Tears of Pride and Joy

Posted 29 January 2014 12:00 AM by Princess Bryant, Target Arts Teaching Artist Assistant at the J. F. Kennedy Elementary School in Jamaica Plain

"I would like to thank Ms. Princess for teaching us how to do a jazz square and step pivot."

So I cried a little in front of 22 fourth graders. HA! Would you not, if you were able to see how much these young artist appreciated your time, artistry and love for teaching them for just over an hour and a half two days a week? My students at the JF Kennedy School transformed into amazing actors and dancers with the help of myself, Kelly Prestel and Rachel Rhoades.

From day one, the message and expectations were set so high that I am not surprised that they performed as if they had been on stage for years. The focus around each lesson plan and eventually the final show was based on storytelling and the lessons that each story had to tell. We focused on two traditional folk tales: La Lagartija y el Sol (The Lizard and the Sun) and Medio Pollito (Half-Chicken). The students analyzed what each story meant to them. From there we began to conjure ideas and, as a class, we created our on folk tale! And when I say "we" I mean the amazing 22 students from the Kennedy. 100 percent their words, ideas, and emotions. This made it easy for Kelly and I to create a flow with the script and the dance.

The final performance was amazing! Being back stage and seeing the rush of excitement and nerves crawling through these 4th graders was awesome! That rush is like no other! Seeing their faces while dancing had me in tears, again!

I am so happy that this opportunity was given to me. I had such an amazing time with these kids and was very sad to say goodbye. I am just happy that they got to experience the same feeling I do every time I am preparing to go on stage and perform!

Nyala, a 4th grader at the JFK Elementary School, glows with pride on receiving her personal copy of The Lizard and the Sun with Teaching Artist Kelly Prestel (left) and Teaching Artist Assistant Princess Bryant. 

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