Hélène Langevin has noticed that children who experience a dance workshop, often for the first time, discover a sense of freedom and enjoy the pleasure of movement, of expressing ideas and creating choreography. It is for them a significant, enriching and stimulating experience.
Barriers fall down: boys discover that they like dancing and see it as an athletic art form, while teachers note that movement is accessible to children and realize the importance of including dance in the curriculum.
Our interventions generate an enthusiastic response. Children establish connections with each other and enjoy a sometimes euphoric feeling of freedom as their bodies move freely in a dynamic exploration of dance!
Bouge de là offers dance workshops in the classroom that focus on the underlying themes of the dance piece they will be seeing. It is a way of introducing youngsters to the art form by means of improvisation and creative dance exercises.
The choreographer or one of the performers can conduct a creative dance session to prepare the students before the show, or to enjoy the experience of dance themselves in a post-show workshop. The objective is to raise their awareness and appreciation of dance.
Dancing my ABCs (based on The 26 Letter Dance)
Thanks to support from the Fondation du Grand Montréal, in March 2015 Hélène Langevin worked with students in the Pointe-de-l’Île school board (CSPI) as part of a residency for research and creative approaches that resulted in The 26 Letter Dance, the latest piece by Bouge de là. That work with school children served as preparation for audience outreach activities centred on the new show – a danced alphabet – an interactive performance where words and letters become stage characters made larger than life through dance.
In a series of workshops, students go through the process of creating a dance piece based on the alphabet. The concrete objective of these sessions is to assist youngsters in making the alphabet come to life by using words, dance and the visual arts as means of expression.
- The students are introduced to the theme of the alphabet prior to being asked to form all the letters of the alphabet with their bodies, working as a team. Each letter is then photographed and photocopied for use in the visual arts segment.
- In the course of three workshops, choreographer Hélène Langevin and a performer review the entire alphabet with the children, the aim being to find words for each letter. These three dance workshops get the students to work on creative ideas and to explore movement by linking together the words they have come up with (e.g. battle, spying, immobility, mirror, rolling and slithering, flying).
- During the final session, the painter and visual artist Eugénia Reznik and choreographer Hélène Langevin invite the children to participate in a two-stage visual arts workshop. Using photos of their bodies as letters of the alphabet (taken during the first session), each child draws and repeats the design pattern used for each letter (zigzag, spiral, wave, broken lines, etc.). Each child then builds a letter using flexible wire, modifying its shape based on the word it represents. For example, a running “R” could take the form of an elongated “R”. The children then draw freehand the word represented by the wire letter. This activity concludes with an exhibit of their works in their school.
Starring… You! is an opportunity for parents and children to create a short contemporary dance sequence. Under the leadership of the choreographer or a dancer, this activity introduces them to the creative process, such that participants become choreographers and dancers for the duration of the workshop. Generally related to the show being presented, this playful exercise in movement brings the family together in a spirit of creativity, with the emphasis on communication and sharing.
This activity can take place before or after the dance performance, either in the lobby of the theatre or in a space suitable for movement.
Since 2008 Bouge de là has been offering children in Montreal North a dance boot camp during spring break. The week concludes with the apprentice dancers proudly presenting the fruits of their labours onstage in the Oliver Jones space in the Maison culturelle et communautaire in Montreal North. Participants are introduced by our dance artists/boot camp instructors to performance protocol and to the ins and outs of putting a show together, from the warm-up to adopting a positive attitude onstage, by way of technical elements (stage curtains, the backstage area, dressing rooms), the closing bow, and stage left and stage right.
Creative Dance Squad – Children ages 5 to 8
This class is taught by a dance artist who gets youngsters to improvise on various basic themes such as the use of space, the body, time, working with a partner (duo), etc. The improvisations are designed to help develop motor skills and physical agility, as well as understanding body image, working as a team and expressing oneself through movement.
Street Dance Squad – Children ages 9 to 12
A dance artist will teach the rudiments of contemporary dance and the vocabulary of urban dance forms (hip-hop, street dance, breakdance). She will create a choreography that includes solos and duos, working with the children on moving dynamically through space.
Bouge de là held its first dance training classes in September 2016. Given the huge success of this activity, it is renewed and enhanced this year!
Dance Training Classes | Autumn 2017 (content in French only)