Education blog

Performance Time at the Blackstone

Posted 15 December 2016 12:00 AM by Mary Teuscher

Our final day with the third grade students was bittersweet. We had a great performance but we also had to say goodbye. Everyone came together for the final show! Several students who had not been able to focus as well during class or rehearsal became aware of the power of the audience’s presence and transformed into more focused individuals that day. This is the power of the performing arts! We had all felt this the moment we left the waiting area out in the hall. Coming into an almost full auditorium made our work feel real and important. The performing arts hold people accountable in this way. That is why I think it is so essential for the classroom. I am thinking of one student in particular - Jason.

Jason had been having an extremely hard week and had actually been kicked out of class on Monday because he was making the space unsafe for other students. I think for him dancing and performing and singing on Monday for our final showcase was an extremely good break from the normal activities of school. Jason got to be another version of himself for a moment, and he got to feel proud. Kids need access to the powerful, positive and safe emotional experiences inevitably brought on by the performing arts. If teachers have the objective of making all participants feel proud and included, the drama of the stage and the audience can really be transformative. I know this from my own experience as well. The stage takes us to an imaginary place so we have a brief respite from our lives. In times when our lives are particularly trying, this moment away can provide perspective. So, sometimes, when we return to everyday life after a magical stage experience, we feel a little different. This is what I saw happen with Jason. It was incredible to witness.

Jason had a huge smile on his face for the rest of the time we were with him that afternoon. While we shared cupcakes and gave away our student copies of The TIny Seed he was eager to clap and was positive around his classmates. Although I did not know how his day was after we left, I do know our performance on Monday was a beautiful moment for Jason.

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