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The A New Path to the Waterfall Finale

June 14th’s choreographed walk marked the final event of A New Path to the Waterfall.

Over the course of the year, the students in MaryAnn Persoon’s grade 6/7 class worked with six different artists, additional guest artists and the Contemporary Art Gallery at large.

The presence and practices of each of the artists, T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss, Elisa Ferrari, Carmen Papalia, Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling, and finally Justine A. Chambers excited the class with each project and interpretation of the intersection of art and the everyday. Themes addressing and questioning power structures, visibility, knowledge sharing and alternative sensorial methods of learning were manifested through herbariums, sound walks, visibility campaigns, soda making and choreography. These projects offered the students new pathways to learning and understanding art within the wider world.

At a pivotal moment, with some students transitioning from elementary school to high school, individual reflection on the project revealed desires to interact with their worlds’ in a new way. One student, Lola expressed that she “did something that [she] wouldn’t normally do”. Diana expressed that she felt included in each project and Ms. Persoon  expressed that by the end of the project, especially with Justine’s approach to movement based practices, there was “an acceptance and an ability to take risks” from everyone as a group. As observed by the attendance, conversation and participation at each end presentation, it seemed that the adults, parents, staff, friends and family had learnt not only from the participating artists, but from the creativity and enthusiasm of the grade 6/7 class as well.

A very big thank you to students Phoenix, Benjamin, Legend, Nala, Chloe, Marissa, Valentina, Pierre, Sean, Vanaya, Joseph, Henry, Arius, Mia, Antonio, Diana, Aisha, Elijah, Noella, Sailor, Jamal, Sylvia, Shanika, Lola, Sophie, Nyaruach and Brooklyn for their willingness to try new things, take creative risks and challenge themselves throughout the project!

Introducing the intersectors

This last session with Justine A. Chambers (and sadly the last session of A New Path to the Waterfall) was packed!

Throughout the day, the grade 6/7 class not only began designing their t-shirts for their walk, the intersectors, but also went through the fine tuning of their moves.

Using the map that Justine finalized the other week, the class combined iron on transfers, flame-patterned patches, gothic velour type faces, fabric paint and bejeweled motifs from the fabric store to create a dress code that would help set the mood for their choreographed interceptions.

Prepping costumes

Prepping t-shirts. Photography by Four Eyes Portraits

Putting the final touches on the shirts by late afternoon, the class pulled their concentration together to do a quick dress rehearsal and to suss out obstacles they might encounter such as rough terrain or wet weather.

By the time 5.30pm rolled around, classroom 203 quickly filled up with an excited audience. To boot, the weather held up and there was not a single drop of rain and the performance went off without a hitch! The intersectors slid in some improvisational, unscripted maneuvers, the shepherds kept the audience on route and at the end, the class received a warm and well deserved applause, a high note to end the last final presentation on.

 

The Interceptors in action! Photo courtesy of Four Eyes Portraits

the intersectors in action! Photography by Four Eyes Portraits

Photo courtesy of Four Eyes Portraits

Photography by Four Eyes Portraits

Photo courtesy of Four Eyes Portraits

Justine A. Chambers. Photography by Four Eyes Portraits

 

Rehearsals for ‘the intersectors’

Combing the routes from last week’s walks, Justine created a new route for the final choreography.

The class was able to test this route and plan the logistics of their moves at a few sites of interest over these past few sessions with Justine. This included the alley way from last week, the stairwell in the school, the school courtyard and the playground in Maclean Park.

Thinking through Justine’s question of ‘how do we move together?’, the class was able to put their ideas into practice and bounce ideas off each other one place at a time. Moving through what did or did not seem to work, they developed some new choreographies using parts of their bodies that they didn’t expect to use. For example, in Maclean Park, the class discovered the weight of their facial expressions in their performance. Justine pointed out that in dance, the eyes are considered a limb!

Figuring out playground tableaux

Figuring out playground tableaux

Justine’s collaborator Alanna was also able to join the rehearsals in the afternoon when they developed their stairwell dance. Alanna helped the class work through how they wanted to guide their audience back into the classroom at the end of the performance via the school’s two main stairwells. They experimented with gaining speed to run up the stairs by swinging on the stair rails.

Alanna helping out with choreographies!

Alanna helping out with choreographies!

At the end of the day, the class watched some slow-motion footage of their rehearsals and began brainstorming their custom t-shirt costumes for the performance. They wound down by reflecting on time and movement. They also voted on what they wanted to call their performance – the intersectors! Looking forward to it this Thursday the 14th!

A t-shirt design for the intersectors, image courtesy of Legend Eastman

A t-shirt design for the intersectors, image courtesy of Legend Eastman

Ms Persoon’s grade 6/7 class visits CAG!

Last week the students from MaryAnn Persoon’s grade 6/7 class came to visit CAG. During the trip, CAG Curator Kimberly Phillips gave the class an insider’s tour of Brent Wadden’s exhibition, Two Scores.

Kim gives a tour of Two Scores

Asking questions around Score Two (16 Afghans)

Guiding the class through a conversation that included the history of weaving and authorship, the class asked questions around who weaves and why/how these questions factor in to how Brent and Kim worked together to create the exhibition.

We also talked about ‘following the rules’ in weaving. Weaving is an activity that requires the weaver to follow a certain set of rules: a weaver uses a loom, creates a warp (vertical strings that are the ‘skeleton’ of the weaving) and creating a weft (the yarn or thread that goes in and out horizontally between the warp). How did Brent ‘break’ the rules when he made these works?

In order to explore the ideas of rules within artistic practices, CAG Learning and Public Programs Curator Danielle Green organized two rule-based drawing activities that shared similarities with Brent Wadden’s work in the gallery. Here Danielle led the class through some instruction based artworks inspired by Sol Lewitt, an artist best known for his contributions to the Conceptual art movement in the 1960s.

Here we created a collaborative drawing based on our own set of instructions:

 

Collaborative instruction based drawing train!

Collaborative instruction based drawing train!