School Spotlight: James Russell Lowell School 51

Written by: Abida Muhammad, James Russell Lowell School 51 Arts Liaison, muhammab@myips.org

James Russell Lowell is currently in partnership with Kids Dance Outreach and Young Actors Theatre for in-school arts-as-curriculum. Students in grades 2-4 participate in theater and dance class twice a week, and they are thrilled to attend the classes! There will be a culminating performance for KDO in early May, and a culminating performance for YAT in early June.  

School 51 has also received a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission’s Partnering Arts, Communities, and Education (PACE) Program. The PACE grant has allowed the school to collaborate with Sapphire Theatre Company to create a year-long theatre integration program with third grade students and their English/Language Arts curriculum.  

Other highlights from the 2017-18 school year include a field trip to hear the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, as well as the following in-school performances:

October- Indiana Mime: Raiders of the Lost Art, REED STEELE

  • Students were introduced to the art of mime and the potential of expression and imagination. There was mime, sign language, and audience participation combined with humor.

November- Ongaku: Japanese Music, GARRET UYENO

  • Dressed in the traditional Japanese kimono, the performer played and explained the koto and sangen, two Japanese string instruments. He demonstrated both classical and contemporary music. The participatory performance also included information about Japanese customs and language.

December- Asante Tales, DEBORAH ASANTE

  • Beginning with original stories, and ending with improvised stories and games, students left this performance knowing the importance of telling their own stories.

 January- The Storyteller’s Drum, GRIOT DRUM ENSEMBLE

  • In this blend of African Diaspora music and storytelling, students became active participants. Students learned call and response, different ethnic musical styles and their origins, and enjoyed classic African folktales. Authentic African instruments were used. Students were allowed to participate in playing the instruments as well as learning African Dance.

February- Music and Dance Collage, SANCOCHO

  • This performance included lively percussion music, energetic songs, and exciting dances that showed students the unique mix of cultures that created the African Diaspora in Latin America. There were various stories told about the music and its African origin.

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