THE HEART OF THE ARTS A Young Audiences Arts For Learning Virginia Classical Initiative Project
The Project: Overview Challenged with declining interest in classical arts programs, YAV targeted a universal theme found in Shakespeare’s works. “Love and Conflict”, found in many of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, connects with student’s every-day life situations and is a relatable topic. All three programs have been connected to this theme and can be played in any order; however, we prefer starting with Theatre (as original to Shakespeare), then follow with Music (exploring how music embellishes words), then closing with dance (observing movement in relation to music and words). Secured three, high-quality, performing arts ensembles in three art forms. Brainstormed ways to connect with this theme of “Love and Conflict”. Scripted and rehearsed programs. Showcase offered to private guests (educators, artists, administrators) Final revisions were made form Showcase suggestions Pilot Phase implemented, all three programs at five Hampton Roads Elementary Schools
Program Design Support from Education and Artistic Advisors Theatre: Provides intro to Shakespeare’s works Music: Explores his words set to music Dance: Explores compare and contrast in the theme with movement, music, and words Each program was designed to enhance the strengths of the ensemble; therefore, so specific goals were put into action per ensemble. For instance, the Virginia Chorale Trio’s repertoire was chosen around the voicing of the artists and led us to specific musical settings of Morely, Schubert, Berlioz and Gounod. We made several connections to the relevance of Shakespeare's works, and in all three programs, we explore connections to West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate and other works, such as movies and contemporary music.
Identifying The Artists We needed to secure high quality artists who could assist in creating interesting, connected scripts on Shakespeare’s theme of “Love and Conflict”. Virginia Chorale Trio (music) Todd Rosenleib Dance (dance) Baltimore Shakespeare (theatre)
Rehearsals Intense rehearsals began with the artists around their already hectic schedules. These fast-paced rehearsals were productive, and the program outlines and script changes, improved as we moved through them.
Todd Rosenleib Dance Rehearsals Sharp movements in dancing with sticks explored the imagery of conflict.
Todd Rosenleib Dance Rehearsals We combined harsh moves with fluid moves to explore Romeo and Juliet’s relationship and the relationship between their families.
Virginia Chorale Trio Rehearsals Changes with repertoire and script were made as we rehearsed where we needed to make adjustments for grade level appropriateness.
Virginia Chorale Trio Rehearsals Eventually we all agreed on appropriate repertoire and use of classical.
Baltimore Shakespeare Rehearsals This program was the easiest to adapt as it did not have to be created from scratch, it only needed to be altered for the grade level.
Baltimore Shakespeare Rehearsals Changes were made throughout the programs as we rehearsed.
The Showcase The Shakespeare Project Showcase was held in the theatre at the Virginia Beach Central Library, with a privately invited guest list of attendees. Core Classroom Teachers, District Music Supervisors, YAV Artistic Advisors, members of our YAV Program Committee, YAV Education Advisors, as well as YAV Artists and Staff were among those present. Core Classroom teacher Mrs. Wright, John Kelso from Baltimore Shakespeare, and Jeff Corriveaux of Virginia Opera and Virginia Little Theatre.
The Showcase: Baltimore Shakespeare Audience participatory segments went well, but we noticed a few improvements that needed to be made.
The Showcase: Virginia Chorale Trio Amy Cofield, of Virginia Chorale Trio, sings with Scott Williamson, tenor, performing “Tonight” from West Side Story
The Showcase: Virginia Chorale Trio “It Was A Lover And His Lass” performed with Dance Advisor Elbert Watson and Minette Cooper.
The Showcase: Todd Rosenleib Dance Todd Rosenleib Dance Company had the biggest amount of program restructuring. Problems we encountered were with artistic faculty availability, which changed 3-times in the development phase. Additional problems included audience dialogue and relating the difficult concepts of imagery and symbolism. Once the dialogue matched the concepts, these problems were resolved.
The Showcase: Todd Rosenleib Dance Overall, the Showcase itself went smoothly, the artists performed beautifully, and it was well received.
The Showcase The powerful symbolic dance of love and conflict was amazing!
Who Was There? District Music Supervisors Norfolk public Schools Virginia BeachSchools YAV Artistic Advisors Educators Volunteers Board Members YAV Artists & Staff Host Site Staff YAV Ed Committee YAV Artistic Director, Michael Kerry Williams, offered an in-depth look, workshop, anddiscussion on the project.
What They Said! Liked the concept Loved the artists Themed programming is good Scripts needing some adjusting Difficult to see the big picture with Showcase segments SOL pointers wonderful> Compare & Contrast (patterns) musical, dance and literary patterns brought out Concerned about the targeted 5th grade grade level, subject relevance, adult theme of love and conflict, adult language “hell”. Overall, great feedback and direction for supporters!
Pilot Phase In the pilot phase, we chose 5 elementary schools to implement the project while student and teacher test groups from each performance site offer pre and post attitudinal surveys. Each site had to pay a co-pay to test if the market will accept the programming, and determine if this is sustainable.
Participating Schools Willard Model Elementary In Norfolk ThreeNewport News Wythe Elementary in Hampton Fairfield Elementary in Virginia Beach
Relationships Built Improved relations with Virginia Beach Public Schools. District Supervisor was impressed with our communication and our desire for their feedback/input. Improved relations with Arts Advisors Strengthened Mission for Education Advisors Visibility of Project to the public through our Host Site (VA Beach Central Library) Developed further ideas and concepts for artists not participating in the project.
What We’ve Learned Never target a time-sensitive project for very busy and popular artists, schedules will conflict! Improve communication between grant writer and the staff that must implement! Bring partners on board in early stages of development! Talk about benefits of the themed project… continued learning, applied connections, compare and contrast to art forms.
The Future Marketing The Concept-Project Continuation Catalog Web Site Future Marketing Concepts