Theater, Dance, Visual Art, Music
The ‘storytelling theatre’ of DAYSTAR emphasizes a respect for Native American belief systems and world view while offering a broad interpretive reflection on those traditions. DAYSTAR performs and teaches the ‘old style’ traditional dance, historical and modern dance, masking and make-making, singing and character transformation. DAYSTAR is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational dance company that presents an expression of Indigenous peoples living strong in the 21st century. Daystar/Rosalie Jones was born on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana and acknowledges Pembina (Little Shell) ancestry as passed through her mother’s lineage.
GAMES AND DANCES OF TURTLE ISLAND (K-8, adapted to class periods)
A participatory session to experience the animal, bird and fish stories of Indigenous peoples. The Fish Dance (Menominee), The Mosquito Dance (Cherokee), the Duck Dance (Creek), the Snake/River Dance (Ojibway). Songs and sign language can be included as time permits.
DANCES AND STORIES OF TURTLE ISLAND (high school level, adapted to class periods)
Signature Intertribal dances are demonstrated with explanation of their origination and history in North American Indigenous cultures. The Butterfly Dance (women’s fancy shawl), Legacy of the Dream (Jingle Dress Dance), The Grass Dance (men’s dance), The Hoop Dance. Students participate and learn these dances in longer sessions. Ask for details.
DANCING THE FOUR DIRECTIONS (high school level, adapted to periods or 1 hour)
An illustrated talk (40 minutes) on the Ojibway Medicine Circle that describes the world as a great Circle to which we all belong – a teaching tool to be utilized by anyone to understand how to live ‘the good life’. Performance (15 minutes) of ‘Dancing the Four Directions” is the story of one person’s journey to learn from the Water, the Deer and the Eagle. Talk and Dance can be presented formally on stage with lighting, if available.
PUSH Physical Theatre
Intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics, and soulful artistry are the trademarks of award-winning PUSH Physical Theatre. Founded in Rochester, NY in 2000 by husband-and-wife team Darren and Heather Stevenson out of a desire to “push” the boundaries of conventional theatre, PUSH has since earned an international reputation as one of the leading U.S. physical theatre companies.
Recently featured in collaborations with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ying Quartet, and Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon’s two multi-media operas, PUSH has produced a wide range of its own full-length and short works. These masters of physical storytelling have received the Community of Color/Anton Germano Dance Award, the Performing Artist of the Year Award from the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, and the University of Rochester’s Lillian Fairchild Award.
In addition to a busy touring schedule, PUSH has a long history of creating arts education programming for grades K-12 and college students. Performances feature selections of their work followed by an audience talk-back, with discussion topics including human relationships, social interaction, stereotypes, etc. Workshops introduce students to the movement arts and support curriculum areas such as physical science, character development, and literacy.
PUSH PHYSICAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE:
PUSH’s team of talented ‘human sculptures’ presents Next Generation Learning Skills using acrobatic strength, stunning physicality, and emotional depth. Core subjects such as physical science, literacy, and the arts are explored within the context of health, creativity, innovation, communication, and collaboration. Relationships between classroom learning and career and life skills are examined in the areas of social awareness, responsibility, adaptability, and flexibility. Performers carefully guide audiences throughout the program. Individual pieces are given context that is grade-level appropriate to help students interpret the work on a level that is relevant to them. Program can include Q&A. (Grades K-12) (Science/Language Arts/Health/Nutrition/Physical Activity//Cultural Awareness/Next Generation Learning Skills)
PUSH PHYSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOPS:
PUSH provides physical theatre workshops that support and expand curriculum. The following are examples of workshops that were created in collaboration with teachers and designed around their specific curriculum needs. If you have great idea for a workshop, please let us know!
• Simple Machines
This workshop facilitates a deeper internal understanding of the Physical Sciences as students both analyze and synthesize topics such as simple machines, transfer of weight, magnetism, and energy through physical movement and discussion.
Science exercises focusing on the concept of teamwork, balance, and trust are used to encourage the development of friendship skills and to guide students to thought-provoking ‘ah-ha!’ moments. (Grades K-6) (Science/Next Generation Learning Skills)
Classical music guides eager imaginations during participatory exercises relating to the changing of seasons and the effects they have on our everyday lives (i.e. growing spring flowers, grumbling summer thunderstorms, falling autumn leaves, drifting winter snowflakes). Students become aware of their personal responsibility for maintaining their health throughout the year as they act out dressing up for an afternoon at the beach or an anticipated snow day. It is a scientific fact that no two snowflakes are alike; each is beautiful in its own unique way. Likewise, each one of us is unique and has something special to share with those around us. (Grades PreK-2) (Science/Physical Activity)
• Healthy Heroes
3-2-1-0 Be a Healthy Hero! This workshop has continuous physical activities that support the Be A Healthy Hero campaign for our community’s kids. Students run for the healthiest snack choices in our relay race, get tips on learning to love exercise through physical theatre, and end the class with a bit of something just as important: rest. (This workshop includes a coloring book for each child to take home.) (Grades K-4) (Health/Nutrition/Physical Activity)
From egg to adult, the four stages of the life cycle of a butterfly are physically created by students in individual and group exercises. Students become the process of metamorphosis through movement, and physically demonstrate their growing understanding of each stage while they make connections to their own physical and social lives. (Grades 2-4) (Science/Next Generation Learning Skills)
• Art & the Brain
Students are asked to evaluate the hypothesis of noted neurologist V.S. Ramachandran in his research into the “science of art.” Dr. Ramachandran’s “10 laws of art” are, as yet, unproven, which allows children the excitement of investigating, questioning, and responding to cutting-edge science in process. They combine visual and movement art as they answer key questions such as: “Can we observe the laws in well-known paintings?”; “Do the laws transfer to movement?”; and “Can art be created by purposely breaking the laws?” Far from being a purely academic discussion, students create physical theatre experiments to test the limits of the laws of science used by artists. (Grades 4-12) (Science/Next Generation Learning Skills/Cultural Awareness)
• Human Pop-Up Books
Students have the opportunity to view an art form that uses no words and leaves then with the challenge of transposing movement language into written or spoken language. By creating their own “Human Pop-Up Book,” they will be faced with the challenge of analyzing a literary work and identifying key vocabulary vital to the storyline. Then, they translate and synthesize those words into a series of movements that reflect the story as it was in its original written/illustrated form. Students work in teams and collaboratively put their thoughts and ideas together. (Grades K-12) (Language Arts/Next Generation Learning Skills)
Through the themes of strength and power, cooperation vs. competition, leadership and responsibility, partnership and trust, and self-discipline vs. external control, students will analyze positive and negative character traits. They’ll engage in theatre and movement skills to learn how to overcome fear of failure and channel aggression into success rather than bullying. Students will also identify the benefits of self-control and the differences between leading and intimidating to build confidence and make positive choices regarding their actions towards themselves and others. This residency includes a planning meeting with the classroom teacher, conducted with the school psychologist or social-worker. (Grades 3-12) (Character Development/Social & Emotional Well-Being) Note: students are divided by gender.