- United States
- Deborah S. Greenhut, PhD, is a playwright, arts documentarian, and educator who began teaching in a one-room school house in rural New England during 1970. These days you can find me collaborating with urban educators and students, seeking new ways to make education artful. I have consulted on management skills and communication arts in 44 of the United States and 5 provinces in Canada. I believe that people learn more effectively through drama-assisted instruction, and I exploit the Internet to deliver it. The views expressed here are entirely mine and not those of any other institution or organization.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Next spring, Kelley will return to Boston to work on performing with Across the Ages Dance.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
It's taken a Swedish Arab to make the world look in the mirror. Like a good teacher, Jonas Hassen Khemeri offers us humorous examples, and then he yanks out the rug. Every word contains a meta message, and this bounding word-loving dark comedy is full of them.
The play won an Obie in February, and The Play Company has brought it back with a director Erica Schmidt, and the deeply affecting performances of Francis Benhamou, Nick Choski, Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte, and Bobby Moreno.
Go see Invasion! before the job creators move it to a higher-priced theater.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Excellent acting by Kevin "Dot Com" Brown of 30 Rock, Lawrence Saint-Victor, Remy on Guiding Light, Brandon Alexander as Box, Ayinde Howell, of the web series, "Status Kill," and Rashad Sensai Edwards, who just wrapped three films and makes his Off-Broadway debut in Box. Produced by Stuart Films, LLC, and Browntown Entertainment Inc., this play is an excellent, filling evening. An excellent reflection on the meaning of freedom.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Give Gretchen her due this morning. She didn't let the malignant remark slide, but it still might be a good idea to check in with a person who does the job.
Even Thomas Jefferson thought an educated citizenry was important.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
For those of you who think it's too supid to focus on these incidents, please do your homework. The long-term consequences of ignoring the women's movement for equity have cost us a presidential candidate and equal pay. Women need to collaborate more and keep doing their homework--Intergenerate!--We need to watch what's happening to the generations that follow and do something about it.
Don't be part of the backlash that discourages women from going to school. Did you miss the Gloria Steinem bio, In Her Own Words, on HBO? Do we all need to become bunnies again to get the point?
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
|DeSiCiTi's Leading Ladies|
Friday, August 26, 2011
No wonder boys are busy smashing up the houses in Lego world. Somebody send them a copy of Gloria: In Her Own Words, please! Where did all the equal opportunities go?
Friday, August 12, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
The High Line is educational and a valuable life lesson about community
management of natural settings. Here are some ideas about how to spend
your day: High Line Article.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
|Dancers Gather to Rehearse for ATAD in May|
cc by Deborah S. Greenhut 2011
Scenes from Daniel McCusker's rehearsal process last month are available at: Defining The Capture.
The technical rehearsal was completed yesterday, and the production week is generating tremendous excitement. Scenes from the development process will be available this week at the DTC blog, in and around our filming of the final week.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
|"Africa," by Aelita Andre|
30" x 20" x 5"
Photo by Deborah S. Greenhut cc some rights reserved
Yesterday I paid a visit to Agora Gallery to see the Exhibit, "The Prodigy of Color: Aelita Andre/ a Solo Exhibition," which runs through June 25. I went out of curiosity after noticing a hefty number of comments doubting that the 4-year-old had created the paintings. Despite some people's disbelief, Ms. Andre has captured five-figure fees for some of her works, and in shows from Hong Kong to Italy and now New York, art buyers have snapped them up. Agora has supplied a video that shows Aelita painting. Here's a link to a more extended review with more illustrations that I posted today.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Meet Audra Carabetta, who works with students from 3 to 70. Her own choreography will be featured in Across the Ages Dance in Cambridge later this month. Intergenerational Dance is cool this summer.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Mexican Teacher of a kindergarten calms her young students in the middle of a shootout.
When interviewed, the teacher explained that all teachers receive training in how to handle these incidents. So, it's just part of the day, right?
We can soothe ourselves by saying it's not in our country, but our schools offer similar training and there are requirements or wishes for school safety, as reported, for example, in New York...New Jersey...California...Arizona, too. Managing weapons is very much a part of the school day. But that doesn't mean that it's all good. According to School Safety News, "Most schools have a lockdown plan. However not many schools have a good lockdown plan."
This is just one issue in a teacher's day. Try singing these lyrics the next time you're in lockdown, and do the math for school and teacher budgets while you go through the motions.
