Flamenco and literacy for middle school and high s...
Ultramar is presented in two themes: one combines history and ELA and the other connects history and dance. Both filter flamenco arts through literacy activities to build skills in listening, reading, comprehension, and writing.
In an assembly program, flamenco dance and music tell the story of transatlantic crossings that changed the word during the Spanish Empire. Artists show how influences of Latin America, Spain, Africa, and China are present in flamenco dance, music, rhythm, and costuming, and reflect migration through world history. Students participate by clapping, singing, and dancing, on stage and in their seats, so that they embody first-hand the songs and movement to experience history and the arts, as well as create art. Students are able to relate the movement and song lyrics to the history of flamenco, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Assembly programs are 45-60 minutes long.
In an in-classroom workshop or residency (1 week or 2 weeks), students learn basic dance, rhythm, and singing and create new work based on the system of improvisation and non-verbal communication that is intrinsic to flamenco. Students focus on leadership skills, as well as support skills – to be leaders and followers; they communicate clearly with body movements and rhythm; they react when called to do so by a peer; they solve problems individually and as a team. They look each other in the eye while dancing; they cheer for one another; the art form demands that students “be present” when in the spotlight and when on the sideline, as these roles all contribute to the transmission and reception of emotional expression that is at the core of the art of flamenco. Flamenco videos and song samples provide an example of virtuosity in the art form. Workshop/residency sessions are 45-60 minutes each.
In a 1-week residency (separate from the workshop/residency above), students analyze song verses, which are usually three-line poems, translated to English when requested by teachers, identifying figurative language, perspective, and theme. Working as a group or in small groups, students identify characters, setting, and perspective of the song lyric. Working in small groups, students create new, original short stories to explain what happened before or after the scene in the poem, based on their knowledge of Spain or using a brief period of time to research elements discovered in the analysis. In a two-week residency, students also learn basic flamenco dance movement and rhythm, understanding how movement expresses emotion, based on the elements of dance (time, energy, space, relationship). They create a new dance based on the rules of flamenco choreography and the elements of dance, to express the emotional aspect of their short story. Study guide details assist in the creation of writing pieces and dances, and they include a list of song and video samples that demonstrate virtuosity in the art form. Workshop/residency sessions are 45-60 minutes each.
All programming can be presented by a live flamenco cuadro. Assembly programs for grades 6-12 should only be presented by a live flamenco cuadro. In-class workshops are most efficient with a single artist.