St. Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely; Artist: Tunde Toth, Teacher: Laragh McFeely, 3rd class – Session 8

Our 8th session on the 15th of February started with a discussion, responding to what we have done so far and recalling all the different ways we created maps and pictures of spaces, imaginary and real. We also revisited our first mind map about place to see the connections between brainstorming ideas and art processes.

The children were asked to look at a selection of their drawings with the aim of creating a textured collage version of one previous work: choosing between the space/universe drawing, the imaginary place map or the journey map on the long scroll from last week. A full image or a smaller segment of the selected work was chosen to be an inspiration and a guide to the collages – made using a wide range of textured materials, pieces of fabrics, threads, strings, textured wall papers, tissue- and corrugated papers, cotton wool, soft foam shapes etc. These collages will be used as plates for a Collograph print making process at the following session.

St. Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely; Artist: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Laragh McFeely, 3rd class – Session 7

Session 7 took place on the 8th of February when we looked at again, a different way to explore and create MAPS.

The children drew maps of their journeys from home to school, on long, narrow strips of papers (till rolls). The shape of the paper presents a challenge of course, as everyone has to figure out their own way to represent roundabouts, changing directions and the turns and twists of their journey. There have been some unusual and very clever solutions in the class!

Mapping of the visual elements of these routes was followed by the mapping of sounds, significant colours and smells – turning the activity into a sensory investigation of everyday locations and travels.

Ms McFeely had the long maps perfectly displayed – suspended from the beams in the high-ceiling classroom.

 

Glenageary Killiney NS 2nd Class, Artist Robert Connor, Teacher Nicola Cummins, Second Dance Session – 25 January, 2019

“We learned more of the dance La Fiesta.  We were tired, thirsty, hot, happy and hungry when it was over.  Most of us really liked it and we can’t wait to do it again!”    Hugo

Warm up  and Stretch sequence.  We did the warm-up to “How Deep Is Your Love?” by Calvin Harris.  It takes us through a series of steps and stretches that we will do each day, imparting simple technique, and with repetition students can grow in depth in the sequence.   This is followed by some deeper stretches and balances.  We talked briefly about “Kinesphere”, the space within which each person moves.

La Fiesta – We reviewed the first dance, and all the movements, which consists of the whole sequence twice, followed by four shapes, which is where we ended the first day.  I introduced skipping 8 beats, everyone on their own pathway, weaving through room, going to a different location.  At the end of the 8 skips each person partners with someone you find there; right hands hand shake twice, bump right hips twice, join right elbows and skip round together 4 beats, then skip back to your original place.  Then everyone had to memorise your partner, and where you meet them, be there on time, dance short sequence together, and find you own place again.  The traveling pathways are not set, each student has to negotiate the space as they go, non making any contact with others along the way, and get back in time to start the sequence in unison again.

Across the floor.  This part of the class moves from one end of the room to the other, traversing the space with different ideas.  Students move in lines of 4 at a time, with the next group starting 4 or 8 beats after the group ahead.  We start with simply moving on the beat, any walk, finding variation within a limited “rule” – of only stepping on the beat – in as many ways, facings, levels, different arms as possible.  Starting together after 4 beats, keeping track of the beat, eye contact to make sure you start at same time with your group.  We then changed to skipping…keep the underlying rhythm/step, and find many variations in the arms, level, facing.  We also pay attention to starting together at right time without prompting.  Then we went in pairs, weaving / changing places as you cross the room, making a dance with each other across the space.

St. Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely; Artist in residence: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Laragh McFeely; 3rd class – Session 5

Session 5

25th January 2019

As I arrived to the class room, I was very happy to see that last week’s beautiful and very imaginative space drawings have been already given attention and displayed! Next to the colourful soft pastel drawings is now also a new surface set up: a board for creating constellations – real or imaginary.

We had a lot of talk about stars, shapes and constellations at this session and had great fun looking at them and creating them in many different ways: using threads and drawing pins on the board, pencils and white pastels to draw them and (re)creating them from… marshmallows!! (It wasn’t easy to resist eating them too). The children also used movement and their own bodies to create imaginary constellations: they worked in small groups, secretly as much as possible to come up with ideas, then they “acted out” and constructed their constellations in the middle of the class room floor. We all had to try to guess what the constellation was: we had a (moving!) boat, an eye, a top hat and a clock!

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Residency at St.Brigid’s GNS, Cabinteely, Artist: Tunde Toth; Teacher: Laragh McFeely; 3rd class – Session 3

Our third session took place on the 7th of December.

