At Naropa University, Cal State University, Bank Street College, Young Audiences NY, Readers Theater Workshop, and Dreamyard Drama Project I have designed and taught many curriculums that offer training and experience in the disciplines of THEATER (voice, body, acting, devising, writing, directing), MOVEMENT (capoeira, creative, developmental, improvisation and choreography), and MUSIC (percussion, ensemble song, composition, and vocal improvisation). I have offered these workshops and residencies to a range of students from kindergarten through college age in many different settings and time frames. In the NYC Public School system I have collaborated with teachers to integrate arts education practices into literature and arts, social studies, and math curriculums. I have also created residencies that offer pure art training and experience in theater, movement, and music. My approach is multi-disciplinary and one that focuses on experiential learning and play.
What follows are some examples of Guest Artist Residencies, Workshops, and Curriculums I have created, taught, and continue to offer:
- Freeing the Instrument–Voice, Vibration, and Touch: I offered this residency at Naropa University in the BFA Performance Program. In a 7-week exploration of Developmental Movement, Body Dynamics™, and Linklater Voice Work, we trained in Ensemble Awareness, Hands on Body Work, Vocal Performance, Composition, and Monologue Play. Students created small group compositions including sound and movement.
- The Art of the Song–Lyric, Melody, Rhythm: Through an experiential study of a song — performance, listening, word sharing, gesture, rhythm practice, melody practice, poetic imagery — many curriculum and artistic disciplines can be studied while engaging in exercises beneficial for the kinesthetic, aural, and visual learner. All this is set in the context of ensemble development and performance practice. The theatrical space is activated as a means of observing the social space and creating a positive classroom dynamic. This curriculum is created as a way to study the art of communication — giving and receiving — and it can function as a framework for the study and experience of many artistic, literary, cultural, and social topics. I have developed this curriculum using the songs: Way Over Yonder, I Feel the Earth Move, Amazing grace, Shiver Me Timbers, I Found Me a Cat, and If I only Had a Brain — each offers its own compelling content. I have created many variations of this workshop/residency based on the needs of particular situations.
- Improvisational Movement and Theater– Freeing the Instrument: This is an experiential workshop that uses movement, improvisation, and dramatic play to create a fun and supportive environment in which the participants express themselves as well as learn how to listen to and support others. Basic Ensemble Development, physical, and theatrical exercises are designed to open up a sense of play, collaboration, and expression within the group. These skills and practices can then be applied to devising original performance, generating text, or creating choreography. I have created many variations of this workshop/residency based on the needs of particular situations.
- Hello World–Autobiographical Writing Based on Piri Thomas Monologue: In this curriculum we begin by hearing a performance of and then reading aloud this Piri Thomas monologue from the book Down These mean Streets. The material serves as a springboard for writing an autobiographical monologue that identifies one’s place in the world – literally, socially, economically, and emotionally. Depending on the situation the material can be developed and performed.
- Vocal Percussion–Theater Arts: Mt Sinai Hospital Residency — In a lock up/special education school, over the course of 10 weeks with 4 classes ranging from 4 year olds to high school age, we played with vocal percussion/percussion instruments/and ensemble composition. Ranging from developing simple sequences to writing original text, mirror reflection movement to solo performance.
- Adaptations of Shakespeare–Scene Writing and Character Embodiment: In sixth grade classes in collaboration with Literature and Arts teachers, we read and performed scenes from Romeo and Juliet, studied Shakespeare’s language, and wrote original scenes based on the topics of the original. Throughout we practiced vocal articulation and physical ensemble skills. The residency culminated in school wide performances.
- Devising Original Performance in High School–Epic Expression: Young Audiences Theater Arts Residency 16 weeks, 3 Ninth grade classes in the Bronx — In this residency each group trained in basic voice and body expression, we developed original vocal percussion songs, wrote personal monologues, and performed as an ensemble.
- Composition: Creating Original Song/Performance on a Topic: Each of three 3 rd grade classes created an original performance based on an Environment — Desert, Ocean, and Jungle — we conducted research about the environments, practiced ensemble performance skills, and created performances out of physical and vocal images and original text written about the particular environments.
- Music and Math: Percussion teaching fractions, sequence, measure, whole / part, tempo, and rhythm. I created and taught a curriculum on math and fractions for a TV 411 show that aired on PBS and around the country.
- Dance and Choreography: 6 first grade classes–choreography and performance of a dance. Over the course of 10 weeks each class developed ensemble skills and we choreographed, rehearsed, and performed original dances to songs they selected. Dances choreographed to: Lets Get It Started, Hit the Road Jack, Boogie Oogie, Lets Get Loud, Step Happy, and Electric Slide.
- Creative Sound and Movement: Creative play and focus on ensemble, sound and movement with 5-10 year old special education students. We studied sounds, sequence, unison, tempo, and composition with percussion instruments. We practiced movement in space, spatial arrangement, shifting and stillness. Each group created a performance for the whole school and parents.
- Creating Performance Based on Literature -Voicing Perspectives, Vocal Articulation and Physical Awareness: Project Liberty – Staten Island, Three 5th Grade classes, 8 Saturday Workshops, –In this workshop we practiced developing ensemble with vocal percussion games and physical performance, we translated stories we read into performance duets and scenes.
- Creative Movement and Song: “I Found Me a Cat” song interpretation. Through study of this song 3 first grade classes played with performance, physical expression, spatial awareness, vocal sounds, and the writing of animal poems. We created and rehearsed an original performance for students and parents based on our work together.
- Adaptation of Story: 6th Grade Social Studies Class 725, 8 weeks, Script Adaptation of Wild Horse book. In devising a script based on this story we learned about point of view and perspective. Each student wrote from the perspective of one part of the story – some becoming the grass, the storm, or the horse. The texts were intertwined with movement and sound to create original performance.
- Creating Original Group Theater in High School: High School of International Art and Business, After School, 12 weeks, 9th grade. After a beginning ensemble development based on rhythm, mirror, state of readiness, willingness to play and risk, students wrote original monologues, created sound and movement sequences, taught each other stepping routines, and rehearsed and performed their work for the rest of the school.
- Ensemble Play in Sound and Movement: (PS 346K, IS 171K, and others) I have created many variations of this residency bringing physical and sound play into the classroom, developing skills of listening, participation, physical expression, repetition, spatial awareness, composition, and rehearsal. In the process of our play, many social, musical, and physical skills are practiced.