Dance revolution

Although distance learning has allowed students to get back some of their class time during the Covid-19 school suspension, most extracurricular activities, unfortunately, remain canceled.

The Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Literacy and Learning Project pioneered by the City Contemporary Dance Company is one of the affected programs, as their in-school performances have been canceled.

One of their three regular activities, the Dance Out of the Box contemporary dance school tours, is a combination of live demonstrations, lectures and interactive activities that receive an overwhelming response from teachers and students.

And the project — which offers students comprehensive learning experiences through dance performances to ignite their interest and lay a breeding ground for the appreciation of performing arts — is yet to suspend its engaging content.

In the face of the school closures and their suspended performance, the CCDC is launching a brand new Dance Out of the Box online resource to encourage students to overcome adversities during this difficult time.

“It’s very encouraging that 90 percent of the responses [to our school tours] are positive and the students are very engaged in the performance,” said Melissa Leung, assistant artistic director of CCDC. “This is one of the reasons we insist on continuing.”

Containing four 15-minute videos, the online resource can be accessed through the participating schools’ intranet without the need to download any additional software. A supplementary teachers’ pack, which includes PowerPoints for teachers and worksheets for students, is also provided for further education.

In the first two episodes, students will follow a dancer’s perspective and learn the origins and characteristics of contemporary dance in a light and humorous narrative.

The style aims to imitate the actual school tours, where students are invited on stage to learn some dance moves after the CCDC artists perform and explain their dances.

In the third and fourth episodes, artists will share the ups and downs of their performing arts journey and how their lives inspire them to choreograph new dances, allowing students to understand the spiritual power of performance art.

“Dancing is an art form and when I am experiencing a certain emotion like sadness or depression, I can express it through dancing,” said Leung. “I hope that students can face difficulties and challenges with the strength of dance in the future.”

Sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the three-year program was launched in September 2018 and was participated by more than 60 primary and secondary schools last school year.

Other than school tours, the project also conducts a guided appreciation three times each school year at local performing arts venues, including West Kowloon Cultural District. The tailor-made program introduces students to professional stage performances through lighting, music, stage effects and various multimedia elements.

In addition, six experimental workshops are available for talented students to further cultivate their artistry and composition, and one is offered to teachers so they can foster their concept and expertise for enhancing contemporary dance education on campus.

(This article was published at The Standard on March 24, 2020. Link not available.)

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