How shall a Storyteller collaborate with a Dancer?
Well, first the Storyteller spins a story to a group of very imaginative kids, ages 7-11 years old.
The story is about two lands: one is the tropical paradise island of Lemuria, and the other is the crystal urban labyrinth of space-aged Atlantis.
After the story, she gives them paper and crayons to draw scenes from the story. That’s an okay idea, but the kids explain to her that what they what they really need is to build. Out come the magnet blocks. The children begin to build the crystal structures, how they imagine the buildings of Atlantis to be. It was the architecture that interested them most.
Now the Storyteller’s work is done. The kids transition into the dance studio with Amanda Barrett Hayes (who runs a lovely movement program for children, Moving-Body). The Dancer.
Amanda asks the kids: “If you were in the streets of Atlantis, how would you move? How would you move through this techno city? Like a robot? Fast? Slow? Are there tunnels to crawl through? Are there crowds to get through?”
The kids begin to unroll yoga mats and lay them out like streets. Techno music plays, and they begin to fly through space, and crawl, and roll, drop to the ground, spring up again, pivot, freeze, and turn.
The song ends.
Now it is time for Lemuria.
The Dancer asks:
“How would you move if you were in Lemuria? Through the sea, how do you dive, are there animals?”
She opens a magic box filled with color, and passes out silk veils to all the children.
Music. A drumbeat, with a sprinkling of piano falling like petals.
The children begin to fly around the space with the silk and color, like butterflies.
And as for me, the Storyteller, I have been watching this entranced. And I know that tomorrow my story will have tunnels, and bridges, and animals, and children who move like butterflies.
This post is part of a series about my experiences collaborating with educators, artists and children at Whole Kids Summer Camp, Houston.