The difference a stage makes
The multi-purpose room I teach in at the Language School has acquired a stage over the holidays. It’s about half-a-meter off the floor, with red carpet, and red satin curtains around its base. Very cabaret! It makes you want to run up the stairs and start show-dancing.
When each of the three classes arrived for their lesson I got them to go straight up those stairs and stand on the stage. Some started dancing or ‘performing’ straight away. Others automatically stood in a line across the front. We played with ‘position’ words for a while – “Stand at the front of the stage… stand at the back… in the middle…” – in order to get them experiencing the space, and the view they have from up there.
Having a space that is clearly a performance space brings out the performer in lots of kids. Like having access to a microphone – they can have a taste of themselves as a performer or a star.
One class didn’t want to come down. At the end of the lesson I put on a CD of different tracks and invited them to dance. Their teacher and I just watched. They were so inventive! We had characters, we had slapstick, we had dancing to make others laugh, and dancing that was the child’s natural, joyous expression. At first only the boys were dancing, but by the third song, they had come down the stairs and taken their female classmates by the hand and brought them up on the stage. Everyone dancing to Bob Marley singing One Love – you can’t ask for more than that on the first day back for Term 2! “It’s a good song,” one child from Brazil beamed as she grooved with her friends.