Youth in Arts kicked off an exciting semester of school-wide events at Olive Elementary School with two amazing days of dance and culture through our assembly and workshop program. Capoeira Mentor Artist Daniel Mattar and his International Capoeira Angola Foundation (ICAF) troupe spent a day with Olive Elementary School’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students in early March, and Shahrzad Khorsandi and the Shahrzad Dance Ensemble led a fun and informative day of programming in April. In sharing the art of Capoeira with the students at Olive, Daniel and two additional Capoeira artists began by playing music on their hand-made Berimbaus made of gourds and one string, and a Pandeiros (tambourine) while engaging students in call and response songs in Portuguese. After their demonstration, they brought several kids up on stage to practice Capoeira while practicing their call and response songs.
Following the performance and demonstration, each 3rd-5th grade class participated in an interactive workshop led by Daniel and ICAF. We began with mastering the key movements and control necessary to take part in capoeira safely. Some of the movements that we learned were: Ginga, Aú, Balança, Macaco, and Negativa. We then put our new knowledge to use with team exercises and some games of capoeira with a partner!
During the second assembly with the Shahrzad Dance Ensemble, director Shahrzad Khorsandi and three members of the ensemble performed a special series of dances for the Persian New Year that had been choreographed and designed by Shahrzad over the last several years. Norouz (“New Day”), the Persian New Year, represents new beginnings, rebirth, and renewal. Shahrzad Dance Company’s Norouz program for 2019, Symbols of Love, brought into focus the true meaning behind this celebrated event and gave students the opportunity to learn about the music, traditions, and cultural relevance of the Iranian holiday today. Throughout the performance, dancers portrayed dynamic characteristics associated with the symbols of: Sabzeh (“Sprout”) which is symbolic for rebirth, Seeb (“Apple”) which is a symbol of health, Samanu (“Wheat Pudding”) which is a symbol of sweetness, Sekkeh (“Coins”) which is a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and Norouz (“New Day”).
Following the performance, participating classrooms returned for a hands-on workshop with Shahrzad. During the workshop, Sharhzad began by showing a map of the middle east in order to find Iran and talk about the geography of Iran/Persia and how this geography has affected the music and dances of each region. We then started with movements from Luristan in West Iran, followed by movements from Azerbaijan in Northwest Iran. During a brief break we learned the Beshkan, a one-handed Persian snap that creates a sound similar to snappiing your fingers but much louder! After the break, we engaged in dance from the Bandar region near the Persian Gulf in Southern Iran and a Persian urban/social dance from Tehran, the capital, using contemporary Persian pop music. The students took turns coming out in the middle of the circle, 2 or 3 at a time, and practiced what they had learned throughout the day.
Youth in Arts is grateful for the collaboration of Principal Olynik, Olive Elementary’s exemplary 3rd-5th grade teachers, and the PTA for making these programs possible!
Kumu Hula Shawna Alapa’i and Halau Hula Na Pua O Ka La’akea performed for students from the Bolinas-Stinson Union School District at the Dance Palace Community & Cultural Center in Point Reyes. Spanning traditional Kahiko (ancient) hula to modern (‘auana) hula, students experienced Hawai’ian story-telling through melody, hand-crafted instruments, dress, and dance traditions.
The assembly concluded with a fun hands-on workshop where students learned parts of a Haka, a traditional warrior’s dance originating with the Maori people and adopted into Hawai’ian culture. Kumu Hula Shawna incorporated aspects of the Haka into a hula danced to the music from Moana as a way to engage students and connect culturally based on common knowledges.
A special thank you to the Dance Palace Community & Cultural Center and the California Arts Council for their support of this program!
Master Dancer Shahrzad Khorsandi brought company members with her to perform for Hamilton and Venetia Valley Middle Schools. She also provided in-depth classroom workshops for students to share about traditional and modern Persian dance, and the strong connection to the history, language, and geography of Iran.
Thank you to the California Arts Council for making this program possible.
Master Performer Eddie Madril wowed the students at Davidson Middle School as he performed sacred dances and spoke about the importance of understanding Native American history. Eddie, also a professor at San Francisco State University, talked about the Iroquois Confederacy which had operated since the 16th century and was the basis of the American constitution. He invited students up to the stage to learn some of the dances, and Principal Bob Marcucci was even game to join in learning some of the challenging, Hoop Dance.
