In Their Own Words...Fall Interactive Arts Festival at the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library

Posted 17 February 2014 12:00 AM by Keyana Jones; Valerie Stephens

Keyana Jones, dance instructor from Movement In the Moment, Inc. at the Dudley Interactive Arts Festival: As a dancer, dance educator and group fitness instructor I am able to share the multifaceted layers of dance; an unspoken, unwritten art that allows me to expresses my feelings and aspirations. Dance provides me a level of peace and fulfillment and with this art I share my stories with the world.

The Dudley Art Festival gave me the opportunity to share this gift with the community of Roxbury. Dance is an art form that unifies people regardless of how they look and where they come from.

During this experience I was able to teach people from all walks of life the culture of African Dance. The collaboration amongst the many people who participated in the festival was able to take a journey into cultural diversity and lifelong learning. I am truly grateful to the Citi Performing Arts Center, and I wish to see more events like the Dudley Arts Festival. My most memorable moment was watching the old learn from the young, and the young learn from the old. It was truly an inter-generational experience.

Valerie Stephens, storytelling teaching artist at the Dudley Interactive Arts Festival:

As I sat waiting for my workshop to begin, I watched the preceding one. I felt my heart flutter as I questioned my ability to communicate the significance and fun of the age old art of storytelling to a group of young folks in such a short time. Storytelling, the art form that requires a person to stand their ground unencumbered with props, communicate/entertain/teach using two instruments, voice and body.

It’s my turn. I sit and wait for my students. They sit down, four year olds and a two year old. We look at each other. Breathe. “What animal would you like to be, if you could be an animal?”

“A Lion, grrrrr”

“A Giraffe”

“A Baby Tiger, meow” said the two year old.

We were off and running. Going through theater exercises geared for the much younger performer, role playing, movement, emotions. All basic aspects of being a Teller. They are having fun but were they getting it? A few minutes later, Miss Giraffe came to me and said that the giraffe doesn’t make a sound. “What sound should it make?” I asked.

She looked off in thought for a few seconds and then said softly, “Oooowwww”. And then my four year old Giraffe began to tell me a story about how she had to get food being so tall and why she liked making her “Oooowww” sound. You see, I celebrate the positive, long range impact of The Arts, both visual and performing. I have seen it in action. I am a beneficiary. I was the shy, insecure, awkward girl. It never gets old, watching a child use their creative ability. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Little Miss Giraffe the four year old Storyteller. Look out for her; she’s a great little Teller with a lot to say.

Keyana Jones, of Movement in the Moment, Inc., instructs students on Caribbean jazz dance performance elements.

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