Everyone wants to feel safe. It's interesting that we put this burden on teachers and students with so few resources to support them. She was just doing her job, she said. "War, children, it's just a shot away" ...What is our job?
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
After a good night's sleep, it gets better and better. Robin Williams must be seen!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Evil, it seems, is omnipotent. Luckily for us, actor Robin Williams is, too. Understated, lonely as a dead tiger talking trash, the fantastic conceit of man as beast works in his interpretation, and poignantly well, with a full spectrum of humor to accompany the animal's acquisition of knowledge after he falls into the afterlife. The audience may egg him on, but Williams will not mug. In this production, Kaufman allows the two American marines and Uday Hussein to overact a bit, and that is too bad. Joseph's scripting of the character of Uday, in particular, is so painstakingly cruel that it isn't necessary. The torment by Uday of the well-acted character Musa and his innocent sister, Hadia, is unspeakable, and we cannot stop watching it.
This is a play about the utter demeaning of words and The Word. Hats off to the writer who can compel us to listen to animals speaking as men and deliver a significant portion of the plot in Arabic, often the language of women, with very little need of translation, which often fails anyway. We cannot mistake what is going on here. The knowledge this play brings to a ruined topiary garden in the afterlife on this extraordinary set is not what we want to know. But we have to do something about it. Fast.
Friday, May 27, 2011
If you haven't been to this Museum for a long time, you might be surprised by the changes in the visitor-exhibit dynamic. When I recall my earliest visits there, I'm thinking of dimly lit glass cases that kept everyone at a respectful distance while sending back your awed reflection to your ever-widening eyes. Now, thanks to the short-attention span that rules everything, exhibits are made to be run through, and there's a lot of touching going on. The latter is a good thing, so please don't misunderstand. However...
It's the sidebar-style chunking of information in disconnected ways that worries me. While the designers do a lovely presentation of sizes of various creatures, the context for each succeeding example shifts so rapidly (for me, anyway), that it's difficult to adjust your train of thought as the frame of reference for scale keeps shifting. This same behavior is noted in contemporary textbooks where narrative has all but disappeared. This Museum used to be a very grown-up place to go, The animated features in the Dinosaur exhibit, such as the cartoon of the sauropod's likely digestive system, below--Gingko leaves and all--
In the aftermath, I'm feeling nostalgic for the older parts of the museum. There's a beautiful tribute to Teddy Roosevelt, to whom we owe our natural park system, and the elegantly informative, purposefully quiet, Audubon Gallery. But the old Hayden Planetarium, now new--where Tom Hanks' narrative has succeeded to Whoopi Goldberg's amid the loud soundtrack of the universe evolvin-- that is where I feel most bereft. My favorite part of those long-ago visits was the live show by the planetarium operator. He was strict with us. No talking. The reward was losing yourself in the dark only to find yourself floating in the Milky Way. It was Paradise, slow-moving, and enchanting. If you download the Museum's video The Known Universe, but mute the sound, you might recall some of that feeling. So this next moment of quiet is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Fred C. Hess, planetarium lecturer extraordinaire, and Helmut K. Wimmer, astronomical art wizard. These are the people who helped us believe we could reach the moon one day. Tonight, I'm wishing for a dark sky so we can hush and find ourselves again in the stars.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Two works by Koryn Wicks stood out as the most fully formed in this evening of dances in various stages of progress. Op.117, danced by Wicks and Yue Tong Kwan exhibited the polish of a careful study that transcended the poignent Brahms score. They were graceful and technical proficient, and the dance is beautiful and full. A standout performance was offered in a second electrically theatrical piece about heading home intoxicated, It's a Long Walk Home, performed by Kudzaishe Geti, Malik Kitchen (both trained byAiley) and Jessie Niemiec (former Muller apprentice). Wicks' company included Sarah Molczan, Hildur Olafsdottir, Tommy Sutter, Lindsay Hall, Matthew Manix, Natalia Messa, Kassi Narcisse-Cousar, Tatiana Sanchez, and Jane Sawyer. There's an epic effort going on here, and they will be seen!
Kensaku Shinohara's Third Supper, a spirited and fun take on urban experience, incorporating spoken word and a range of sounds, opening with barking dogs. Kuan Yu Chen, Mei Yamanaka, and Shinohara collaborate well together. The dance is more than its sound track, and it will be interesting to see how the work progresses.
