"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Kids' Cabaret

This past Thursday, we had our 8th annual Kids' Cabaret. It's the culminating event for several months of studying Swing music from the 1920s--1940s. We turn the gym into our own Savoy ballroom, complete with seating at tiny tables (aka cardboard boxes covered with tablecloths, dishes of mints and flowers), a dance floor, a free 'cafe'
for ginger ale and cookies, and a "house band" with local jazz musicians.

The 4th and 5th graders are part of the band--they sing standards, they scat sing, then they hit the dance floor and do the Lindy Hop. (The Lindy is one of the original dance forms for Swing music--some say, the original form.)

All of the kids dance. All of the kids sing. All of the kids light up with joy and laughter and excitement. All of the kids succeed.

Some of the kids are showing, for the first time, that they can be really good at something.

Some kids, who struggle with the written word or with math problems, shine like luminarias when singing their solo at the microphone.

Some kids, who find it difficult to sit still and fit within the behavioral expectations of a classroom, light up the dance floor like shooting stars.

Some kids, who rarely engage with anyone for any reason, were smiling and letting go, for just a little while, of the burdens they're carrying each day.

Music and dance---and art, and reading, and theater, and crafts, and sports--help to bring us into the center of life.

That's what I want, every day, in every class, for every one of us.

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