Teaching the Arts

As at least mentioned in passing earlier, I did a stint of teaching at a combined middle school/high school drama program about an hour’s drive West of here.

The aluminum swords held up well, and were definitely the right choice- some of these kids would never have lasted the 3 1/2 hour sessions (!) with a steel sword, and this way I could focus more on technique instead of endurance. I’m now scrambling to finish more of the curved blade versions for a larger high school class I’ll be teaching in a couple weeks through VCU. I’ll likely go with a pirate theme for that one, but as this school’s mascot was a medieval knight, and that was already the theme of a scene they had written, medieval was the way to go. While many of my friends and acquaintances could field much better, more complete, more historically accurate and prettier harnesses than I, I did bring in a little armour for show & tell, by request:

Little things like that make good breaks, and breaks are necessary with kids’ classes. The challenge is of course how to take breaks without losing focus, discipline, and momentum, so thematic breaks like show & tell have done well by me thus far.

There was a photographer there briefly that day as well, and there may be a writeup in their local paper at some point. Hoping to go back in the Fall- it’s a new drama program for that school, in a small community with no theatre and little theatre literacy- almost nobody has ever even seen a play, to hear the instructor tell of it, so the role of drama there is different than it is in Richmond, or Seattle. A good reminder of why people should care, sans establishment/institutions/pretentions of high culture. Something I think we all could use a dose of every now and again.

If there’s interest, I’ll probably do a post on the sword construction I’ve been doing. Construction is neither traditional nor like what I’ve done before, but is really designed around the features of the aluminum blanks I got a deal on, and the need for economy & simplicity of construction. Just not sure when, as there’s really no such thing as a “break” at this point in my life.

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