Clowns Full-Tilt is an ambitious workby Kendall Cornell and the Ensemble exploring the female universe through the eyes of woman clowns: Carla, Bosnjak, Julie Kinkle, Michaela Lind, Diana Lovrin, Clare O'Sheeran, Aly Perry, and Lucia Rich. There are witty moments and good questions posed in this fusion of spoken voice and clown movements. The amusing appearance allows them to tackle otherwise tabu, intimate topics under the cover of a lot of laughter. Cornell opened with a wry sketch on de-whitening the walls of the Muller Studio, and the piece proceded sometimes with the hilarity of an imaginary overstuffed car, and other times looking at subjects like depression with all the sadness a clown can bring. Heading to LaMaMa where a number of Cornell's pieces have appeared, this effort, as they say, has legs!
Side note: Jennifer Muller's newest work, a full-length dance The White Room opens on June 22 at Cedar Lake. It takes a village to nurture the next generation of artists, and Jennifer has been supporting this effort since 1974. Tickets.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Middle School is often a challenging age group, with its mix of growth spurts and interests. I say this because it’s sometimes a rough room even for the best performers. So the fact that Cecilia Rubino’s
Poetry Slam 102: Verbal Velocity players could generate enough excitement to get the whole room of students to raise their pencils in the air and write, and then, on the big stage of The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, compete to volunteer to read aloud…Well! What teacher doesn’t dream of that kind of class participation? This program in the Meet the Artists Series delivers.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Company members in 2011 include Susanna Bozzetti, Mariana Cardenas, Elizabeth Disharoon, Rosie Lani Fiedelman, Seiko Fujita, Duane Gosa, Gen Hashimoto, Abdul Latif, Jen Peters, Pascal Roeckert, and Apprentices, Mario Bermudez Gil, Katherine Hozier, and Husing-Hua Wang, collaborating to deliver The White Room.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
|Gala Pre Launch May 23|
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Spring arrives, and long after lunch has been multiply videotaped by security cameras and food police cams in the lunch room, students stay after school and come in on the weekends to create the annual high school musical. Yesterday, it was my honor to attend the closing performance of Tim Rice and Elton John's Aida, a story of love and war, directed by Ms. Erin Woodward, produced with the combined efforts of principals, teachers, and students at two New York City High Schools: Washington Irving and Chelsea Technical Education. More than 40 students developed 80 roles and participated in the development this exciting and crowd-pleasing play, including live music, a beautiful modern set, designed in the style of periaktoi and built by Seung Lee's art club, all compelemented by the inspiring classic setting of the Washington Irving Theater. Taking excellent advantage of the talent pool, Woodward cast two students each as Amneris (Amanda Castro, Samantha Lee Rivera), two as Ramades (Jonathan Catala, Victor Ramirez), and two Aidas (Johaira Nieves, Justine Bishop), and delivered a witty switchover two the second cast during the musical number, "Not Me," at approximately the halfway point in the show.
The production was sophisticated, requiring the services of a fight choreographer (Christian Kelly-Sordelet), vocal coach (Rosemarie Bray), lighting design (Jonathan Deutsch), scenic design (Seung Lee), and costume design (Emily Snyder). Rosemarie Bray was the Producer, and Stephen Rodriguez provided Musical Direction. The set was particularly ingenious, three flats, which were actually painted cubes, allowed for the visual depiction of multiple identities and secrets so crucial to the story. Choreography was developed by Suzanne Lamberg, with additional work by Alejandro Garcia, who also photographed the performance. Principals Bernardo Ascona (WIHS) and Brian Rosenbloom (Chelsea CTE HS) have lent their generous support to the second year of this collaboration. (Last year: "Grease.")
From the "Director's Note," we learn that "This production was created during 40 days, with students...traveling to an unfamiliar school to work with unfamiliar students and teacher...juggling SAT, AP, and placement tests...coming in during Saturday and Spring Break...battling cast and family illness...singing for the first time and/or...dancing for the first time and/or...acting for the first time and/or...working backstage for the first time. This is an ensemble of funny, frank, and fierce warriors, and I am honored to work with them."
As an interesting sidelight, school ties are strong among this group of collaborators: Sarah Ickan (Guest Drummer) Christian (fight choreographer), and Jackie Deniz Young (technical and lighting assistance) attended the same high school as Woodward, and all carried their Arts Program affiliations forward. Alejandro (additional choreography) is an alum of the Washington Irving Arts Program.
