As a new school year is set to begin and new teachers are settling in at Léman International School, Mrs. Cheryl Heryes and Mr. Ben Lepp were on their way to New York City to once again attend a professional development opportunity that focuses on the Juilliard Dance Program.
Mrs. Heyres and Mr. Lepp attended a workshop by Hillary Easton, one of Juilliard’s finest dance choreographers. During this session, she delivered a workshop on pass, kick, fall and run while also exploring a Merce Cunningham dance activity. They were also able to experience Bharatanatyam, another dance core work that focuses on storytelling through dance. Another fun experience was attending a hip hop class with Ms. Vee, a dancer, performer, and choreographer who specializes in Hip Hop and Street Dance. Ms. Vee’s workshop was fun and engaging while broken down into small bits that gave confidence to even the most inexperienced dancers. When you are in a creative space and you can feel the enthusiasm, you are able to get into the moment and feel comfortable in your surroundings and the people around you. This is beneficial when implementing the dance program within a classroom setting. Another workshop that they attended was offered by Irene Dowd focusing on Exploration of the Architecture of our Skeleton and the Movement of our Joints. We were able to study a real human skeleton dating back 50 years and it is interesting to see how it is connected and the importance of each bone when we move. This helps us to understand how our movements can have an effect on our skeletal structure.
Mrs. Heyres and Mr. Lepp attended a Flamenco workshop wherein the main focus was the 12 beat pattern and creating syncopated rhythm using foot works and hand movements. Mrs. Heyres commented, “This is something that I really enjoyed as I can see this as a lesson that I can implement in my own classroom due to the complex rhythmic patterns. This lesson will help my students develop their rhythmic skills and understand rhythm through movement.” Afterwards, they were able to watch Juilliard students who prepared phrases of Merce Cunningham’s choreography. It was an amazing experience because being in one room with these amazing and talented dancers allowed you to feel and seethe work they put into a non-stop 40 minute performance. The dance routine was done in a cannon style with a lot of repetition but with staggered entrances and exits. Watching the students made you become more aware of dance in a contemporary light which we believe is a perfect example to witness that our teachers can pass onto our students.
One of the highlights of the week was the drama workshop that was delivered by Jean Taylor. They did an activity that allowed us to perform using a limited space and by utilizing a narrator as the driver of the scene. The performance led to a reflection about a performance that was done by the Manual Cinema that specializes in a theater performance that is actually projected using a GoPro camera. It was really interesting as it was a unique experience and Mrs. Heyres plans on bringing this concept to Léman for future performances. The best part was meeting enthusiastic dance leads from the Nord Anglia China Region schools.
Finally, we would like to congratulate Mrs. Cheryl Heyres who has been recently appointed as the Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Lead for China Region. This means that she will be working with all Nord Anglia schools in China in the field of Music, Dance, and Drama (Performing Arts) to ensure the successful deployment of the programme. She looks forward to supporting the Performing Arts Leads in our Nord Anglia schools here in China