In addition, Youth in Arts honored students in the Media and Theatre arts classes taught by Mentor Artists, Sophie Cooper and Margaret Hee, with a series of awards. The following were recognized:
Youth in Arts Awards
Cody Lucich Award for Confidence is given to students who exhibit a willingness to take risks and show confidence in their approach to making art. It is given to students who are undaunted in their approach to art-making and utilize innovative ideas to express themselves. Cody Lucich is a filmmaker who works extensively in community-based ‘Native media.’
Carrie Mae Weems Award for Compassion is given to students who are good listeners, who care about other people’s perspectives, and who demonstrate the potential to be a positive community-builder. Carrie Mae Weems is a photographer who also works with text, fabric, audio, digital images, and installation video.
Juana Alicia Award for Creativity is given to students who utilize their imagination to create exciting new ways to showcase their artistic voice. Juana Alicia, is a Bay Area muralist, printmaker, educator, activist and, painter.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Award for Determination is given to students who are hard workers, determined and diligent about learning and making art. Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American composer, lyricist, playwright, and actor best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton.
Thank you the California Arts Council for supporting this program.
Every day at the Marin County Fair this year, Youth in Arts Global Stage featured our mentor artists in interactive performances from around the world. We celebrated the theme of the Marin County Fair “All for One and Fun for All” in our own artistic style with our amazing artists.
Audience members learned how to balance a bowl on their head in a dance from the Uyghur peoples of Central Asia, check out master artist Tara Pandeya demonstrating to the left with multiple bowls, including the top one full of water. We had audience up dancing a Peruvian samba around the Exhibit Hall. There was Indian Bollywood dancing, Brazillian capoeria, Japanese folk dance and so many others. Check out our gallery below.
To find out about bringing these artists to a school site near you. Click here.
Read Executive Director Miko Lee’s Op Ed in the IJ here.
April is Autism Awareness Month. Youth in Arts is the only arts education provider to special day and severely handicapped classrooms in Marin. We also provide arts programming at Oak Hill School which is focused on students with autism from 5-22 years old.
Check out this CD C’mon Everybody! which was produced with support from FirstFive Marin as part of a special workshop for families with children on the autistic spectrum.
C’mon Everybody! features original music composed by Youth in Arts Mentor Artist Miguel Martinez and featuring performances by additional YIA Mentor Artists Nydia Gonzalez and Hannah Dworkin. Songs encouraging response to direction, social behavior and language acquisition. It is fun and accessible for developmentally typical PreK children, as well as children with cognitive or developmental delays.
Thank you to the Buck Family Fund of the MCF for supporting our programs reaching children of all abilities.
The Sewam Dance of the Plains Indians assemblies at Edna Maguire Elementary School were a great success. Eddie Madril performed several different Plains Indians dances for the preK through 5th grade student audiences. His incredibly engaging dances culled with chanting and singing, had students, teachers and parents enraptured.
In addition to his solo performances, he also invited students to perform two different dances with him. For the first group dance, each teacher chose one student to participate onstage with Eddie. The big surprise came when those teachers were asked to join in as well. All fifteen got up, linked hands, and enthusiastically danced with Eddie and their students. The long line of participants weaved in and out of the crowd, much to audience’s delight.
The hoop dance was a particular highlight. Students experienced firsthand how challenging it is to work with the hoops when Eddie asked them to pick the hoops up with their feet. After they sat down, Eddie put on a breathtaking performance of the very complicated dance. Using eight hoops, Eddie transformed himself into a bird. The audible audience reactions clearly showed how awestruck the students were.
Eddie’s handmade regalia is artwork unto itself. The colorful feathers, embroidery and beadwork bring even more life to his dances. During the assemblies, Eddie explained the significance of what he wore in relation to the cultural history and traditions of various Native American tribes. He taught the students the meaning behind each dance and song performed as well.
Cara Guyot, the PTA volunteer who organized the assembly for Edna Maguire’s students praised, “We loved the assembly! In my three years of doing assemblies, this is the first time that I have received thank you emails from parents who heard such rave reviews from their children. Eddie really connected with the kids!”
Capoeira Mentor Artist Daniel Mattar and his International Capoeira Angola Foundation (ICAF) troupe have been very busy putting on assemblies for us!