The cast and crew honored Woodward with rousing cheers and applause at the conclusion of the production. This is the teacher you remember. This is the part of school that teaches you what to value. Spend the money better, America. Tear yourself away from TV news depictions of attacks on teachers and students. Be a community again. Go to a high school play and remember what was fine about school.
|Curtain Call, AIDA|
|Director Woodward distributes flowers to the Cast & Musicians|
Final touches to the set before the Show Opens
Friday, May 13, 2011
Astounding, given the disrepair of much of our educational system, that the government can rub more than two nickles together to make this happen. Who will be minding these films? What will happen to everyone's privacy after they are all posted on the Internet? You have to wonder what human subjects research board dreamed it up. Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy landing. Imagine what else $2M might pay for! Iceberg, anyone?
How would it be if they used those same cameras to tape students performing a play or playing soccer. A little self-esteem goes a lot further than constant nagging or criticism. It's odd that no one seems to know that a simple request to a cafeteria worker could summarize what students leave behind on their trays. Health benefits, anyone?
Monday, May 9, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
The Estate Project documents the careers of artists with AIDS. Uniquely, the choreographers' listings integrate dancers who support HIV-positive colleagues as well. The section of the site concerning dancers contains the most extensive information. It is a sad lineage from Rudolf Nureyev to (mostly) men in their 30s, many of whom died in the waning days of the twentieth century. There, too, you can find the works of several women choreographers who concerned themselves with making art about the victims of the epidemic, Heidi Latsky, Marguerite Pomerhn Derricks, and Ellen Webb among them.
|Cambridge May 1, 2011 - Android Camera|
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
term than “hypothesis,” so in the game of optimized key words, “theory” wins, even when it’s not an accurate description. Today, I googled “theory,” and, apart from links to definitions, what I found was that Donald Trump is said to have a “theory” about President Obama’s birth certificate. According to the Daily Beast, yesterday, however, perhaps upon learning that the White House was going to publish a copy of the real birth certificate after all, Mr. Trump appears to have moved on to a “theory” about the President’s college transcript.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Here's a link to an unusual fusion that takes collaboration to a new level--the 2010 Dance Your Ph.D. Contest.
NPR and The New York Times have profiled the competition, and it looks like a winner for trickle down interdisciplinary possibilities. So, find your favorite scientist and start choreographing for next year.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Here is a link to William Carlos Williams' poem, The Dance, plus a photo of the Brueghel painting, The Kermess, that inspired the writing. Use this link to hear Williams' reading the poem, courtesy of the wonderful Harper's Magazine archive, November 2008.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
In celebration of the woman athlete, here is a link to Nellie Wong's poem, Resolution.
Another, to Leslie Heywood's poem, For the Women's Cross Country Team, 1983 (Note:scroll down the article when you get to the page; the poem is indented.)
Here's to Grete who ran for the love of it.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Still skeptical about the value of arts education for children? Here is a link to studies that show connections between academic performance, appropriate behavior, and attendance--the areas that address student success in school and in life from Americans for the Arts. Scroll down that page to find research connections for different genres.
Check out the website River of Words, which teaches ecoliteracy through poetry and art. They put their money where their mouths are and sponsor a yearly competition for kids so we can all see the results. I especially enjoyed the 2010 Grand Prize winner Carolyn Dean's exquisite poem about saying good-bye to a friend, "Snapping Turtles." Tell me it does not give you the chills.
It takes a long time to grow a poetry habit. Honoring nature is a lifetime responsibility. In my opinion, art is never a waste of children's time, and the adults could derive a value or two from considering their work.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
What you really want to do, though, is to go see and hear them live. Shirley Saxton, the founder of Children of Deaf Adults (CODA), who was seen first onstage while the other singers were only heard, makes a beautiful visual pun. She is the loveliest Sign Language interpreter, communicating equally with everyone. Her message is clear, her hands are graceful and brilliant, and her motion adds a layer of dance to the extraordinary singing voices of current members, Aisha Kahlil, Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Casel, and Ysaye Barnwell. For this concert, to augment the jazz message of the event, Sweet Honey in the Rock was accompanied by Stacy Wade (musical director who also works with Al Green); Parker McCallister, a young and outrageously talented bassist; Jovol Bell, the versatile percussionist. This engagement comprised their tribute concert to the women's voices we have lost: Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba, and Odetta, with an additional tribute to Abby Lincoln. The concert concluded with a richly deserved standing O.
