16 beats, and then they reverse roles. They switch again moving slightly faster and finally moving fast staccato on the beat in very close proximity to their partner. What was amazing to watch was their concentration and fluidity in slow motion, and the stillness of partner who was holding very still, which also allowed the moving person to really move in their partners space shapes. When they progressively moved faster they still had an acute sense of this attention to the space. It was also exciting how their movement changed in energy with the music in a very clear progression into the solid beat. We then divided the pairs into two groups and they danced the whole song through a second time with only half the pairs moving at a time so they could watch one another.

After the water break we started on a new dance, to ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ by Justin Timberlake. It’s too much to describe all the movements, but what I will say is the ability of everyone to ‘pick up’ the dance was remarkable. What would have taken more explanation and repetition, for example learning the first dance ‘La Fiesta’, today took much less of both. In one moment everyone moves to a different place while turning, a rolling grapevine, then strikes a shape. This challenges their use of space, quick decision making – how to navigate through the changing gaps between each other when everyone is moving and turning – but how they did this today demonstrated how much they have grown in their skills and abilities to navigate space while dancing.

Glenageary Killiney NS 2nd Class, Artist Robert Connor, Teacher Nicola Cummins, Thirteenth Dance Session – 11 March, 2019

Today before we started our warm-up we connected our voice – with expanding and stretching and then shrinking and squeezing – going from a low voice to a high as we expanded out and from a high voice too low as we contracted. Then we did the How Deep Is Your Love warm up and just danced it through without any prompts. Everyone is moving together with far more unity as the weeks have progressed. We then did some stretching and balance and reviewed the wrap swing with the simple forward swing, which we then made into an inverted jump.

Today we looked at the song Titanium; not everyone was familiar with the song so we played it once through and I just asked everyone to listen and how they felt like moving to it – to see what kind of movements the music prompted in them. When it had played all the way through we then just briefly talked about some of the ways that people felt like moving – jumping, stomping, moving smoothly – and we spoke about parts of the music that was easier to feel a continuous movement quality and other parts that the beat was very prominent. We listened again to this smooth vs more rhythmic response, and we then looked at the structure of the music and counted the bars of each section so that we could identify how long a section of the song would be before changing to the next. We identified two contrasting qualities – smooth and sharp – in musical terms you can think of legato and staccato as contrasting qualities. I proposed that because the song had been suggested by the class that we work together to make a dance of their own making and to begin this process I suggested that contrast would be one way of moving between smooth and sharp – unbroken smooth movement and then showing the beat with sharper movement.

We spend some time improvising using “mirroring” as a structure to be together in pairs so that one person was essentially leading a movement and the other being their copy. I suggested moving smoothly, large and big for the first section and then when it goes into the chorus that they change the moving quality to showing the Beat and for there to be a clear contrast between one and the other. It was harder to sustain the smooth quality. Nicola observed as well that in some pears the smooth quality was very very evident, and in another pair of boys the mirroring and the Rhythmic quality was very clear.

In the last part of the class today we revisited the “low dance” and the first dance we did which was “La Fiesta” and even though we had it done either of these dances for several weeks they recalled and performed both pieces well.

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