Fine Art, Installation Art, Theater, STEM
Artists Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle, also working with John Wolfson, have been creating ‘full-blown’ installations that enchant both young and old for over twenty years. Airigami projects like Elastic Park, Balloon Manor, and Fantastic Flying Octopus have been the subject of much local, national, and international media attention. Their unique fine art and award-winning illustration work has been showcased around the world. Their achievements have been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, CNN Headline, PBS, Smithsonian Magazine, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, The Martha Stewart Show, NBC’s ‘Today Show’, and they have appeared at the White House.
How to Catch a Mouse: Simple Machines at Work
STEM to STEAM: This interactive, theatrical performance utilizes balloons to construct a Rube Goldberg style mousetrap, teaching how simple machines work, and the forces in nature, which affect mechanical devices that are designed to complete tasks. (Grades K-6)
Magic, Danger, Suspense, and Silliness
You can expect ear to ear smiles and laughter from the audience! From wacky antics to impossible stunts, this show has something for everyone! Every member of the audience gets to be involved. Whether helping up on stage, contributing from their seat, or learning how to fool their friends, the whole audience leaves having been part of the fun!
Workshops and Residencies
A Pi Day Project: Making a Blueberry Pi
STEM to STEAM: In this hands-on Workshop, students use balloons and math to build a massive blueberry pie in the classroom. Younger students can work on their counting and arithmetic skills while older students get to use their knowledge of more advanced mathematics to calculate all of the elements of the pie, and get to see in a very tactile way, how well their calculations worked. This Workshop can be extended to accommodate a full Residency program as well as professional development programs. Contact for additional information. (3-12)
It’s a creative 2-D installation designed to be built by community members using biodegradable latex balloons! Designed by the experts at Airigami, this hands-on exhibit engages visitors in a communal project with maximum impact and minimal mess.
Are you looking for a unique teambuilding experience that will both delight and challenge your people? Are you looking for more than just an enjoyable afternoon? Are you hoping for energy and learning you can take back to work? If you are looking for any or all of this, you might want to consider Mission Inflatable!
1997: “Artist of the Year” – National Chapter of Young Audiences (selected from over 2000 artists in 32 nationwide chapters)
1996-2000: Common Ground Education Conferences: Workshop Presenter- Saratoga Springs, Albany, Rochester and Syracuse, NY
1996: Helen E. Quinn Service to Education Award-Alpha Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International
“My work evolves from a feeling place into a thinking place and endeavors to touch the heart and the spirit in ways that are common to us all . . . a common ground place that transcends the divisions and separations we create in our minds, which influence our everyday actions, our community and society as a whole. Over my years spent as an educator, teaching artist and storyteller, I have found that today’s students are eager to learn and apply lessons found in history and culture, in addition to developing the necessary skills to become critical and creative thinkers, cultural bridge builders and compassionate doers. As mentors, parents, and teachers, we adults have an obligation to prepare the young people, as well as, ourselves to become more insightful, civic-minded, forgiving and caring members of our communities yet to come.” ~ Almeta Whitis, Artist and Teacher
Almeta Whitis is a storyteller, writer, poet and teaching artist, whose life work involves exploring, presenting, and honoring cultural connections between people. She is a published author and a member of Just Poets. Her poems are featured in their anthology: Le Mot Juste 2012, 2014, 2106 and 2017.
Storytelling Concerts and Workshop Residencies
Our Differences? . . . Celebrate Diversity!
“We are born, not with purpose, but with potential.” ~ Octavia Butler author of: Parable of the Talents
Currently, our country has become a more diverse and inclusive nation. Almeta’s presentation explores historic and contemporary beliefs and the societal changes that have been impacted or created by immigration. This presentation focuses upon the importance of creativity, self-awareness, and inner motivation in order to build appreciation and foster open, honest and respectful communication, which is necessary for living peacefully together in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society. — Grades Pre K-2, 3-5, MS, HS
Stories from the Black Worlds
“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston
This fascinating program from the historic African Diaspora experience presents an in-depth look at diverse world cultures, by way of stories, songs, riddles, poems, legends and folk tales. Using wonder, magic, mystery and humor, Almeta Whitis captivates her audience, while engaging them in the interactive aspect of the art of the storytelling. – Grades K-2, 3-5, MS, HS
Harriet Tubman Pays A Visit
“Those who would tell a tale must look toward three ideals: to tell it beautifully, to tell it well and to tell the truth. The first is a gift of God, the second is the vision of genius, but, the third is the reward of honesty.” ~ W.E.B. Du Bois, author, philosopher
In a dynamic, costumed, first-person narrative performance, Almeta Whitis brings Harriet Tubman to life! The preeminent conductor of the Underground Railroad is portrayed for student audiences through a series of historical vignettes drawn from actual life experiences in Tubman’s fight for freedom, and equal rights for Black people under the law. —- Grades 4-5, MS, HS
Aesop’s Fables: The Spirit in the Story
Tell me a fact, and I may learn something. Tell me a truth, and I might believe. Tell me a theory and I’ll see if it works. Tell me a story, and it may live in my heart forever. ~ East Indian Proverb
The time-honored and oft-told tales attributed to Aesop have been shared, handed down over many centuries. The famous Ethiopian philosopher and scholar used folktales populated by familiar animal characters imbued with human faults and foibles. His stories can help today’s student learn to look at the world with fresh eyes, emphasizing important core human values of kindness, understanding and fair play. This can also be a workshop series where students compose, rehearse and present their very own, original theater pieces based upon specific Aesop fables. — Grades Pre K-2, 3-5
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, mask and mask-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.
