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, Final Dance Session – 22 March, 2019

For the final dance session, we met at Dance Theatre of Ireland’s Centre for Dance.  We did a warm-up and performed all the dances we had learned.  It was an exciting culmination of all the time we had spent together.  For the entire process Ms. Cummins had the students reflecting on their experience through their diaries.  Here is a digest of their memories.


2nd Class have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Robert Connor, a contemporary dancer, from Dance Theatre Ireland as part of the Artist in Residence program funded by DLR Arts Council.  He came to us twice a week for an hour and a half for 16 sessions.


  • At the start I didn’t have a clue what we were doing and then at the end I was a brilliant dancer. I was really happy.  Harley
  • I learned more than I ever knew before. I am fit now.  We got a new friend – Robert.   Tamina
  • I had fun with Robert. My favourite dance was ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’.  I had fun.   Hugo
  • I remember I was a bit embarrassed, now I’m not. I loved it so much.   Mimi
  • At the start I was very scared, now I’m not a bit. I loved it so much.    Robert
  • I loved all the dances. I loved going to the dance theatre.  It was really fun and fit!   Jessie
  • The thing I really liked about it was it was really fun and lots of good exercise.  Luke
  • My favourite dance was ‘Uptown Funk’. It was a lot of exercise.  Our dance teacher was called Robert.  I loved it.  I wish it did not have to end!   Millie
  • Dancing with Robert was fun and he is brilliant at dancing. I hope he comes back again.   Tillman
  • I really loved the way that every few days we learned a new dance. It really keeps your heart pumping!   James
  • I think it was very good fun. My favourite dance was Titanium.  Felix
  • I am amazed how much I have learned since the first day.  Dusan
  • My favourite dance was Titanium and I hope Robert will come back again!    Callum
  • At first I didn’t really like it, but by the second lesson I thought it was incredible and I improved so much. I couldn’t believe how fun it was.  I had many favourite dances, but the one I really liked was ‘Can’t stop the Feeling’.  Johnny
  • I loved doing the dances. I wasn’t very good at the start, but at the end I got better!  I loved doing all the dances with Robert Connor.   Daniel


  • When we started I wasn’t very good at dancing, but Robert helped me to be good and on your feet. So we went to his dance studio.  It was a great experience.   Aimee
  • It was crazy to look back at all the dances we did. We made a new friend Robert! Sebastian
  • The first dance was ,La Fiesta, then Uptown Funk, then Faith. My favourite song was Titanium. Hannah McClure
  • I learned about respect, kindness, kinesphere and movement. My favourite was ‘Titanium’ and I had a great experience.    Daisy
  • It was fun and my favourite dance was ‘Can’t stop the Feeling’.  Rhys
  • My favourite memory was when we learned ‘La Fiesta’. It was fun!  Lochlan
  • My favourite memory was when we gave Robert his card. I loved all the dancing!   Hannah Mc Connell
  • One of my best memories was when we were in groups and one person at a time would do a dance and the rest of the group would copy. I really enjoyed dancing and my favourite dance was ‘Faith’. Gina
  • I liked dancing very much because we all got fitter.  Denise
  • I was scared at first, but then I was happy when we did it. It was the funnest thing ever and my favourite dance was ‘Faith’.  Lily Rose
  • My Favourite dance was ‘Faith’.  Caragh
  • I remember the last time we went to the studio. I was sad after the last class.  But we were luckier than ever to have Robert.  That’s all that matters!  Bye Robert.  Jasmine
  • I loved dancing with Robert. My favourite dance was ’Titanium’  It was really fun!    Matthew

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.