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48 Unique Luxur y 49
Out There - Timothy Szczepkowski-Collins,
50 Unique Luxur y 51
hen Australia’s largest classical ballet company wanted
to spread the word...
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Samsung - fusing with technology


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Samsung - fusing with technology

  1. 1. 48 Unique Luxur y 49 FusingTechnology withtheArts Out There - Timothy Szczepkowski-Collins, Chantelle van der Hoek, Jack Gibbs & Jasmin Dwyer Photo - Aaron Veryard
  2. 2. 50 Unique Luxur y 51 W hen Australia’s largest classical ballet company wanted to spread the word about its performing arts education program Out There, its first step was to partner with a world leading technology company. Since The Australian Ballet teamed up with Samsung as presenting partner in 2014, the relationship has gone from strength to strength, helping the Out There program reach more than 18,300 students across 117 schools across five states and two territories last year alone. The program is part of Samsung’s ongoing commitment to work with a range of partners who support young people’s education across Australia. Driven largely by The Australian Ballet education team including senior education manager Katy McKeown and dance development manager Hayley Arundel, Out There exists to break down geographic, socio-economic or physical barriers to students seeking access to performing arts education. Dance educators Jasmin Dwyer, Jack Gibbs, Chantelle van der Hoek and Timothy Szczepkowski-Collins, who are also classically trained dancers, make up the Dance Education Ensemble. The program itself includes workshops, demonstrations and discussion forums designed to reinforce the arts outcomes of the national curriculum. For primary aged children this takes the form of a roving interactive presentation that offers participants an introduction to dance movement with a focus on kinetic learning. In addition the program seeks to inspire participants to use a mix of observation, participation and interaction, both with the dance presenters and each other. The Secondary School Workshop and Community Program, introduced for the first time this year, focuses on developing dance movement skills through co-authored choreography technique with a dance vocabulary and performing arts appreciation. As an extension to its offering Out There last month teamed with the Sydney Opera House’s Access program to offer a week-long residency program where saw the ensemble work with children to offer workshops specifically designed for their individual needs. Each workshop was complemented by a special performance of The Sleeping Beauty, which saw the ensemble perform a 40-minute contemporary ballet experience featuring a traditional Aurora and her Prince mixed in with a Wolf in a Hoodie, the Bluebird in a Beanie and a tomboy Red Riding Hood with a Samsung tablet in her rucksack. To further extend its support of the program, Samsung’s Corporate Social Responsibility division conceived the idea of launching an event specifically targeted at students with special needs who wished to take part in the program. Dubbed Samsung Dance Discovery, the program was an interactive multisensory experience tailor made for special needs students keen to learn more about dance. Consisting of three different zones, each with their own cameras, mirrors and other touch points, the flexibility of the program meant participants were able to select the zone best suited to their individual strengths and capabilities. The first zone, called The Rehearsal Studio, explored the movement and vision of dance. Students had the opportunity to watch a dance rehearsal on the Samsung Gear VR, affording them a realistic studio experience. Vision-impaired students joined in by touching and standing at the barre and moving in character. The second zone was termed The Orchestra Pit and celebrated the wonderful role sound plays at the ballet and at the theatre generally. Students listened to music using Samsung Level One Pro headphones while sitting in the ‘orchestra pit’. All students, including those with a hearing impairment or those who did not feel comfortable wearing headphones, were able to touch and ‘play’ various instruments that would usually be found in the pit. The final zone, called Backstage, allowed for a more tactile experience, exploring touch and the beautiful textiles of costumes. Students were asked to match fabrics with costumes on display on tablets. The task was completed on beanbags providing a quieter zone for those who may have become overwhelmed by the new experience and the buzz around them. But it was not just participants who received an education via this process. Tess Ariotti, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Samsung, says by putting together the Dance Discovery program the company learned that students respond well to activities that they can see themselves in or have authorship over. “Our research reminded us how simple things can make a big difference. We know that repetition helped students feel more comfortable so colours, costumes and music were repeated across the zones and mirrored the Out There workshops and performance, responding to the insight that new experiences can be overwhelming for students. This approach helped calm them and was further supported by the provision of an activity booklet prior to the experience, meaning some parts of the Samsung Dance Discovery program already felt familiar.” Samsung says the most inspiring take-away was how much learning improves if students are given the right support to overcome barriers. Ms Ariotti says this is something these teachers work on every day and that it was “a very humbling moment” for Samsung to contribute to education in this way. “Through the creation of Samsung Dance Discovery we’ve been able to enhance learning outcomes and make cultural experiences more accessible for all members of our community. We believe our technology can be used to overcome barriers and support young people’s education, which is why it is important to create activities like this where we can see it in action. Through our Corporate Citizenship program, we are contributing to a future where all young Australians have access to the best technology and learning opportunities.” In addition to its support of The Australian Ballets programs, Samsung also works with a range of partners who support young people’s education across Australia via its sponsorship of Questacon, The National Science and Technology Centre and its associated Smart Skills workshop as well as offering support to teachers through different channels such as the NSW Premier’s Samsung Technology in Rural and Remote Schools Scholarship. Samsung says it is committed to continuing to invest in this area in the future. To maximise the success of Samsung Dance Discovery it is now designing follow- up documentation to share the insights and results from the activity. Jack Gibbs, Chantelle van der Hoek Photo - Aaron Veryard Opposite page: Out There - Jasmin Dwyer Photo - Aaron Veryard