I have already written that all children should have the time to visit their own Neverland, but I have forgotten to mention that to take this trip, you need to (and according to Zakhoder, who translated Alice in Wonderland into Russian, “absolutely must”) know a bit about the world. That is why when new kids comes to our studio, I show them some things and ask them some questions in order to find out what they know and what they are interested in. It is not a test or exam but rather a ritual of getting acquainted (sometimes very pleasant for both parties). Why am I writing this? Because today we met a boy at our studio who recognized an astrolabe at first glance, and even explained how to use it. I am sure that this boy will find his way to Neverland.
Parents usually want to get some tangible outcome from their kids’ studies. So what advantages can get a child in a drama camp?
I have already said that what theater mostly needs is imagination, but alas, it is rarely tangible. Let us see what other traits of character will develop children in our theater summer camp. First of all, courage. Yes, real courage because to step on the stage can be scary. Young actors must learn how to overcome their fear and not to get lost in front of the public. And it doesn’t matter whether they play Hamlet or a fox – the Mise en scene does not change: The murmurs ebb; onto the stage I enter.
The eyes of all spectators and the spotlights are directed at them; the microphone catches the trembling of their voices — it’s scary, but they are strong, they can do it, they will overcome the trembling in the knees and stuttering and will play their parts.
Everybody knows that drama classes help enhance children’s artistic abilities. In a theater studio children learn to sing, dance and recite. It is also obvious that by rehearsing for their role children learn to better control their bodies, improve their diction and memory and broaden their vocabulary. But being on stage children also improve some not so obvious skills: the ability to react rapidly to changes in the situation, interact with their partners, understand and feel other people, and foresee the reaction of the public. It means that by studying drama children develop all the features that will make them self-confident. It will make it easier for them to make presentations and go for interviews.
That is why playing on stage, children not only have fun, but also acquire tangible advantages that will be useful to them in adult life.
Every summer camp tries to present its own special activities that make it unique, different from the competitors, in order to attract children and certainly their parents. The choice seems to be extremely wide, but if we omit sports, the camps can be divided mostly into two categories: education and entertainment. As for us, we decided to follow the third path and to combine education and entertainment. We think that the most adequate form for that kind of activity is a theater or drama camp (“drama” is used here in its broadest meaning).
Theater is the most synthetic artistic genre that unites an entire gamut of arts: painting (scenery, props), music, dance and of course acting. For a live stage performance we need one more special component: a little bit of imagination. In our theater summer camp we teach children that the theater begins not with actors or directors, and even not with a cloakroom, but with the clean sheet of paper. There we will write Cinderella (stage play in three acts) or Little Prince (based on the book by Antoine de Saint Exupery). Then we’ll have to make a list of all the characters and decide, which of them we can remove and which of them are indispensable for our play. And sometimes we’ll have to add some new characters that are missing in traditional story.
What We Do
Of course, we first need to reread and revisit the play we are going to put on the stage (perhaps for some children it will be the first acquaintance with Kipling, Milne, Andersen, Schwartz…). And then we enter upon the most difficult but also the most interesting part of the work: we figure out the characters of the roles that we are going to play. Why the characters behave the way they do and how they relate to each other? And so we step on stage, try on somebody else’s clothes (or hide, or fur) and somebody else’s fate, and eventually the show begins to take shape.
Sometimes people ask us whether it’s possible to create a show during two weeks. It is true that in our studio we usually work on a show during several months. But you shouldn’t forget that children in the studio rehearse only once a week while in the camp we can have a totally different rhythm of rehearsals.
I already said that we deal with drama in the widest meaning of this word. In my next blog I’ll try to explain what I mean.
Do you know that HOME in our name is an abbreviation of House of Multicultural Education? And now, besides our many Russian and English programs, we are opening a Spanish Department.
Its programs include children’s drama studio in Spanish and language classes for various ages and levels. So we admit students from 5 year-olds to middle and high school students to adults, and from beginners to heritage speakers to AP Spanish students.
To learn more and register for the classes please come to the Open House on Saturday, June 15 at 12 PM.
There are only three weeks left before the Eleventh Olympiada of Spoken Russian. We have extended the registration until March 31, at the request of our new media sponsors ETVNET and RTVi.
RTVi News will be covering the event and you will be able to see your children in the news on Monday, April 8.
Learning Center KidzHOME
invites you to celebrate on
March 10 at 2 PM
Puppet Show The Mitten
Puppet Workshop for kids
Poems and Songs for Moms and Grandmas
Making Postcards for Moms and Grandmas
Pot-luck party (each family brings food)
1633 Sheepshead Bay Rd. , Brooklyn, NY 11235, Second Floor (next to the B, Q trains; buses: B36, B4, B49)
We are starting new programs on Sunday.
Ya i Mama (Mommy and Me in Russian) at 10:30 for children from 2 to 3 with caregivers; at 11:15 children from 3 to 4 with caregivers.
A new section of the Russian Children’s Theater Studio Malenkaya Kompaniya at 10:30
Painting and Drawing with Marina Litvak for children from 5 to 8 at 12:00; for children from 9 to 12 at 1:00
Spanish language at 12:00
Our next Mini-Camp (February 18-22) will be dedicated to adventures.
We will visit the Insect Kingdom and help save Mukha Tsokotoukha from the Evil Spider
Take part in a Knights’ Tournament
Find hidden pirate treasure
Follow the footsteps of great explorers
For more information and to register, click here.