Dance and Storytelling Club

This is the second of a few posts that feature the new programming in Conservatory Lab’s Make, Move and Jam Clubs Program.

Students started each day of the Dance and Storytelling Club with a warm up and an affirmation. This allows them to celebrate their creativity and uniqueness with words and motions that illustrate the ways they can be themselves. Their dance affirmation, choreographed by Club Mentor Bianca Vonleh, goes like this:

I am me.
I am strong.
I am unique.
I do things to stand out, not to fit in.
My mind is free.
I can create.
I can be what I want to be.
I am me!

After warm-up students listened to folktales from around the world. They read Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon, Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti, and Papagayo: The Mischief Maker (A Brazilian Folktale) all written and illustrated by Gerald McDermott. These stories feature bright illustrations of animals in motion.

Throughout the reading, students are encouraged to think about how each animal moves. During the Dance portion of our program, students take turns sharing the motions they imagined, and explaining their choices. “The Eagle is very big, so I stood on tiptoes and stretched as big as I could.”   

Club mentors Malikah Brown and Bianca Vonleh incorporated the students’ movements and  worked together to teach a few additional dance routines inspired by their own experiences. Ms. Brown has worked professionally as a cheerleader, choreographer, and makeup technician with many local dance companies, and she and Ms. Vonleh both have experience with several dance forms: Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and more!  

As program wrapped up each Wednesday, students developed their characters using movement, visual art, and writing, depending on their skills. Many drew pictures of animals inspired by the illustrations in the books to connect to their roles.

Everyone shone like a star in our virtual family celebration using colorful face-masks and inspired by the illustrations in the books they read.