I haven't heard Sweet Honey sing live since the 1970s. I missed an evolution. Before singing Odetta's medley of freedom songs, which is a historical encyclopedia written in song, Barnwell told the audience that it would be a good idea for us to learn them: "You're going to need them," she said. Alas for us. For relief from the fears of the present moment, listen to "Breaths," especially. It will keep you warm on a cold night.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The graphics and factual content are a wonderful teaching tool and easy to navigate.
True to its name, the Newseum holds archives of news photographs and a daily updated link to front pages from 869 newspapers from 89 nations.
This website illustrates the extraordinary potential of the Internet for learning. If you are headed to Washington for your spring break, see it live!
Link to a poem about The News here.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
On another note, if you are tempted to blame teachers for the pickle we are in, ask yourself this: "Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither." Check out zeitgeistmovement, among others.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
|Program "Live Your Dream!"--Photo by D. S. Greenhut|
How do you get to the Radio City Music Hall? Practice, of course. And it doesn't hurt to get a little help from The Garden of Dreams Foundation, Chelsea-born Whoopi Goldberg, and Phoenix Partners Group, in partnership with MSG Entertainment, numerous children's foundations in New York and New Jersey, and their friends. Last night, courtesy of Phoenix partners, I had the privilege of attending the annual "Live Your Dream Talent Show" at Radio City Music Hall. Never mind the free popcorn and soda (the food police were conspicuously absent) for everyone in the hall, let us turn to the hard work of making dreams come true for children who are working against some major personal obstacles.
Each child had a story to tell, yet the focus was on their dreams and their performing arts talents. Moves were busted. Rhymes were worded. That Michael Jackson remains an inspirational force was hailed in the many spangled glove tributes. Singer Miguel lent a hand to a beautiful rendition of "Pure Imagination" with the Garden of Dreams Choir. The Beastie Boys introduced several acts, and Darryl McDaniels kept everyone pumped for the closing acts. Shades of "Little Miss Sunshine," Radio City Music Hall is a huge stage, and two World Famous Rockettes, Afra Hines and Corrine Tighe, shared their courage, escorting the dreamers on and offstage with their megawatt warm smiles and energy.
The kids worked hard to get to this place. They set aside personal hardships and obstacles to make it happen. My most teary-eyed moment, among many, was the experience of the Kennedy Brothers, James and Michael, who are sons of a 911 Hero firefighter, represented the Uniformed Firefighters Association with a beautiful piano duet, "The Dreamland Tree." Though their sheet music would not stay put, they soldiered on without missing a note, and it melted your heart.
If you have ever had stage fright, you know what it takes to get up there. Imagine connecting with a crowd in Radio City--New York City--for your first big break.
The arts have given these children a sense of purpose and a reason to excel. The youngest performer, Oscar Saltaimacchia, led the opening number with the group by dancing off his five-year old legs, and the surprising skills just continued to the powerful concluding soloists, Faith Brown (accompanied by Isaiah Brown), Mariah Martinez, and the percussionist 3M's. All ages were represented against a beautiful LED backdrop of floating balloons and the moon.
Garden of Dreams keeps the arts a live option. May they keep a good thing going. Let us have more of these nights. The days won't seem so long.
|"Live Your Dream" Finale | Photos by D. S. Greenhut|
Sunday, April 10, 2011
You can find them on Facebook. (Click "Facebook" at left for the link!)
Eliza Mallouk and Marcie Mitler are producing this exciting, multigenerational evening of work by New England Choreographers Audra Carabetta, Joan Green, Daniel McCusker, Catherine Wagner, and Melody Ruffin Ward. Across The Ages Dance Project is pleased to announce their first annual concert June 17th & 18th, 2011 at Green Street Studios in Cambridge MA.
From the ATAD Mission Statement:
"Across The Ages Dance Project's Mission is to produce a concert emphasizing an inter-generational ensemble of dances featuring five unique choreographers.
We believe in the rich life experience of this mixed population, which includes dancers of all ages, and wish to create this opportunity for dancers and choreographers to come together and share their art with the larger community.
Our intention is to create one successful concert and in so doing, enhance the possibility of future concerts with an inter-generational theme."
Howards Frog completed interviews with the principals in October and will be filming rehearsals and the performances this spring to assemble a record of the project and create a festival quality film that documents the process.