#8216;Math in Motion#039; brings high energy performance to GES

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Question: What do you get when you blend the world of numbers and shapes with movement and dance?

Answer: a unique, entertaining blend of the arts and academics known as &uot;Math in Motion.&uot;

&uot;Math in Motion,&uot; a performance funded by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, came to the Camellia City last Friday afternoon. The four-woman dance team from the Children’s Dance Foundation appeared on the stage of the old gym as a special treat for the students at Greenville Elementary.

The 30-minute performance invited audience participation as the dancers asked the students to consider such questions as &uot;How many is a few?&uot; &uot;How many are in a bunch?&uot; &uot;What would be a great name for a group of dragons?&uot;

The students also got to see the quartet of dancers tell a story while creating an amazing number of objects with over-sized tangram pieces (a geometric puzzle game from ancient China) – everything from clouds, a ship and a snake to a hive of bees and a bouquet of flowers.

Everyday objects such as pieces of PVC pipe and an old computer box were incorporated into the dance performances. The four women combined ballet and modern dance movements with touches of hip-hop the students easily related to.

&uot;This is just wonderful,&uot; GES Principal Claire Jones said as the dance team members queried the audience between performances.

&uot;It’s a real treat to have them here with us. We are one of only 45 schools in the state, I believe, where they are performing this year.&uot;

After the show, the four women sat on the apron of the stage and chatted with the students, answering the students’ questions this time around.

The dancers explained they had performed in lunchrooms and libraries as well as on stage in front of hundreds of school children across the state.

The students discovered one of the dancers, Sycamore, had been performing since she was five – some fifty years, a fact the youngsters found very impressive.

&uot;You don’t have to be a grownup to dance – people your age can enjoy dance, too,&uot; the students were told.

Parent Mary Ann Hamilton was impressed by the performers’ artful combination of the arts and academics. &uot;It’s so great when you can tie it all together for the students like that. I would just love it if we could get an artist-in-residence for our school.&uot;

One of the GES classes will also chosen to participate in a survey to give the dance team feedback on their program.

&uot;Math in Motion&uot; is part of the Rural School Touring Program, designed to provide music, dance and theatre performances by Alabama artists to Alabama children.

In the first eight years of the program, it’s estimated 50 percent of the 147,348 children participating were seeing a live performance for the first time.

&uot;We are delighted to have had this opportunity for our students. After being in testing this week, this was a great break and treat for them,&uot; Jones said.

For more information on the Rural School Touring Program, contact Diana Green, Arts in Education Manager, at Diana.green@arts.alabama.gov.