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Performing Arts – Juilliard Creative Classroom

In Dance class, we have been using Juilliard’s Creative Classroom to explore articulation and expression through exploring ‘Folk Origins and Forms.’ Flamenco, a fusion of song, dance, and musicianship, is known for its emotional intensity. The flamenco we see today is the result of centuries of cultural mixing. The unique characteristics of the dance include intricate rhythmic footwork, expressive arm movements, and a proud carriage.

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In KS1, we looked at footwork. We learned the vocabulary associated with different parts of the feet and used this to create rhythms. Students will articulate different parts of their feet (whole foot, ball of the foot, heel, toes) and identify the parts of the feet used by the dancers in zapateado. We also explored braceo, or expressive arm movements. We varied open and closed positions of the arms and the flow of movements to suggest a range of emotions.

In KS2, we looked at how the flamenco dancer turns himself into a percussion instrument in the Farruca. We created rhythmic patterns using their bodies as percussion instruments. We also looked at postura, or Flamenco carriage. The basic posture of a flamenco dancer is one of the striking features of this dance tradition. The back is elongated and slightly arched, the shoulders pulled down and back, the chest open and the head held high, sometimes with a slightly raised chin.

In Drama, we have explored the traditions of Theatrical Clowning. The humour and poignancy of silent theatrical clowning lives in the performer’s willingness to be in direct contact with the audience. We have explored JCC’s Core work, Compagnia Baccala’s Pss Pss. We have experimented with Time Play, articulated a moment of discovery using our facial expressions and broken the fourth wall.

By Lisa Allan

Performing Arts Teacher