FOR ELEMENTARY GRADES
LIKAH! an original Theatre for Young Audiences musical for grades K-5, relates a special story of unconditional love and pure joy. Its central character is an enthusiastic, storytelling puppy who creates a charming world of exploration, wonder, and adventure while discovering life’s lessons and challenges – puddles, snow monsters, an older sister who doesn’t like her! With a bouncy optimistic flair, Likah’s charming world gives way to a deeper storyline that deals with cherishing family and the fundamental issue of loss. Arranged in one whimsical, sad or joyful experience after another, children immediately relate to Likah’s feelings of hurt / self-doubt when being left out, to the joy / self-confidence of realizing she’s special and loved. They’ll be tapping toes and singing their way out the door – the LIKAH! enchantment will remain with young audiences for a very, very long time!
Topics addressed in LIKAH’s! optimistic storyline centers around children’s emotional needs and how the content areas work together providing a strong emphasis on the whole child. Through LIKAH!’s enchanting spirit, life lessons are introduced and thoughtful conversation is stimulated.
• Confidence building
• Sense of self
• Accepting and understanding differences
• Peer pressure
• Importance of strong family connection
• Coping with loss in a child’s world
Performance Time: 50 minutes
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYSk5c5OHes&feature=youtu.be
FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL
FINDING HOME: SHINE THE LIGHT
A multi-media presentation, following the development of the new musical Moses Man about the true story of a Holocaust survivor and that story’s collision with those of contemporary refugees. Linking them across generations by:
The presentation captures past and present refugee testimonies/crises, and the upsurge of discrimination and anti-Semitism worldwide and within our own communities.
Students will also have an unique opportunity to preview the start of a developing documentary by multi-Emmy award winning filmmaker Dave Marshall whose film Finding Home portrays the musical creators’ engagement with national scholars, service organizations and notable artists whose work relates to refugees. The film is accompanied by an introduction and discussion facilitated by a teaching artist and has the potential to be a “gateway” to understanding, tolerance, and compassion for the next generations and to inspire them to strive for a better world by shining a light on how easily “they” could be “us,” and instigates consideration and change.
Performance Time: 40 – 50 minutes (flexible)
Video link: https://youtu.be/HNYJ2tVjI1s
Doug Rougeux, BubbleMan
BubbleMania! with Doug Rougeux for K-8, 45-50 minutes indoors only
The Science of why bubbles pop and do not pop. Including Vivid demonstrations with grade appropriete language about Gravity, Surface tension, and Evaporation with small, medium and Big Big Soap Bubbles choreographed to Big Band Music. Sculpture “Pop Art” with bubbles and snow white fog used together to make an Ice cream cone, a Flying Saucer, Disco Ball and others. For K-3 the assembly includes lessons on Shapes and the Story of Bubba Betty and their baby bubble Buffy staring a young bubble.
BubbleCircus! with Doug Rougeux for K-8, 45-50 minutes outdoors or inside
A one person Circus using Circus Arts to illustrate the story of a silly kid who read how to Juggle, learned Magic, studied Mime and Theater in College, toured the nation as a Ringling Bros. Circus Clown and then became the BubbleMan and Bubbled the World from Mumbai to Mexico to Montreal.
In Jest Entertainers, Speakers and More
Nels Ross’ gravity-defying arts-in-education programs promote character education, wellness, math, science, reading, and fun!
Nels provides several popular performances that blend physical theater, variety arts, humor, music, and a theme. Teachers, students, and others consistently give these programs rave reviews. Study guides provide curriculum connections for the arts, language, physical education, social studies, math, and science. Also, programs can include workshops and be adapted to highlight specific goals or concepts.
Nels Ross is a highly sought after performer and presenter who has won the hearts of American and international audiences through his shows, keynotes, and more. He went to his first performing arts workshops at eight years old. During the next decade, he studied physical comedy, juggling, acting, and other arts, applying his talents everywhere from street festivals to theatrical productions.
Since those early days, Nels has studied theater at the University at Buffalo, completed degrees in mathematics and education, toured with a non-profit circus, trained with instructors from Ringling Brothers and Cirque du Soleil, written for Juggle magazine, taught many performing arts courses and workshops, and provided shows and presentations for countless schools, companies, organizations, and events.
