Stories From the Fall Interactive Arts Festival At Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library

Posted 7 February 2014 12:00 AM by Jennifer Bencosme and Charlotte Anne Dore

Jennifer Bencosme, dance instructor from La Pi&ntildeata: I enjoyed teaching “Danza” to a group of teens who probably have never seen or heard of “Danza Azteca”. “Danza” is part of the most basic manifestations of the artistic and cultural spirit of the native people of Mexico. “Danza” takes training just as ballet or even modern dance. Aztec dance accompanied by Mayan instruments is a performance on its own. Once they understand what they mean and why we are doing it they too become engaged.

For me it was important to share the “why” behind these dances. It was great watching the teens mess up and go for it again. Perseverance and determination of these individuals was evident in my workshop. It is imperative that communities come together to showcase the amazing people that have right around the corner from one another. We should not hide our crafts, we should showcase them whenever possible. It is important not only to see the diversity of people from each community but also the diversity of arts. Dudley festival of Arts is a great vehicle to drive the message home. Charlotte Anne Dore, storytelling puppeteer from Rosalita's Puppets:

For this festival, I played "Aunty Goose" helping children build paper bag puppets and then integrating those puppets into a live puppet presentation. The impact from the participants was strong. First, there was a satisfaction of building something and getting to take it home then being able to use it in a story with lines and story choices...this empowerment for children is something that gives them confidence. One of the most memorable moments during the event was the little boy who made a vampire puppet (just after Halloween) that he so enjoyed and having the puppet play the doctor in "The Dragon and the Doctor" story; as well as when all the kids marched around with their puppets near the end and took a bow all with big smiles on their faces.

"Aunty Goose," played by Charlotte Anne Dore of Rosalita's Puppets, engages the children in a fun-filled puppet story

A future hope is that communities can have access to the performing arts in order to enrich their skills sets from socialization, and in making choices, and using all of these skills in life. Performing arts puppetry can especially give children who are shy the confidence to speak out - behind and through the eyes of the puppet. This all access free festival helps to contribute to the community in allowing people an affordable opportunity without the need to make long trips or pay high prices to see and do fun stuff in the arts.

Performers from La Pinata provide accompanying music to the traditional Aztec dances.

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