Their first back-to-back performances were last week at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera. Daniel brought five Capoeira artists to perform with him. They played music on their Berimbaus (similar to guitars, made of a gourd and one string) and Pandeiros (tambourines) while demonstrating the beautiful art of Capoeira Angola for two large groups of K-4th grade students. After their demonstration, they brought several kids up on stage to practice Capoeira while doing call and response songs with the audience in Portuguese. They were lively and fun performances.
Educator Alina said, “The performers were wonderful! I loved how they went into the audience as kids were coming in to show them the instruments etc. – nice touch. I received positive feedback from teachers too!”
Yesterday, they put on two more assemblies at Dance Palace in Point Reyes for a huge group of students from several elementary schools in West Marin. Daniel brought six Capoeira artists from ICAF and the reviews were outstanding!
Dance Palace Executive Director Margarita raved, “Daniel and his ICAF troupe were absolutely wonderful! The music was great and the kids just LOVED them! Everyone was singing and dancing. They even got a reluctant teacher up and dancing. What a great recommendation from Youth in Arts!”
Book your assembly today! Visit our website at youthinarts.org to see all the available options, or call Morgan Schauffler to book (415) 457-4878 x160
Welcome back to school one and all, and happy National Arts in Education Week!
As we look forward to another successful academic year, we are reminded of all the wonderful, multicultural artists Youth in Arts celebrates. September 15 through October 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage month, and we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the incredible Latin American performance artists on our assembly roster.
Pedro Rosales’ Proyecto Lando assembly is an interactive performance that presents the traditional dance and instrumentation of the Afro-Peruvian culture of the Peruvian coastal region. They teach the basic rhythms so that students can join in dancing and playing. The performers combine Afro-Peruvian music with elements classical, folkloric, salsa and jazz to create a vibrant sound that encourages students to get up and DANCE!
Miguel Martinez’s Corazón Sur ensemble plays classic Latin Jazz songs as well as traditional genres of Mexican and Latin American music. The flute and percussions of Corazón Sur create a colorful ambiance, evoking scents and breezes of the Caribbean, the melodies of the indigenous tribes and the heartbeat of the African drums. Students have the opportunity to travel through Latin America, exploring rhythms ranging from Son Jarocho of Veracruz to the traditional Vallenato of Columbia, learning about the geography, language and instrumentation of various regional genres.
There are a multitude of companies that perform the traditional Afro-Brazilian art form of Capoeira. Youth in Arts is lucky enough to work with two such talented performance artists. Both Daniel Mattar and Sabiá Pinheiro’s Capoeira Angola assemblies appeal to many senses with the beautiful and acrobatic movements, singing, and music, using traditional Brazilian instruments such as the Berimbau (made of a gourd and one string) and Pandeiros (tambourines). Performers demonstrate a traditional Capoeira circle called a roda and dance and sing along to the beats of the Berimbau. Students will learn about the Afro-Brazilian culture and the history of how Afro-Brazilian slaves achieved freedom through the art of Capoeira, as well as basic Capoeira rhythms and steps. The songs are call and response and students are encouraged to sing along.
Book your assembly today! You can fill out our online form here or contact our Programs Manager directly at email@example.com / (415) 457-4878 ext. 160. We look forward to bringing our fantastic performers to your school this year!
Rising Stars the 25th Annual Marin County High School Art Show has traveled to the Marin Center Exhibition Hall!
Thanks to Charlie Barboni, Libby Garrison and all the Marin Center staff for re-installing the show so beautifully. Artists and families can visit during 9-to-5 weekday hours or come to one of Marin Center’s Showcase Theater events to see the exhibit in the lobby space of the theater.
You might especially want to catch the “Best of the IJ Lobby Lounge” performance on Friday, April 22, featuring teens from around Marin, including Youth in Arts own `Til Dawn A Cappella. Great teen visual art and performing art in one night–what could be better?!
Rising Stars will continue at the Marin Center through the end of May. Students should pick up art June 2-3 OR if you want to enter your piece in the Marin County Fair, you can do that in the same space where the exhibit is located during open hours.
Here are a few photos, but we really hope you’ll go see the show in person! Congratulations to all the exhibiting students!
Check out this featured article on this exhibit in the Marin IJ.