Days 6 and 7: Building a Movement Vocabulary in a Basement

By Sherry Teitelbaum

Days 6 and 7 consisted of two days of intense, creative devising as the young people experimented with the puppets they had constructed and painted in the first week. Kindergarten, first and second graders discovered all the movements they could make with their shrimp hand puppets, buck-toothed beavers, hot pink and orange fish, laughing gull rod puppets and a supple piece of striped blue cloth representing Newtown Creek. Third graders explored how to make their trees, houses and skyscrapers dance, transforming an open playing space into a crowded cityscape. Fourth and fifth graders continued to find movements and poses that expressed their four community interest groups: artists, teachers, business people and military. Then they explored how to build a giant human scale with their bodies that could weigh competing community needs. Normally we devise outside in the school’s playground, but rain drove us into a large basement cafeteria space for these sessions (the very space we will use for the public performance in case of rain on Thursday afternoon, August 15!). Creative cacophony reigned as small groups worked simultaneously with Kevin, Sherry and Heather in different parts of the room, then joined together to share what they had crafted. At one point in Day 7, the cafeteria reverberated with the voices of the three facilitators and the camp counselors coaching their groups, gleeful giggles, a chorus of “tick tocks” and “happy dance,” and circus music which Kevin played on his smart phone to inspire silly walks and an accelerated tempo. By the end of the two days we had established a movement vocabulary and tried out some preliminary sequencing. The challenge for tomorrow: how can we tell a strong, clear story in each of the three parts of Tides of Change?

What’s It All About?

Newtown Creek Celebration: Puppet Parade and Pageant
Newtown Creek Celebration Tides of Change Poster
is a free, ten-session theater and puppetry project for over 80 young people enrolled in North Brooklyn Development Corporation’s Summer Day Camp. Over the course of ten days, we work with youth to create an original puppet parade and pageant that explores issues relating to the pollution of Newtown Creek and the effect pollution has on the surrounding Greenpoint community. Each day, Heather, Sherry and I see four different groups of approximately 20 youth participants ranging in age from 5 to 11. During our session time, we work toward building puppets with the youth, then putting the puppets into the young peoples’ hands to devise an original show based on the theme: Tides of Change.

Come and see our show!

If you would like to attend our free performance. Visit our Facebook Event page by clicking here. Let us know you are coming or post an encouraging comment on our event page. We hope to see you there.

Make a Donation Today!

Our crowd funding campaign is off to a great start!
Thank you so much to everyone who has already contributed. We are offering lots of different perks to folks who support the project including our 2013 poster, photos of the culminating event, or a puppet from the show to take home! If you would like to make a donation, click on the widget to the right or click here. If you want to support the project but can’t make a financial contribution, there are other ways to help out!

This event is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, both administered in Kings County by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).
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