The children went for a walk with Ms McFeely to the school garden before our session, on one of those rare sunny and dry days  – and collected plenty of nature materials to fill a large table in the class room.

They worked in 4 groups (5/6 girls in a group) to create an indoor Land Art piece in the class room – inspired by ‘Winter’, using the collected material on large white sheets of paper. The collaborative process naturally presented challenges for the groups as agreement had to be reached about ideas, design, selection of materials and construction of the works. Some PVA glue was used to secure the position of some of the material but most pieces were loosely placed on the paper.

Ownership and the “life time” of the pieces were discussed and after the initial interest in taking the works home, everyone realized that these are one of those ephemeral pieces that will be photographed and documented throughout the process but they wont last and will be later discarded.

 

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Residency at St. Brigid`s GNS, Cabinteely, Artist: Tunde Toth Teacher: Laragh McFeely – Session 1 – 2

St Brigid`s GNS (Cabinteely) — 3rd class

SESSION 1 — 20 November 2018

SESSION 2 — 27 November 2018

We started our residency with two short and connecting sessions in November – so I decided to reflect on these two introductory and discussion based sessions in one post.

Laragh, the class teacher and I started to plan the beginning of our project at the planning evening (Blackrock Education Centre), trying to discuss aspects of our chosen theme PLACE, considering various approaches and creative processes we could bring to the class. We both are keen to create a residency that is collaborative, interactive and participatory as much as possible in a school environment. I`m interested in process led, experimental working methods where the children will be encouraged to develop and express individual ideas, opinions as well as working together with others.

No better way to start this than a session of brain storming and mind mapping! The children were very responsive and there was no shortage of ideas and connections when discussing PLACE. After the general brain storm we tried to break down the responses and associations into 4 groups: nature, buildings, imaginary places and places from memories. The children were asked to write further ideas and responses to these words and make little drawings for each.

 

Laragh was telling me about the school garden at our initial meeting. Considering the significance of the garden in the school`s life and the school`s location next to Cabinteely Park, we knew that nature-places and the natural environment will probably be important when discussing place and connections with places. we were planning a walk in the garden or the park as part of our session but weather conditions made this impossible. Laragh took out the class for a walk later, between two sessions. The children collected natural materials from the grounds – a large pile of leaves, barks, nuts, flowers, grasses etc.

I suggested a Looking and Responding session for the class, exploring exciting, fun and accessible examples of Land Art. We looked at contemporary works and classic Land Art examples, many from Andy Goldsworthy, and discussed ephemeral pieces that won`t last, the concept of site specific works and various materials that artists use.

Rathfarnham ETNS Art project Session 4 Artist in residence: Tunde Toth

Our 4th session took place on the 5th of December: a very wintry, Christmas-like session, filled with candle light!

With the patience and help of Patricia the class teacher and the support teachers we re-organized the class room to set up different workstations. The children drew simple shapes of stars, Christmas trees, presents etc on regular white paper. These shapes were then filled with drops of hot wax from burning candles – 4 / 5 children working in the same time and then taking turns.

The waxed pieces were dyed with golden yellow fabric dye (cold water dye) and let dry on the drying rack.

To the delight of everyone we had time for a second piece, this was again a simple sheet of paper but without drawing this time, filled lightly with random drops of hot wax. This was dyed a light blue/turquoise color and will be used at a later stage.

The children really enjoyed this process, worked carefully with concentration but it certainly needs planning and supervision!

 

The children worked later on with Patricia in the class room to gently remove the wax drops from the dried pieces and cut out the shapes. They had a striking display on the window, letting light through the wax dots:

dlr Primary Arts, 3rd Class Carysfort National School  8th Dance Session, 23rd March – Smooth & Rough !

dlr Primary Arts, 3rd Class Carysfort National School 8th Dance Session, 23rd March – Smooth & Rough !

Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland

Today we started with the two dances that comprise our warm-up, and the students really DANCED them.  They are now well-versed in the vocabulary of these dances, which have been part of nearly every lesson.

Following this we revisited the Fiesta dance, which was the focus of our first several lessons, but we haven’t done since the February mid-term break.  We took some time to review the movement and revise the partnering parts, so that each pair had a 32 count phrase of their own making that included a jump, a turn, change of level and contact with each other.  Once we had a look at their phrases, one half of the class at a time, we did the whole dance from start to finish.  It was amazing to see how the students have grown into theses three dances.

