“Shukraan” Lebanon: Mrs. Hayek, one of our very enthusiastic parents, introduced us to some of the most popular musical instruments and dances of the Lebanon. We saw and heard a variety of string instruments such as the oud, the qanun and the bouzouk. We were mesmerized by performances on the wind instruments such as the nay and the mejwiz. It was even more fun exploring the percussion instruments as Mrs. Hayek accompanied by her son, Michel, treated us to a wonderful rendition on the daff (tambourine) and the darbouka (djembe). Listening to all these instruments already had our children swaying and moving rhythmically and soon it was time to usher in the dances of Lebanon. We watched a couple of videos of the enchanting belly dance and the energetic dabke, which is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. What followed was a whole lot of hip-swaying, pretend- ‘hoola-hooping’, belly-wriggling, knee-bending, toe-pointing and foot-stamping as the children of PYP1 wholeheartedly immersed themselves in the merriment of these spirited dances.
Marvellous Maypole Mayhem: What do you get when you throw in a pole with colourful ribbons and a bunch of excited children with bells on their wrists and flowers in their hair? You guessed it – The Maypole Dance ! As our school carpenter and gardener worked hard to put together our centrepiece, the almost seven feet pole, our industrious class mums, Mrs. Pattinson, Mrs. Loden and Mrs. Jamison, meticulously planned and organized the steps to this intricate European folk dance. The dance requires each dancer to move in a circle, holding a coloured ribbon attached to a pole. As they move around the pole, the dancers intertwine their ribbons either in a web around the pole or to plait it to the pole, itself. To unravel the ribbons, the dancers retrace their steps. The young risk-takers of PYP1, happily got themselves entangled in the swirling ribbons and amid peals of laughter and squeals of delight, they tried their very best to follow the steps of this lovely little dance.
5 Rhythms- Dancing to Our Own Tunes: It is true. Each one of us has a dance within us, our own dance, a personal dance. To draw out our inner dances, we invited Mrs. Busschaert to class for a session of 5 Rhythms. We learned about the 5 Rhythms; Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness and how each rhythm invites different interpretations by the participants. Each rhythm indeed, allowed us to dance our own unique dance and express our feelings through our movements. While the gentle Flowing encouraged fluid, circular and spiralling movements, Staccato caught the young dancers in whirlwind of energy and power. Then came Chaos and the children were allowed to just let go, let go of all their inhibitions and to dance with gay abandon. Chaos was followed by Lyrical, where our children engaged effortlessly in being playful, harnessing their innate creativity and the power of their imaginations. Awashed with emotion and albeit, even exhaustion, the students PYP 1 automatically lapsed into the final rhythm, Stillness, a quiet state of being.
At the end of this session, Mrs. Busschaert handed a marker and a piece of paper to each child, asking them to write down just a single word that best described what they were feeling. Here are their answers:
“Calm”: Andre, Michal
“Peaceful”: Tia, Jade, Eunchan, Emily
“Sleepy”: Maya, Oiva, Michel, Mrunmayee, Naisha
“Happy”: Mischa, Kaitlyn
And these words, all but summed up this profound, liberating and magical experience.
~ PYP1, Ms. Karishma, Ms. Sangtei