Juggling & Life Skills Playshop
Combine hands-on playshops with any performance to help participants develop coordination, confidence, self-discipline, and other life skills through age-appropriate activities. Props may include feathers, scarves, beanbags, rings, clubs, sticks, spinning plates, and Chinese yo-yos. Playshops appeal to different intelligences and improve tracking, motor, and sequencing skills used in reading, writing, math, and science.
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Professional Development: Build Net Mirth
An entertaining exploration of ”play for grown-ups.” Nels demonstrates how humor and play can serve as effective tools to help parents, educators, and other working professionals. Used properly, these tools can enhance: wellness, morale, motivation, learning, creativity, leadership, communication, relationships, team building, and productivity. Available as a one- to two-hour program for in-service training, conferences, and corporate events.
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The Greatest Show on Mirth
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Read to Achieve
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High on Life
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PUSH Physical Theatre
PUSH Physical Theatre DISCOVERS the potential of young imaginations, GUIDES children in creative, expressive movement and BUILDS confidence and healthy esteem by maturing self-identities in a safe and nurturing environment.
Award-winning PUSH has a long history of creating arts education programming for K-12 and college students. Performances include selections of their work followed by an audience talk-back. Discussion topics include 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.
The artists will guide the students throughout the program. None of our connections are set in stone – if schools, teachers or teaching artists come up with any curriculum tie-ins, key words or concepts, let us know. We would be happy to refer to them during the performance.
The Game Changers -A celebration of Black history. (K-5)
Topher will take the audience on a journey from the slave plantations through the civil rights movement. They will venture on the underground railroad as they sing Follow the Drinking Gourd. The show will culminate with the song “Change begins With me” as the audience remembers men and women in our country of great courage. The audience will help write a verse of their own as they add their own heroes who changed our world. Fredrick Douglas will be highlighted this year.
Giraffes Can’t Dance (PreK-3)
Meets Early Childhood, Music, Theatre & Character Education needs: Enjoy interactive storytelling, dance and drumming while experiencing the story that teaches self-esteem, self-confidence and a celebration of individuality.
Custom Created Programing
Crafted to meet Early Childhood, Music, ELA, Math, Theatre & Character Education needs: One of Topher’s unique skills is the ability to custom create or co-create a program specific to the needs or your your school or individual classroom. Not only is this a fantastic way to meet your unique situation, it is also a very rewarding and positive experience for educators as well as students.
Ted Baumhauer, Ed.D.
Reading is Magic! Show
Well actually it isn’t magic it is a skill very much like juggling. Because reading is a skill you can get better at it. This fun filled show is full of parallels between juggling and reading like: Practice is important, challenging yourself can be fun, and teachers can help you surprise yourself! Other messages include reading can let you learn about anything your interested in knowing about or doing and it’s fun to surprise yourself and others! This show is perfect for grades 2 – 8.
I Can’t Yet! Show
I Can’t YET! is about turning failure into success. This show is a slapstick look at learning. Mistakes are not permanent! This is an audience participation show that teaches goal setting, learning step by step, and challenging yourself to do amazing things. Ted uses the skills of manipulation and balancing to bring these concepts to life. I Can’t Yet has been performed at the Strong Children’s Museum, Trinity Montessori in East Rochester, NY and Creative Themes Summer Camp. The show is appropriate for ages 3 to 103.
“Ted had the audience, ranging in age from 2 to 92, in the palm of his hand.” Judi Weil, Children’s Coordinator, Audubon Court Books, Ltd. Wisconsin.
Red Tie Science Lab
A silly look at science including inertia, aerodynamics, center of mass, centripetal vs. centrifugal force and more. Ted uses tops, frisbees, boomerangs, an airzooka, juggling and more in this fun and engaging show!
Let’s Customize a Show for You & Your Audience
Richard Hughson has portrayed his ‘Professor Hughson’ character for the many years, all the way from Rochester to Vermont. He now brings you Madcap Science. Reaching out to grades 2-6 he delights audiences of all ages with demonstrations of atmospheric pressure, centripetal force, the grip of friction, chemical reactions, safe indoor rocketry, and much more. His wacky humor and audience participation keeps kids enthralled as he teaches the basics of the scientific process; questioning, hypothesis, and experimentation. With decades of theater, prop-building, and clowning experience Richard Hughson presents a madcap romp through the greatest science that can possibly fit through a schoolhouse door.
Shake on the Lake
Shake on the Lake is a professional theatre company that specializes in performances to underserved rural communities. We perform in the Spirit of Shakespeare with fast, fun, physical theatre. Based in Silver Lake, New York, Shake on the Lake hosts a full year of programming including Summer Shakespeare Tour, Winter Performances, and Educational Programming. Shake on the Lake is also a co-presenter of The New York State Puppet Festival and specializes in Puppetry programming for all ages.