After the break, we focused on improvisation with attention to texture and time…moving “smoothly” for 8 beats, and holding for 8 beats in whatever shape/pose the movement dictated.  Encouraging changing levels, and facing, the element of space could also be explored.  Smooth didn’t have to be slow, some students moved at different speeds over the 8 beats.  We then tried moving in an opposite quality…”rough”…again moving for 8 beats and holding for 8.  Rough had a more rhythmic, angular, quicker, sharper quality about it.

This led to a paired improv.  In each pair one person moved for 8 beats and held a pose for 8 beats.  While they moved the other person observed their movement, so when the first person stopped, the other person moved, taking something from the first person’s movement and interpreting / adding to it in their own movement.  After 4 or 5 of theses exchanges, they swapped, so the other person became the initiator.  We did several rounds with the “smooth” texture and then several rounds of “rough”.

We did this with one half of the pairs at a time, so they had more space and also the other half could observe.  After each round we took time to hear observations, both from the “audience” and from those doing the improv.  They observed and remarked on choices that were made, e.g. to repeat movements, when someone was or wasn’t really moving as a response to their partner, things they found humorous, and impressions they had, such as someone’s “rough” movement looking robotic.

We finished with each group copying in pairs, one person in the pair moving from choices of smooth or rough or stillness, and the other to copy in the same moment, to be as precisely the same as they could possibly be.  Again we did this in half the group at a time, followed by time for observations.  The copying overall seemed easier, as one student observed, they didn’t have to remember what their partner had done.  It required a more immediate response.

No one seemed to find it hard to improvise movement, their confidence in moving from their own resources has grown, and they seem more at ease exploring dance on dance’s own terms.

Ms. Barry has made a cool collage of photos and dance words.

Dance Collage Carysfort NS 3rd Class

St Mary`s NS Sandyford – Session 6 – Artist: Tunde Toth

St Mary`s NS Sandyford – SESSION 6

1 March 2016

This week`s session was shorter and directly followed on the works of the previous work: we had many waxed pieces to dye! Using fiber reactive cold water dyes again, the children painted all the waxed designs and pictures they prepared last week. “Re-visiting” processes and materials is always interesting and reassuring.

A very enjoyable and rewarding process – resulting in myriads of colour shades and mixes!

Truly beautiful work by everyone!

Harold Boys National School 5th Class, Dalkey Eleventh Dance Session, 18 May – DTI Studio Session

Harold Boys National School 5th Class, Dalkey
Eleventh Dance Session, 18 May – DTI Studio Session
Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland

Dance requires space.  To get a bigger sense of moving in space we met for our penultimate session at the DTI Centre for Dance, a purpose-built dance studio.

We continued to build on the “Beat It” choreography, with an additional sequence devised by each individual.  Using a process of “accumulation” each person created a phrase based on the strong energy of “punch” – fast, sharp, direct – using different parts of the body, and including 1) a level change, 2) a jump and 3) a turn.  We did this together by all starting with a first move, repeating it several times to memorize it, then going on to the second.  Then first, second ,third.  Once those three were set we added another, and another; setting the sequence before adding the next, until each person had 8 big staccato movement gestures.

These were added into the choreography, so the whole sequence went something like this: two gangs face off, taunting and circling menacingly, then they engage in the rumble with the counterbalance pairs, they then formed one group and spread out in the space, performed their own big “punch gestures”, followed by a couple repetitions of the MJ choreography.  The finalé was their own improvising back to centre for a final group freeze/shape.

They practiced the whole short dance several times; each time perfecting the various elements of rhythm, drama, and spatial tension of the start, the counterbalanced strength of the pairs work, spacing changes from small groups moving in close pairs, to a large group then spreading out to individual space, and finally to coalesce as a single group.  They were especially enthusiastic as they engaged with the sense of being able to put their “aggressive” energy into a form that was ultimately a play with movement.

Before finishing we had a discussion about the final session…They had been asking about making a performance.  Did they want to and for whom…and what would they show?  It wasn’t required of them, but they seemed keen to share their dancing with the rest of the school.  These guys like to dance and want to show it.  So a plan was made to use the school yard and invite the other classes.  And to dance the three pieces they had worked on…Fiesta, It’s Like That, and Beat It.

Finally we took a group shot before going,  thanks to Ms. O’Carroll, who has been involved in every session, helping with photo captures, organization and enthusiastic support.

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