Bridgeport’s Cesar Batalla Students Visit the Quick Center for a Day of Dance
As part of the Quick Center’s arts education and outreach, the Quick Center celebrated dance through two workshops with Bridgeport Cesar Batalla students. Working in both the Quick Center and the Walsh Art Gallery, the students learned dance techniques, sketched dancers, and wrote and shared their impressions about the day.
Choreographer Ronald K. Brown, who is known for fusing the form and rhythm of African dance with contemporary choreography, spent the day working closely with students and returned later that week to perform on stage at the Quick Center.
“When I teach dance to students I try and find the access point for young people. For example, when I teach traditional West African dance I use hip-hop because the students are already familiar with the music and more willing to participate. I bring company members with me when I do this type of teaching so the students have more people to follow. We choose dance moves that the youth are used to seeing so they won’t feel alienated from the movement,” explained Brown.
While some students learned dance, others spent time in the Walsh Art Gallery at the Quick Center engaging in a series of journaling sessions with their teachers as they observed Jane Sutherland’s intriguing Little Dancer paintings, a series directly inspired by Edgar Degas’ great work.
Elizabeth Williams, a Cesar Batalla School language arts and social studies teacher, shared: “Today the students took turns posing like the dancers in the paintings while other students sketched them. They used verbs and adjectives to talk about the ballerinas in the paintings and write about their thoughts in their journals. These kinds of exercises are an excellent way to get students on grade level reading because it gets them to really think about what they are reading and writing.
Learn more about arts education and outreach at the Quick Center.