Professional dancer and dance teacher, Jane Mason, led a highly successful THF-sponsored dance workshop at Teignmouth Community School , Mill Lane, recently.
The school asked her to lead a creative dance and movement workshop for years 4 and 5 on creative responses to issues connected to climate change, such as heat, weather, water, danger, and loss, using these triggers for movement explorations.
THF trustee Annie Kirk visited the workshop with Sarah Marshall-Maun, Friend of THF and herself well-versed in the language of dance. Sarah writes:
“Jane Mason did a great job of encouraging the children to work collaboratively, as a whole class group & in pairs. The duets required each dancer to rely on their partners, thus building both trust and bonding.Year 5 soon understood how movement can be used to express different moods/ideas.
An inspirational mentor, Jane really made the children aware of weight & body tension as a means to create movement.
We really liked the way Jane built up the complete dance as separate elements that later slotted together perfectly - then culminated in an expressive group dance.”
THF heard the next day from one of the teachers at the school:
"I saw your THF Facebook post about the lovely Jane coming to Mill Lane yesterday. I was one of the staff at the afternoon session and I just wanted to say how super it was.
Thank you for enabling our children to enjoy an enrichment activity which was both fun and meaningful. I feel it was important to contact you to say how much we appreciated it. I just feel so grateful that, as a community, our children have THF as benefactors for the future of the arts in our local area. We have referenced Jane's visit today in class, so the ripple effect continues! Thanks again for making a difference."
In the piece below, Jane Mason writes about preparing for and leading her workshop in Teignmouth, giving insight into the experience many artists undergo as they work with young people in a school setting.
Meet Jane Mason
"To go into a primary school is always a bit nerve-wracking. I don't take it for granted I'll immediately know how to create a positive experience for children. I prepare as best I can and then just plunge in, figuring it out in the moment when the little people arrive, their excited bodies coming into the room, full of anticipation, always always gives me a lift.
I was asked by Daisi to deliver workshops about Climate Change and Oceans for a school in Teignmouth, to be funded by The Helen Foundation. I hadn't heard about THF and was moved to read about the work they do before going in. Annie Kirk and her colleague Sarah from THF came to the school and watched the first session. I wondered what they'd make of it, of me encouraging a child to try and move another child unaided (who was lying down, under strict instruction not to help the mover by making themselves as heavy as possible) out of the circle. What does any of that have to do with Climate Change?
I've since learnt more about THF. I sense the devotion, the years of labour, the effort, tenacious 'keeping going', just as Daisi do, to keep making experiences through the arts happen for children. I don't take it for granted, it's a privilege to go into a school and share my love of moving with children. It's not hugely visible work, and without organisations like these who tirelessly fight I'd be less able to do it, and children would have fewer opportunities to do it too.
Does it really matter?
I really think it does...